6 weeks ago we launched Team PB – a 6-week programme to motivate, encourage and support people to realise their health goals, specifically with the Coronavirus pandemic and its physical and mental effects in mind.  6 volunteers from across the country took part in the programme, with all having been significantly impacted by the pandemic in some way with various mental well-being, nutritional and physical challenges brought on by the crisis.

Throughout the programme they have been having 3 sessions a week with their allocated Personal Trainer at their local club, as well as two sessions with nutritionist Jenna Hope. These sessions involved helping them understand how they’ve been affected by the pandemic, to realise what has been holding them back in the past and to identify any barriers or bad habits.

Over the course of the past 6 weeks, their lives have changed immeasurably. They’ve made new friends, worked on their mental and physical wellbeing, smashed their goals, created new habits, learnt new skills to improve fitness and diet and now feel like the best all-round version of themselves – their Personal Best!

As the programme comes to an end, each member tells us what they’ve learnt, discovered about themselves and what they’ll be taking forward in their lives post Team PB. To hear their story and what this programme means to them is incredible and we’re all so proud of Team PB 2021.

Jack, 27

  • Jack rated his fitness and energy levels 80% higher than when he started the programme.
  • He’s learnt how to have the right balance in his diet between enjoying himself and being conscious of his health.
  • His confidence has grown exponentially.

“I said at the start of the Team PB programme that my only goal was to look like Spider-Man actor Tom Holland by the end of it: I wanted abs, pecs, arms, the lot. To be honest, I’m still a way off that. But then again, he trains five days a week for literally hours at a time, so it was always going to be a stretch. 

“What I have done is to lose some fat around my stomach and sides, while my arms and legs have grown massively. I’ve been getting a lot of attention directed at my arms recently which is unexpected. I’m stronger in basically every sense and I think my overall fitness has improved too. 

“I didn’t have the confidence to admit it at the start, but I wanted to be able to look in the mirror and feel good about my body. While I still have a way to go to achieve the Adonis body I dream of, I can say that I do at least look in the mirror every morning and say ‘hello, handsome!’

“Before I started the programme I would have rated my fitness and energy levels a 2 out of 10. Now, after these fun and confidence-boosting 6 weeks, I’d say a 10 for both!

“When it comes to nutrition, I’ve learnt loads. I am now eating 3 actual meals per day and drinking the recommended 2000ml of water rather than the 300ml I was surviving on before all this. I started this programme way over-consuming sugar, whereas now I’m just eating the occasional treat. Would I say my diet is perfect? Absolutely not. I still enjoy eating out and having a glass of G&T at the weekend, but through my sessions with Jenna, she has helped me see that nutrition is about making small, manageable changes rather than getting bogged down in diet culture. Most importantly I feel like I have the right balance in my diet now between enjoying myself and being conscious of my health.

“Probably the most important thing I’ve learned about myself is that I can do the things I want to if I allow myself to. I thought I could never lift weights or use machines because I didn’t know how, but it’s not difficult and I’ve done it. I thought I could never eat healthily because it was too complicated, and now I’ve done that. I thought self-care was pretentious, but now I’ve seen how self-assured and happy it has made me. I have learned to stop ruling myself out of things before I’ve tried them and to just go with the flow. I’ve also learned how determined I am to succeed and improve; every session with my PT, Harry, I have demanded heavier weights, more challenge, and tougher goals.

“When I think back on my favourite moments from the programme, I have so many. The first time I did a chest press and felt like I actually belonged in the gym alongside the other men in there, the time I picked up a weight bar far heavier than the one I was meant to use and handled it with ease, defeating the SkiErg having felt like it almost killed me the first time I used it. But arguably my favourite moment is an unusual one. It was towards the end of week 3 and I had a really frustrating session. An old running injury had flared up and I just couldn’t do the exercise to the intensity I wanted to. Harry really understood my annoyance and disappointment and gave me a great pep talk, then challenged me in other ways, but I was still really annoyed with myself. I left the gym and, thinking about Dr Jessamy’s advice that I should be more willing to share my failures as well as my successes, I mentioned in the group chat that I was disappointed with myself. Almost immediately the other members jumped in and sent me lovely messages, reminding me to be kinder to myself, not to lose heart, to keep going and just do better next time. It really did make all the difference and by the next session with Harry I was back on top form and absolutely smashed it. I was really proud of myself after that and whenever I faced other obstacles, I could fall back on that memory to remind myself I could do it.”

Michelle, 32

  • Michelle has learnt to make small changes to her diet that have made a huge difference
  • She’s learnt not to compare herself to pre-Covid Michelle, but instead to accept a post-covid PB.

“I contracted Covid-19 in December 2020 and it knocked me for 6. I was luckily not hospitalised but from then onwards I was unable to reach my full potential in fitness – until Team PB came along. It has been the most amazing and supportive journey for me and the change I’ve experienced in my fitness and energy levels has been incredible.

“Before I started the programme, I would have rated my fitness levels a 4 out of 10 and my energy levels a 3. Now, after only 6 weeks, I’d say a 7 and an 8.  My sleep, despite having a 3 year old has also massively improved.

“When it comes to my diet, I have found my sessions with Jenna to be invaluable and have learnt to prioritise my nutrition. Jenna has helped me learn how to help myself in my recovery by using nutrient dense food to rebuild my nutrient stores. Little things like prepping shakes the night before so that I have a breakfast that will give my body what it needs instead of relying on coffee to keep me going.

“My biggest learnings throughout the programme have been to not compare myself to pre-Covid me, but instead to accept a post-covid PB. Before starting with my PT Chantelle, I was getting very frustrated that I couldn’t do what I could do before, but now I have realised that I have changed. Not forever, but for now, and I have to remember that. I’ve learnt that I need to be kinder to myself and that small steps are still progress in the right direction. I’ve also been mega chuffed with myself that, thanks to Chantelle’s guidance, I can now do weights!

“My favourite part of the programme has been discovering that a matcha latte tastes okay with oat milk (thanks to the lovely bar staff at David Lloyd Southampton who must have thought I was a bit weird when asking how to make it taste better without sugar syrup). The lack of coffee and search for healthier alternatives has been a hot topic on our group chat.”

John, 41

  • John haslost 8.2kgs and dropped down to 34% from 37% body fat in just 6 weeks.
  • He used to get between 1 and 5 hours of sleep a night but now he’s getting between 7 and 9 hours.
  • His biggest learning from this experience is that he’s worth spending time on.

“The 6 weeks of the Team PB programme can be summed up in 3 words for me – scary, powerful and fun!

“I think I’ve done way more than I expected to, the changes have been drastic and wide-reaching, not just a diet or exercise change but I’ve changed the way I travel to work and I’m getting more sleep. I’m also engaging more with friends and family which is a huge bonus for me on a social perspective, and it’s making me feel more part of something that I’d been missing. It has also spilled over to my wife – who last night actively engaged in a conversation with a stranger over a toy her child was playing with, which is very unlike her – so it has had a major effect on our family not just physically but mentally all around.

“I’m a bit of a data geek and I loved using the Boditrax machines at David Lloyd as it showed me granular data about every aspect of my body. It highlighted things like my left arm has less muscle than my right, allowing me to switch up my training program to address these aspects. I love being able to add specific goals and regularly track my performance around targets I have specifically set for myself. At the start of the programme I weighed 135.3kg and 37.6% of my body weight was fat. Now, after just 6 weeks, I’ve lost 8.2kgs and dropped down to 34% fat.

“I used to get between 1 and 5 hours of sleep a night but now, in just 6 weeks, I’m getting between 7 and 9 hours a night and I’m falling asleep within minutes but also waking up before my alarms – it’s totally changed the way I rest.

“When it comes to my diet, although I still have a way to go and will still reach for the odd ‘bad’ thing, I now hold it to one meal rather than letting it spill into a day, then pushing into a week. I used to let one bad meal spread into everything, now it’s just a new start point. I’ve also learnt that nothing is “bad” and if you label it that way it just becomes the thing you want the most.

“My biggest learning from this experience is that I’m worth spending time on. I thought everyone else was worth my time but I was waiting for someone to give me permission to do something for myself. I now know that I need to give myself the time to do things for me, and then offer out what’s left for others because there is still a lot left over, allowing me to give better quality time, advice and effort.

“My favourite moment of the Team PB programme was seeing the progression in the other members, particularly Michelle. I’ve witnessed her go from what looked like a person hidden in her shell, complaining about how bad her run was going to be before she’d even got her trainers on, putting barriers up before she’d done anything, to how she felt after she’d done it. Smashing out 10km in a great time, feeling good about doing it and the realisation that the process was working and that she needed to lean into it more, to defend her time for her, rather than let it get stolen by all the little time vampires that rear their head in life. The reason it hit so hard and had such an impact on me is because it mirrored what I was going through but she was brave enough to do it in the open, where I was still hiding my fears, pains, struggles behind a confident front for Team PB.

“I honestly think that without the other members, I would have given up in week 3.  They carried me through and I can’t thank David Lloyd Clubs enough for bringing them into my life!”

Eva, 59

  • Eva has suffered with insomnia for the last 10 years and in the last 6 weeks it has improved considerably.
  • She has realised through the programme that the gym and Personal Trainers are not scary things and that anyone can increase their level of fitness from any starting point if they choose to make the commitment to doing so.

“In 3 words, my experience with Team PB has been totally life enhancing. I have loved every minute! My fitness has definitely improved but the stand out results for me have been the way the programme has affected my confidence, my energy levels and my sleep.

“I have always been a confident person in life when it comes to friendships, love, family and work, but in the last 30 years, arthritis has caused me to feel very helpless about my physical strength and abilities. Having started the Team PB programme only 6 weeks ago, I realise that I can be just as confident in my ability to control my physical health and longevity. 

“I used to feel I was a passenger on a train to Inevitability Station – that as I grow older I would have to give up dancing, playing tennis etc because my knees would not be able to cope. Now I realise that I have taken control and responsibility as to how my life can be as I age. I know that strength training allows me to continue exercising and living the life I choose, not one that is foisted onto me by fading strength.

“When it comes to my energy, I would say that I have always felt that I was an energetic person in relation to getting things done, living my life and being happy. But now I have the added feeling of knowing that I have a boost to my physical energy. Sleep-wise, I suffered with insomnia for the last 10 years and in the last 6 weeks it has improved considerably which I’m delighted about!

“With regards to my diet, when I started the programme, it was pretty good, in that I cook fresh food everyday and eat a lot of vegetables and nutrient-dense ingredients.  But I also had some bad habits – nibbling cheese while I cooked and using a lot of oils and butter when I prepped food. Through my sessions with Jenna, I have learnt to watch the amounts I use more keenly and have experimented with using other methods to pump more flavour into recipes without using fatty products. For example, I have learnt to braise vegetables in stock before roasting them in a pan that has been greased rather than adding larger amounts of oil to them when they are raw.

“When it comes to my favourite moments of the programme, for me it would be the realisation that the gym and Personal Trainers are not scary things and that anyone can increase their level of fitness from any starting point if they choose to make the commitment to doing so.”

Rachael, 44

  • Rachael’s confidence has massively grown through the programme – halfway through she gained enough confidence to start making videos for social media which she has now used to create videos for her business.
  • She has found that the gym has become her happy place and realised that exercise is key to managing her mental health and physical fitness.

“Team PB has been a magical and amazing experience for me! I am sleeping better than ever before, feel lighter mentally and physically and have so much more energy.

“I’ve learnt so much and really, for the first time I’ve realised that exercise is key to managing my mental health and physical fitness. I never thought I’d say that the gym has become my happy place!

“I think where I’ve learnt the most has been through my sessions with Dr Jessamy, which have been life changing. I have found that I need to start making myself my priority and being more selfish with my time.  I am a real people pleaser and I have come to realise that I cannot do everything all of the time. The pandemic has been very hard for me and through my sessions with Dr Jessamy I’ve also learnt that I need to be prouder of myself over what I have had to overcome this past year. I need to speak up more, share my feelings and accept help, and I’ve realised that when I do open up it attracts more people and more opportunities.

“Team PB has been all about the other members that I’ve really enjoyed ‘meeting’. Although we haven’t met in person, they have been so supportive. I have enjoyed the work I have been doing with each of the specialists, however I feel I have developed the most psychologically with Jessamy. Halfway through the programme I gained confidence to start making videos for social media which I have now used to create videos for my business. I really feel that it has been all the support I have received from the team which has contributed to raising my confidence.

“From everyone involved in Team PB at David Lloyd Clubs, we are so proud of all the members, and it is so heart-warming to have been a part of each of their journeys. We hope that what they have learnt from Team PB they can continue to apply to their everyday lives and continue to spread their uplifting positive energy wherever they go.

Thanks to all the all the David Lloyd PT’s as well as Jenna Hope and Dr Jessamy Hibberd for their endearing support and encouragement. We will catch up with the members soon so be sure to check back in!