I have been involved with AFF for over a year now. I saw the AFF van parked up one day and I had heard all about this training from friends, so I followed it one evening and that was the first time I took part and I loved it from then on! I have not missed one single week since that day!
The best part of the training is that you go into group according to your fitness level. There are lots of different instructors so you get different work outs each time you come which makes it more fun and interesting, unlike the gym! I love being outdoors can now work out with friends properly. As well as getting fit it is a great way to meet new friends.
My fitness is the best it has ever been. Even when I went to the gym 5 x week I was not as fit as I am now. It is more like personal training at AFF instead of having to motivate yourself at the gym. It’s the best thing I’ve done fitness-wise; quitting the gym and starting AFF. I’m fitter and saving money too!
I thought I’d resigned myself to the fact that I’d never like any kind of exercise at all – I’d tried gyms and all sorts of classes but always went begrudgingly. Why would anyone want to be indoors, lifting weights in front of a mirror, with the smell of sweat and with a lot of other miserable people who don’t ever speak? I don’t think you know which exercise suits you until by some chance, you try it…which is what happened when a friend introduced me to AFF.
The first thing that amazed me was that I didn’t dread coming to training! Being on The Stray and in the fresh air makes it feel like a welcome break, especially if you work indoors all day. As soon as you get there, the instructors joke around for a warm up but also make sure you don’t slack. Then they put you in different levels – so you’re put in a group that’s right for you.
Straight away I realised everyone’s in the same boat…everyone has to push themselves, but knowingly to a better end! At the same time, AFF training feels like an opportunity to really challenge yourself because when the instructors encourage and motivate you, it makes you want to prove you can do it! In fact, it’s almost like personal training even though there are dozens of people with you.
I came away after my first lesson realising that I’m one of those people who won’t try hard unless I’m pushed to do so…so AFF has probably given me my last chance at keeping fit!! And after just a short time, I really do feel a lot fitter and healthier with a sense of well being – the tiredness and aches after the first session are not there every week!
Having retired from playing rugby at 40 I’d done zero exercise in over 6 years and weighing in at over 15 stone I was seriously out of condition – this combined with the stresses and strains of work was obviously putting my health at risk. The gym and running were boring to me, I was used to team sport and I needed that camaraderie and interaction of my mates, which has always been a key part of my motivation.
I remember my first session like it was yesterday, I pulled on a red bib (the best and only group to start out with) and to be honest I was pretty apprehensive, there were a lot of people I didn’t know but everyone was friendly and there was a really good vibe. Anyway, we were only 10 minutes into the warm-up – which everyone does together at the beginning of each session – and I could have happily gone home and collapsed in a heap right there and then and I have to be honest it was only pure vanity that stopped me from walking away! I remember thinking to myself how was I going to last an hour of this but with all of the encouragement and the shared experience of everyone being in this together whatever age, sex or background the hour was soon over and with that real sense of achievement I duly signed up to 3 sessions a week.
Being able to get into a good routine I lost over a stone in weight within about 16 weeks which is great but what was even better was the quality people that I was sharing this experience with – it is a great motivator when you are sharing the challenges together – it is also hugely encouraging to see everyone’s fitness levels improve too. I’m pleased to say that I have made over 700 (yes – 700!!) sessions, in all weathers, rain, shine, sleet and snow and at 3 times a week I don’t need to worry about trying to fit in any other exercise. If I’d had a gym membership I would have cancelled it.
Outside in the fresh air with some of the best people you could care to meet, using Harrogate Stray which has to be one of the most picturesque playgrounds in the country, Armed Forces Fitness delivers the goods.
I was already doing Yoga and Pilates 3 to 4 times a week but I really wanted to look at doing some cardio-vascular exercise but without the pretentions and hidden agenda you often find in the modern gym’s these days – I already had a handsome beast of a husband and I didn’t want to feel I was being scrutinized over how I struggled operating fitness machinery or whether I was keeping up with “fitness fashion” – you get my drift.
What a breath of fresh air – literally – Armed Forces Fitness has brought to my fitness programme. Great people, great variety from the instructors and I can tell you that in all the sessions I’ve done, 2 to 3 per week over the last 9 months, I have never done exactly the same session twice so it’s impossible to get bored or second guess what lies in store each time you turn out.
The instructors are there to make you work to the best of your ability and with all the support of the rest of the group and the overall friendliness with everyone mucking in together it is really hard to find fault with the set-up. I really look forward to getting to the sessions and meeting up with everyone and the other members really make the experience great fun and the whole team always make sure we get our money’s worth!
Why our Harrogate members love AFF:
“Being able to improve fitness while having fun and meeting new people”
“The hard work and comradeship”
“I love the sessions, the people I’m surrounded with and the fact that the sessions are never cancelled!”
“Working out with like-minded people”
“I love the social aspect and the fact that you are meeting your friends every week as well as keeping fit. The sessions are hard work but brilliant and there is great camaraderie.”
“Like the friendliness and crack with members & instructors!”
“Great value for money and making friends with like-minded people!”
“General air of encouragement and exercising outside on The Stray- it has a amazing feel good factor!”
“Quality of tuition that is both extensive and varied
Exercising with a group of people is great for motivation and outdoor training is much better than indoors.”
“Being pushed past what I would do on my own. The craziness of being part of a group willingly doing sit ups in a muddy puddle (winter only!)”
“As we are all in it together in each session and the reassurance that the instructors are looking out for members in every session.”
“The people are awesome! I moved to Harrogate only nine months ago, joined AFF straight away and the people have made it! I’ve made some great pals on the way and the guys and gals who instruct are fab and really strive you to excellence!”
“Excellent instructors, challenging but fun sessions and great training collegues who have a similar outlook to me.”
“I have met some lovely people and made some new friends and enjoy the social side of it. Also, toning up and getting fitter too obviously!”
“Being part of a team……Getting fit whilst being fun at the same time”