Active NAtion

Meet Erica

I feel like I'm achieving every day and I notice I'm inspiring others to make positive changes to their lives too.

Erica Booth, 40, is a triathlete who got back into fitness in her twenties. Although she initially struggled with confidence, she managed to face her fear and is now loving working out at our venues in Chorley. 

Erica’s exercise background

My passion was originally horse riding from the age of 8. At high school I was in the netball and hockey team and I represented school in some track and field events – running, long jump, high jump, hurdles, javelin.

Unfortunately, I disengaged with most team sports at 14 when I moved back to the UK as I lost a lot of confidence through experiencing bullying as the ‘new girl’. I continued with solo horse riding, yet it wasn’t till my early 20s that I joined a gym, did a bit of running and got into spinning classes. That then lead to mountain hiking and then running/fell running, then triathlon.  

How it changed...

I can’t remember what made me start horse riding as a child, yet I remember in team sports it simply made me feel good. When I got back to it in my 20s, my inspiration was to be healthier. I’d put weight on, and I wasn’t happy with my body or how I was looking after it. I wanted to do something about it. 

I can train anywhere between 12-18 hours a week between running, swimming, cycling and strength work. I juggle a full-time job so it can mean early starts and/or late finishes. I’ve been known to cycle to work appointments or run/swim at lunch time to fit it all in!  

Any benefits?

The rewards are instant. I feel like I have more energy, I feel more confident, not just about my appearance – it transfers through to increased confidence at work and my personal life generally. It makes me feel happier and reduces stress. It’s my kind of mindfulness. I feel like I’m achieving every day and I notice I’m inspiring others to make positive changes to their lives too.

How do you feel if you don't exercise?

I suppose it’s the opposite of the above – I can feel lower in mood, self-esteem and confidence. Anxiety and stress may creep in. I can feel tired and unmotivated.  

Motivation

I love what I do and it’s easier to feel motivated when doing something you love or are good at. Yet I don’t always have the motivation. Not every single day. So, I’ll simply go through the actions – I always find once I start the activity that I enjoy it so it’s reminding myself of that.

It helps to have goals, whether big long-term goals or small short-term ones. I set out my training plan for the week, so I feel like I’m achieving every day. A daily sense of achievement and seeing improvements keeps my mojo levels up.  

Any advice?

Low confidence is usually the common barrier and it’s easy to say take the first step. But I’ve been there. I remember being petrified turning up to a swim group in next to nothing. Now I don’t bat an eyelid as it’s become the norm. You’ve got to feel the fear and do it anyway. That first step is the hardest bit.

Do some research in your local area, ask about, get involved in social media groups, join a club and speak to their coaches, speak to a gym, a run club. Put yourself out there basically. Speak to friends and family – will they go with you and support you initially? What’s your strengths? It helps motivation to find something you’re good at and enjoy.

Equally, just give something a go! You never know where it might lead. I never knew I was any good on a bike till 4 years ago! 

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