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“Enjoy the process,” Chris, my PT repeats whilst I am mid-meltdown over my inability to transform into a leaner, shredded version of myself overnight. Or even over the course of four months. “I’d enjoy the process a lot more if I had some abs to look at!” I wail.

Seeing my disappointment, we up the ante and end each session with 10 minutes of punishing ab exercises – weighted crunches, Russian twists, toe taps, oblique crunches, and reverse crunches that leave me doubled up in pain after each set (no pain no gain?!). Then there’s a ridiculous manoeuvre on the ab-bench that I still can’t bring myself to do alone, for fear of looking like I don’t have a clue what I’m doing (every gym-goer’s worst nightmare).

But these ten minutes show me that it’s not all about seeing abs. Because magically sprouting a set of well-defined abdominal muscles overnight wouldn’t come hand-in-hand with oodles of self-confidence to walk around showing them off. The process is about real people - with day jobs and body hang-ups - sweating and getting mucky; gradually seeing positive changes inside and out. Not perfectly-lit images of salad for Instagram and pre-workout selfies enhanced with a dusky pink filter.

I’ve found a kick-ass gym that motivates me to turn up 6 days a week, challenges my competitive streak and train hard (even without a PT by my side), whilst helping me feel proud with the little changes, such as defined triceps, a perkier butt, and the outlandish idea that I might be able to defend myself in a dark alleyway. Suddenly I’ve got a reason to drag myself out of bed at 5:30 each morning (and complete a 2 mile run to the gym), my PT makes me laugh, and I finally have some impressive-sounding hobbies - real hobbies - that don’t include record-breaking Netflix marathons or eating Nutella straight from the jar.

An enjoyable part is knowing you’re one step closer to your goal than you were yesterday. But along the way my impatience has started to wane and I might just be falling in love with the process (even those early starts dare I say it).

Author: Connie Foster-Hall

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