CrossFit DHM Unit 6, Rennys Lane ,Dragonville Ind Est, Durham, DH12RS

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The before picture was taken in May 2017, the month before I tried CrossFit for the first time. I'd been trying to get healthier for a while but I wasn't achieving the results that I wanted. After losing and regaining the same 10-15lbs several times a row, I finally accepted it was time to make a change.


I'd avoided any kind of group exercise up until that point because I felt self conscious enough just being in the gym, let alone with other people watching me. I'd heard about CrossFit but didn't think there was any way I was in shape enough to take part. I told myself I'd do one more year on my own and then maybe I'd try it.


But a couple of weeks later; after watching the Fittest on Earth documentaries, I started to feel really curious. 'That looks like a lot of fun', 'Imagine being able to move a barbell around like that', 'I wonder how much I'd be able to lift?' etc etc.


On a whim, I contacted Dave at CrossFit DHM to ask about a free trial. He arranged for me to come in a couple of nights later. I'd like to say that I was confident in my decision but the truth is I immediately regretting getting in touch. I got myself so worked up in the days in between that I seriously considered not showing up that first night. But I told myself there was no harm in trying- I didn't know any of these people and I didn't ever have to go back if I didn't like it.


So on Wednesday 7th June 2017 just before 6pm I stepped through the door of CrossFit DHM for the first time and tried not to look as nervous as I felt. Did I have any reason to worry? No. Of course I didn't. Somehow I'd stumbled across the nicest bunch of people you could hope to meet and the best place you could wish to train.


Dave and Joyce introduced themselves to me as soon as I was inside. They asked about my exercise experience and explained how the session would run. I told them I was worried I wasn't fit enough to be there. Joyce told me "people always think they need to be fit to start but we get you fit, just do what you can".


Dave showed me around, talked me through the workout on the whiteboard and then took me back to meet some of the others members. Soon enough it was time to start. My first workout is a bit of a blur. My main memories are it being the hardest I'd ever worked but also the most fun I'd ever had training.


That and the unwavering encouragement from everyone else in the room. These people didn't know me but they were calling over to me to keep going and telling me I could do it. It couldn't have been further away from the image I'd had in my head. Before I left that night I asked how I joined up. Somehow I just knew this was the place I was meant to be.


I booked in for my 'On Ramp' introduction two days later and I haven't looked back since. The workouts are varied and challenging but can always be adapted to your ability/ skill level. All of the coaches are knowledgeable, enthusiastic, supportive and a great laugh too. They push you to do your best, reassure you when things haven't gone to plan and motivate you to hit your goals.


The after picture was taken in February 2018, around 8 months after that first day. While I certainly don't consider myself to be 'done', I can't be disappointed with the progress I've made since joining CrossFit DHM. It's without a doubt the best decision I've ever made and I really can't thank Dave and Joyce enough for everything they've done for me. If you're reading this and considering trying a session, don't wait. You'll not regret giving it a go.

Hollie McLean