How the gym changed Jodi’s life forever – in just 12 months!
Jodi Hall is now 25 – a confident and chatty young woman with a broad smile for everyone she meets.
She bounces into Skegness Pool and Fitness Suite ready to take on another challenge – sharing a joke with the friendly team of instructors, relaxed and happy. Having just finished her shift working with adults with learning difficulties, she arrives with dad Mark – her ‘gym buddy’ for the afternoon.
As she goes through her new routine, Jodi will discuss new exercise routines with staff and fellow gym-goers – in fact so keen is she that her Instagram page is filling up with videos, showing hints and tips. Follow Jodi now! @hiitandrun0408
But turn the clock back just a year, and you would not recognise Jodi as the same person. A twin, she was the shy, retiring sister – allowing the more dominant, outgoing and more naturally-talented Cameron to shine.
That had been the case since the pair were toddlers – growing up together. But it led Jodi to grow as an awkward and uncomfortable teenager, whose confidence was as non-existent as her conversation.
“We were always together and my brother would do all the talking for us, in fact he would do everything. I would wonder to myself ‘why can he do it and I can’t,” remembers Jodi.
As they grew, the twins’ differences were more evident – Cameron, a dancer was a great public speaker, clever and popular as Jodi seemed to withdraw even more. At dance competitions, they would go as a pair but the shy and retiring Jodi would be guided by her twin – not wanting to be in the limelight, and barely mutter a word to anyone.
Stress then replaced the teenager’s shyness. As Cameron went off to the local grammar school, Jodi found it tough to fit in at her school and without her twin, things were even worse.
“I just didn’t seem to know anything. With no confidence there was an increasing anxiety. In fact I would stress from the minute I woke up to the minute I went to sleep
“Looking back now, I can’t believe I was like that. Some of the things I would panic about – I wasted half my life and I am sure I would have put myself in an early grave if I had carried on the way I was,” says Jodi.
“I wasted years worrying about things when I could have done something. All those years lost because I was afraid of failure. I would never have got up to talk or speak out and was afraid to ask for help,” she adds.
For parents Mark and Suzanne, seeing Jodi so at odds with the world caused true heartache.
“What I saw was a girl who would sit in a corner with her arms crossed who was outwardly saying ‘please don’t talk to me,” recalls Mark.
“Meanwhile Cameron was totally different. As parents, we gave the same love and care to them both and to see Jodi the way she was would have been difficult for any parent,” he adds.
Desperate to see a change, Jodi’s mum and dad coaxed her through the doors of Skegness Pool and Fitness Suite – it was almost a last-ditch attempt to try and open her life up a little. And there started a journey that transformed this young woman’s life.
Within months, she had lost two and a half stone and was able to visit the gym on her own – something she admits she would never have done.
Jodi did not look back and now, from someone who would hide away, her voice is heard even louder than her brother’s!
“This gym has totally changed my life, it is like a little family in there and the support network around me is fantastic. My self-esteem started to grow and I found something I truly loved to do. With that came my confidence. I am totally relaxed and the small problems just don’t matter anymore.
Jodi’s future is now bright: “And I have this gym and the people in it to thank for that,” she says before having a final message for other teenagers out there who may read her story and relate to it.
“If there are young people out there who are feeling like I did, please find a way to ask for help, to understand that you can achieve things in life and that you are worth something. Do not waste the years like I did. This has transformed my life, and you can do it too,” she says.