Leanne Stephen is a Receptionist and Fitness Instructor at Grimsby Leisure Centre and her friend Jodie Hogarth is a Fine Art Masters student at Lincoln University. They are both half way through the Gym Shark 66 Challenge, a 66 day event that challenges those taking part to make a pledge that will change their life in some way.
The idea is based on research that it takes 66 days to form any habit and after this time, the habit becomes part of a lifestyle. The Challenge aims to inspire people to take steps towards healthier habits, whether they be for mind, body or soul.
Leanne and Jodie both set their pledges at similar times at the start of the year and it was only by chance that they realised they were both taking part. Since discovering this, they have supported each other through joint workouts, taking photos for each other’s social media accounts and through encouragement along the way. Although their pledges are unique, they are both fitness related.
To inspire other people, to be more confident, to create a healthier lifestyle, to gym at least four times a week, to not become too obsessed, to be the best version of myself.
To continue my weight loss journey with a positive attitude, to tone up and become more body confident.
Since March last year, through fitness and lifestyle changes, Leanne has lost over two and a half stone. The challenge has become an extension of her ongoing fitness routine and one that she also believes has benefited her at work.
With having to interact with people from all walks of life in my role here at the leisure centre, I feel I can pass my experience on to the customers. I'm passionate about helping others.
Because we’re a health and wellbeing centre, we have a lot of members with disabilities. Whenever I hear anyone say “I can’t do this”, I stop them and say, “No, you can!. I want to be able to have people read this story, and think “If they can do it, I can do it!”.Leanne Stephen
Like Leanne, Jodie has been on her own fitness journey, and having started Weight Watchers last June, has recently achieved her weight loss target to be able to fit into her old prom dress. Jodie said:
"I feel like the challenge has helped me be able to grow as a person by forcing me into healthy habits.
"I’ve never been able to cook, but now because of this, I'm trying new things through weight watchers recipes and meal prep on Instagram.
"As I’ve lost the weight over the months, I’ve become more confident in my own skin"
As well the overall 66 day Challenge, Gym Shark have also set several weekly challenges to motivate people along the way. Week five’s challenge is to 'support someone else’s journey', which is something Leanne believes, given her work as a Receptionist and Fitness Instructor, she is well placed for.
Leanne added: “With this week’s challenge being about encouraging others, my target is to make sure that each day I give at least one stranger a compliment. When you get a compliment from a stranger it means more because they’ve gone out of their way to say it. I could be the only person that somebody who walks in here sees all day, so I need to make sure that the last thing I say to them is something they remember.”