How many times have you heard people say January of every year “This will be my year to reach my fitness goals”? Strong Girl Takeover is a community for women of all shapes and sizes, ages, backgrounds, beliefs and cultures getting stronger together! Through classes and community training programs our network helps women achieve their fitness goals, accountability to each other our greatest asset.
On my own fitness journey I was introduced to Terroll Lewis of Blockworkout and Chaka of Spartanfam, and fell in love with the community aspect of both projects. Terroll and Chaka are both using sports and fitness groups to empower underprivileged youth. Where before I had been training in the gym by myself, their projects helped me realize how much more I loved my session when friends would join.
Training with others is not only more fun, but accountability to each other motivates to go that little bit further than you might by yourself. It’s a common problem, at the start of the year we sign up to a year’s gym membership, buy all the gear, only to go for the just the first few months before we fall off the path as life comes up with every excuse in the book.
Only accountable to ourselves, our life excuses often get higher priory. A community offers group accountability leading to less people falling off the band wagon.
Through my work as a personal trainer I got the opportunity to volunteer with children’s charity BoxUpCrime in East London. The founder, Stephen Addison, shared his story with me. His charity offers boxing class to help young people turn away from the lures of criminal activity and gangs.
I was so inspired I wanted to create opportunities for young people, especially girls. Through BoxUpCrime I was able to experience the difference a good run around did for these kids who previously were deemed as ‘troublemakers’. The kids that would attend these weekly sessions would be those who are continuously disruptive in class, often put on report or regularly sent to detention. These are smart children, the school education system just isn’t for them.
The kids are visual learners, learn by doing and seeing, not just writing and reading. Kids sometimes bored but often thinking outside the box and when questioning a teacher out of curiosity they are told they are being disruptive. These kids need a different way of learning and to be provided with opportunity and aspirations. BoxUpCrime, similarly to what we do at Strong Girl Takeover, is able to provide that through movement and mentoring.
And so with the help of Empowered Ltd Strong Girl Takeover found funding through Southern Housing Group to host weekly fitness and mentoring sessions for young girls in Barking. We have been running for a few months now and the improvement in behavior and way of thinking of the girls is so inspiring!
At the beginning of the project some of the girls were noticeably louder, labelled as ‘misbehaved’ in school, where others were quieter and not as confident. Throughout the weeks we saw growth and improvement in listening skills, general attitude, leadership skills and kindness towards other sisters within the project.
We explained to the girls that they were important, spoke to the ones who are told that they’re disruptive, that they are in fact leaders but currently channeling the wrong type of energy.
We give all of the girls the opportunity for responsibility, chances to lead and to listen and also times to work together. I am so proud of the way that they have all improved so far, they are by all means not perfect and have many more things to learn like we all do.
I am grateful for their journey towards the pursuit of happiness, and I hope the project continues for many more years so that they can feel that they have a sisterhood to communicate with and to be able to reach out to many more young queens across the world.
We have become big sisters to the girls, outside their normal circle of school, family and friends. A space where young women feel safe and can share their worries in a confidential environment, and have fun with fitness learning about their strength and beauty as young women.
We share lessons that we have learnt throughout our lives that we wish we had known when we were their age. Some weeks we have special guests – females who have their own story to share to encourage the girls to do better, be better and achieve more.
It’s these special guest females and the young girls who are my main inspiration. My inspiration to do better for myself and do better by them.
I am grateful for the people that I surround myself by, male and female, for they have given me opportunities to train and travel the world. This community shared with me their knowledge of nutrition and now I’m reaping the rewards of being a vegan. I have been able to meet the most amazing people through our network and community of fitness that unites us globally.
I have learnt so many different ways and styles of training on my travels, from martial arts to calisthenics, pole fitness to powerlifting. I aim to learn as much as possible from as many people as possible.
I believe that everyone has something to teach me regardless of background, status or age. And when that mutual learning and growth is there, a powerful and beautiful team push each other to train harder and work smarter and together it becomes more fun! And when it’s fun, and not a chore, you become more consistent and consistency is the key to success.
I am so excited for the future of Strong Girl Takeover. The possibilities are endless! I am forever grateful for the great friends and community that supports the movement. Over the next decade I wish to motivate, encourage and inspire as many young girls and women as possible to fall in love with fitness and get body confident! For females to realise the power and beauty of working together, and becoming stronger together.