Sophie Vaughan even called to cancel her gym membership but now can’t imagine her life without fitness

After signing up to her local gym Anytime Fitness Chelsea in October 2019, little did Sophie Vaughan know that it would be ten months until she would set foot in there again.

Not going for a few weeks turned into a few months and as time ticked by, it seemed less and less likely that Sophie would ever return.

“What held me back was the anxiety and embarrassment of how long I’d left it to pick my access fob up,” said Sophie. “I didn’t want to collect it and face up to how long it’s been sat there unused, it wasn’t something I’d feel comfortable with.”

The first national lockdown proved to be a turning point for Sophie. Not happy with the way she looked, Sophie got an exercise bike and started getting into the habit of using it daily. It was a habit that she stuck to and quickly she was doing over 10 miles every day, as well as making significant changes to her lifestyle.

“Over the first lockdown, I lost two-and-a-half stone in just over five months,” added Sophie. “That period of time changed everything for me and I’m so pleased that I made those changes.”

When gyms were permitted to reopen in July, Sophie felt physically ready to return, but the anxiety that had been there before still loomed large. She went to the point of calling the club to cancel her membership and was reassured by their understanding.

“When I called the club, they couldn’t have been better,” said Sophie. “To put me at ease, they offered me a personal training session with their personal trainer Georgina and it was all such a weight off my shoulders.”

“Everyone at the club is so friendly, I love the team there and they’re so chatty and kind to everyone. It’s laid out really well which makes it feel welcoming and relaxed.”

Sophie continues to do personal training sessions with Georgina as well as going independently, often up to five times a week. For her dedication to her new routine, she was named Anytime Fitness Chelsea’s member of the month in September 2019.

“Georgina has been great as I didn’t have a clue what to do on most of the machines! She’s got me doing loads of different weight exercises and using different machines to push me out of my comfort zone and keep my workouts interesting. The bike is still my favourite machine and if Georgina’s not there, that’s all I’ll do!”

“Mentally, I’ve been in such a good state of mind and I feel so much happier. I want to keep active and keep going to the gym as when I don’t go, it almost instantly has an effect on my mental health.

“Going to the gym gives me the time I need for myself and to listen to my music which is what I love. Long-term, I want to get to my goal weight of nine-and-a-half stone. I’ve also signed up to do a 10k race next year which is something that I never thought I’d do.”