08/01/2018 08:02 GMT | Updated 17/01/2018 10:32 GMT

After A 20-Year Break, This Woman Proves It's Never Too Late To Start Your Fitness Journey

'As long as we keep trying, that’s all that matters.'

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It can be easy for our fitness levels to drop off after we leave school, when we’re no longer forced into twice-weekly PE classes. 

And that’s not to say it’s because you don’t enjoy exercise, but trying to find the time as well as the money to keep up your gym membership isn’t always feasible.

That’s exactly what happened to Bisi, 40, from London, who enjoyed athletics as a teen, but didn’t set foot in a gym after she left school. 

Three years ago, age 37, she was persuaded by a personal trainer to join the gym near work and decided to give it a go. 

She joined, started weight training, and months later became a face you may well have seen on the This Girl Can adverts in 2016.

ThisGirlCan

After Bisi joined the gym (and with the help of a PT), she managed to go from not working out for 20 years, to building up to a 140kg leg press. 

She now attends the gym three times a week - mixing each session up with cardio and bodyweight exercises. Her goals aren’t about losing weight; they’re to increase her health, improve her mood and keep her feeling strong.

Here, in our latest ‘Fit Fix’ column, Bisi shows us that anyone can start their fitness journey, whatever stage they are at. 

My Motivation 🙌 

How do you stay motivated?

“I love seeing the improvements and changes in my body, and I’m constantly trying out new and challenging exercises. There have been times where I’ve struggled with motivation, especially when I first started getting back into working out.

“Now, I work out because it makes me feel good, increases the chances of me living longer, improves my mental health, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and I enjoy listening to the voice inside that says: ‘I can do this!’”

Do you have any specific goals you’re aiming for?

“I don’t ever aim to lose or gain weight, but I love the feeling of being fit, healthy and strong. I go to the gym for myself, and love pushing my body in new and fun ways.”

What’s your ultimate workout track and why?

“I don’t listen to music in the gym. Anyone who’s trained with me will tell you that as soon as I set foot in the gym, I am extremely focused. I go straight in and work out, and don’t need a workout track… just don’t try and talk to me when I’m training! That’s just my way of training though, and I know loads of people who exercise with friends and love the social side of it – everybody’s different. I think it’s about finding the best way of getting active for yourself.”

My Journey 🌎

What do you credit to your success in your fitness journey?

“There’s a combination of factors which have meant I’ve been successful – although I’m sure ‘successful’ means different things to everyone. My very first PT motivated me to get into fitness when I hadn’t trained for nearly 20 years. He was the first step in my journey and kept me incentivised to stick at it.

“I’m also incredibly proud of myself because a huge part of my success stems from my own dedication and motivation; I am committed to training and want to be healthier. The women I follow on Instagram are also a true credit to my success. There’s something so encouraging about seeing women like yourself being active, which makes you think: ‘I can do that too – or I’m going to have a good go at it!’” 

What’s one of the most memorable moments in your fitness journey and why?

“One of my most memorable moments was realising that, after training, I’m now able to do pull-ups and dips. They’re hugely challenging because they require so much upper body strength and power.

“I think it’s my greatest achievement ever. A couple of years ago I would never have thought it was something I would be able to do, but look at me now!”

Was there ever a low point where you wanted to stop training?

“Whenever I feel that I can’t go on, I think of the health benefits. For example, the fact that it strengthens my muscles, increases my life span and wards off viruses. I know a number of people with severe health issues and when I think about those people, a voice in my head tells me not to give up.

“Everyone has low points where they don’t think they can go on, but as long as we keep trying, that’s all that matters.”

My Training 💪

Talk us through your week in fitness.

“I train three times a week and my workout is usually an hour long. I split this up into 20 mins of cardio, which usually involves skipping and high intensity exercises, followed by 40 minutes of mixed weights and bodyweight exercises - whether that be push ups, monkey bars, planks, squats or leg presses. 

“As I have quite a demanding job, I tend to go to the gym as a way to unwind and process the day after I’ve finished work at about 5 or 5.30pm. I love training and enjoy getting others involved – I’ve even encouraged two of my colleagues to start trying exercise for themselves.”

What’s your favourite type of workout and why?

“My favourite exercise has to be working on my legs, which I’ll often do with leg press machine, walking lunges, squats and deadlifts. It gives me stronger legs and core muscles, and increases my upper-body lifts, which makes them look amazing, sexy and strong.”

What’s your favourite way to spend your rest day?

“I tend to spend my evenings not in the gym catching up with my family and friends over the telephone or a meal.”

My Food 🍳 

What do you eat throughout the week to complement your training schedule?

“I’m quite a boring eater, but that’s not because I’m strict with myself, it’s because I’m fussy. I often prepare my meals at the beginning of the week, and it might be sweet potato and salmon, mackerel, pasta and broccoli, or delicious home-cooked rice with steak. I’ll also snack on fruit, nuts and the occasional protein shake throughout the day and make sure I’m drinking plenty of water.”

What are your pre- and post-workout snacks?

“Before a workout, I’ll usually have a banana or sometimes a protein shake. Afterwards, I don’t have a particular snack, I’m usually in a rush to get home and have dinner.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about food?

“I’ve learned a lot. It’s little things like the fact that olive oil is better to cook with than vegetable oil, sweet potatoes are better for you than white potatoes and oily fish is good for you as they’re good source of vitamin A & D and rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Looking after yourself on the inside will be reflected on the outside too.”

Meet the other girls in the This Girl Can campaign here

Fit Fix’ is a weekly dose of fitspiration from leading athletes and fitness fanatics. Each week we chat to stars about their weekly workouts, the food they eat and what keeps them going. 

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