After applying quite a focus on mental health in previous Podio Preston issues, Podio reader, Nigel Whalley got in touch to share his story. He doesn’t know this yet (hi Nigel) but his journey has touched us all at Global Amigos & Podio HQ. He’s therefore our Autumn 2019 YouInspire dedicatee.
Over to you Nigel!


Mental Health & Me, by Nigel Whalley


1 in 4 of us suffer from a form of mental health in our lives. My own experience isn’t over, after more than 20 years battling with it.


10 years ago, I weighed just 10 stone. I had a poor diet, no interests, nor hobbies, I was isolated and felt forgotten by the outside world.


These days, I have a different outlook – although I do still have bad days with depression and anxiety.


From 2011 onwards, fitness was a step forward to changing my lifestyle for the better. There was a little struggle at first; eating healthier, visiting the gym regularly, swimming and walking. It was undoubtedly my best step forward though.


I realised that I had no strong goal or direction. I therefore started carrying out research into powerlifting; this became my next destination. Bodybuilding was my first goal, achieved by gaining weight, gaining muscle, eating the correct foods and training hard.


I currently have weekly coaching sessions at a city centre gym, as well as training 4 times per week at my local gym.  I now eat 6 small meals a day and have 10 minutes mobility stretching every morning. As of September 2019, I weigh in at 16 stone and have a passion for Powerlifting.


Last year was my 50th birthday and what better way to celebrate than to do my first Tough Mudder race.  Since then, I’ve achieved another mud run and a 5k run.  After spending years trying to find solutions to reducing mental symptoms, I found that fitness and sport was the best way for me to combat those difficult times; I’ve stayed healthy, fit, strong, and I’ve got out of the house and met people who enjoy similar lifestyles. I don’t believe there are any limitations, for anyone. Your body can achieve anything right? You just need to convince the mind first; the most difficult first step.


Research does demonstrate that sport and fitness is a way to overcome depression & anxiety issues, no more so than fantastic groups that offer teams to participate in. Preston provides a huge number of health & fitness groups to cater for all abilities in almost everything – from walks and yoga to bodybuilding and strongman training. Don’t make an excuse to avoid it. Many options are completely free too.


If anyone is interested, contact your GP, support worker or simply search online for interests that match your abilities and aspirations.


Mental Health Day is on Thursday 10th October 2019: MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO MENTAL HEALTH.


Editor’s Note: I remember meeting Nigel on numerous occasions at community and networking events across the city over the years. In those types of environments, without even thinking, we so often put our happy faces on and respond to the usual ‘How are you’ conversation starters with an instantaneous ‘Good thanks’…


Nigel, thank you for opening up to us and our readers on this occasion. We wish you all the best with your fitness goals and future endeavours – and hope you’ll keep in touch!


***If you have an inspiring story, know an inspiring individual, or want to submit a piece for publication about anything positive & Preston-related, email***

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