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Speedo Says...

Date 25-05-2017
Fit for anything life throws at me

Leanne Kelsall, 27, is a copywriter and freelance fitness and lifestyle journalist. She talks about her fitness journey – how pushing herself out of her comfort zone led to a mental and physical transformation and why being fit for anything has helped her become more confident.

Leanne Kelsall, 27, is a copywriter and freelance fitness and lifestyle journalist. She talks about her fitness journey – how pushing herself out of her comfort zone led to a mental and physical transformation and why being fit for anything has helped her become more confident.

“I USED TO HAVE A NEGATIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH MY BODY”


Nights out and unhealthy food at university meant that I put on weight which made me feel unhappy; I’d frequently tell myself that I was fat and chubby. My confidence was at an all-time low and I was suffering from anxiety and panic attacks.


One of my friends noticed that I was struggling and suggested I start running as it had helped her. At first I could only do two miles but gradually built up to four, then eight and eventually I did my first half marathon. Having something to work towards gave me a massive boost and I was really proud to be placed in the top 20 women. Being fit gave me lots of confidence, but best of all – my mental state improved significantly. No more panic attacks!

“I WORK OUT NOW BECAUSE I WANT TO, NOT BECAUSE I FEEL I NEED TO”


I very much have a positive relationship with exercise now but it hasn’t always been that way. I used to do hours of cardio exercise and restrict what I ate on a very low calorie diet with no carbs. It was miserable.


I’ve realised that I should keep fit because I enjoy it and love the way it makes me feel. I don’t drag myself to the gym like I used to; I run there, fuelled up with tasty, healthy food and excited about what I might achieve that session. I don’t do it because I need to now, I do it because I want to – I really enjoy it.


My overall goal is to be confident in myself and live in a positive way that contributes towards this. My focus is definitely more on being strong, rather than skinny.

“MIXING UP SPORTS ADDS FUN TO MY WORKOUT”


I love doing a combination of exercises to mix things up a bit and see what I can achieve.


For me, being fit for anything is as much a mental thing as it is a physical thing. It’s about giving things a try and putting yourself out of your comfort zone. In this vein I’ve reintroduced swimming to my fitness routine. Having focused on running and weight training for the last few years, I wanted to see how my fitness transferred to the pool and how my cardiovascular fitness held up in the water.

I used to swim a lot when I was a teenager so I feel a sense of nostalgia whenever I get in the water, but I was surprised to find that swimming wasn’t as easy as I remembered. Parts of the technique came back to me with muscle memory but I found, where I used to smash 10 lengths without a thought, I am now out of breath after four…


“For me, being fit for anything is as much a mental thing as it is a physical thing. It’s about giving things a try and putting yourself out of your comfort zone”


Swimming gives me that same escapism as running and I actually find it’s a better workout as it targets your whole body, not just your legs, and I certainly felt it. You can mix it up with different strokes, distance or sprints, or even use equipment so it’ll never get boring.


So this is my next challenge. Taking my fitness to the next level by adding a swim to my fitness routine.

BE INSPIRED


See how adding a swim helped Leanne take her fitness to the next level here.