Fitness fans on a roll

PUBLISHED: 11:53 16 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:40 06 May 2010

Lizzy and Hannah are on the ball!

Lizzy and Hannah are on the ball!

COMET reporters Hannah Gray and Lizzy Seal have given themselves the challenge of getting in shape ready for the Fairlands Valley fun run in aid of Garden House Hospice on May 1. With a little help from Odyssey gym in Knebworth, they ve started a fitness

Getting ready for the fun run

COMET reporters Hannah Gray and Lizzy Seal have given themselves the challenge of getting in shape ready for the Fairlands Valley fun run in aid of Garden House Hospice on May 1.

With a little help from Odyssey gym in Knebworth, they've started a fitness programme designed to match their individual needs and requirements. Four weeks into the challenge, we catch up with the pair to see how they're doing.

Hannah:

I started off this challenge as very much the more reluctant of the pair of us. It wasn't so much that I didn't want to get fit, more that I didn't want to commit to endless boring sessions in the gym.

Well, I still don't think I can match Lizzy's unbridled enthusiasm but I'm certainly glad I've started to get fit.

Norman, our coach at Odyssey, despite initially making me feel a bit down by declaring my body fat was too high and my flexibility wasn't that good, has been a real help.

He's devised really good programmes for both of us, which are varied and interesting and also really make us feel as though we're doing some good.

My programme should improve my cardio vascular fitness, as well as work on some of my problem-area muscles.

I've been for about four sessions, which have been a bit of a mixed bag really.

One was a really good, fired up, oh-my-god-I'm-going-to-get-so-fit session, a couple were average and the last one found me completely exhausted and unable to get through it all.

But even when I'm really struggling I've found I've come to enjoy doing it.

Just knowing that I'm doing something positive about my admittedly poor fitness levels is a huge motivation.

It's also had a knock-on effect in other areas of my life, making me really think about what I eat.

I will confess to having a bit of a sweet tooth, but far from seeing exercise as giving me carte blanche to stuff my face, it's made me realise I should be careful about what I put into my body.

I've not given up on cake and chocolate altogether, but I'm trying to cut down and add a bit more fruit and veg into my diet instead.

All in all, I wouldn't say I'm a complete gym convert - I like to do one session a week, and add in some other exercise like swimming or dancing - but I certainly feel like I've had an awakening and realised I need to take responsibility for my fitness.

Lizzy

As we approach the one month mark in our Fitness Challenge, I am pleased to say that I'm still a regular visitor to Odyssey health club.

I've been going about three times a week and I feel noticeably fitter.

Even more surprising, is that I'm still enthusiastic (to an annoying degree, for Hannah I think) and before my visits I experience feelings of eager anticipation.

How strange to actually look forward to exercise.

This is a breakthrough for me.

There are a handful of reasons that have made a difference this time around, but enjoyment, I believe, is where the secret lies.

This is the longest time I've ever stuck to a regime and definitely the only time I've got so much satisfaction out of running.

It's such a good feeling to know that I can now view fitness in an entirely different way.

I see going for a run or visiting the gym as a good thing, rather than a chore and I believe the right attitude is crucial to sustaining fitness long term.

But why am I enjoying getting knackered and sweaty, compared to all my previous attempts in the past, when I just couldn't be bothered?

Firstly, being a member of a very plush gym with personal coaches and great machines makes for a privileged start in my fitness-life.

I have learnt a lot about what sort of exercises and machines suit someone who wants to learn to run, which has been crucial to me.

I thought runners just ran, on and on until they could run no more. But no, it is more complicated than that and that's what makes it more interesting.

Not only do runners run, they also do weights and roll around on balls and cycle and do pull-ups... There's a whole host of activities to do and the variation really does improve the workout and make the time fly by.

Secondly, it is good to have a goal to work towards.

It gives you a well-needed boost to get you to the gym on a rainy dark night after work and being a little scared of failure is always a worthy medicine to make you shift yourself.

I've also told lots of people about what I'm doing and how much I'm enjoying it, so the potential humiliation spurs me on to succeed.

So while I think it's commendable that Hannah and I have lasted this long, what's even better is that I think it's a change for ever.

I'm confident that it's not just a response to the lumpy, lazy and lethargic feelings associated with January but a new part of our lives. How corny! But sorry, I mean it.

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