Overcoming Gym Intimidation: A 6-Week Journey to Strength and Confidence with our SIA runners up, Alice.

By Ange Drake

Meet Alice, our recent runner-up in the Spring into Action Challenge. In this compelling interview, she unveils her inspiring 6-week journey to reignite her energy, tackle aches and pains, and prioritise herself.

After the birth of two children, she found herself feeling like a stranger in her own body. But it was the 6-week challenge that finally pushed her to take the plunge and join the 23W community. Alice openly shares her initial hesitations and the powerful changes she’s experienced, both physically and mentally. Her story sheds light on the intimidation factor of starting a fitness journey and how we often put off the most challenging step; getting started!

Discover how she’s learning to prioritise self-care, make healthier choices, and set new milestones with the support of the 23W community. Prepare to be inspired by her journey toward a stronger, more confident self.

How long have you been working with 23W?

~7 weeks.

What got you started on this journey?

After 2 babies my body was feeling stiff, sore and sluggish. I wanted to regain strength, mobility and start feeling like myself again! I felt like 100 years old some days and had constant niggles that were never there previously.

What was your biggest challenge at the start?

Just taking the plunge and signing up. I kept waiting for the right moment and for my hip / back to feel better, but I just kept putting it off. The 6 week challenge was the timing i needed to get me signed up and in the studio. I was worried about how I would fit it in with the kids as I am not good at putting myself first.

What was your goal?

Showing up – minimum 3x sessions a week, build strength and progress to the barbells, reduce my back and hip pain.

What result did you achieve?

Achieved my goal of 24 sessions in the challenge period. Graduated to the barbells for DL, BP, Squats and set some PBs. Dropped almost 4% Body Fat (3.6kg)!! Hip pain completely gone 🙂

How have you changed?

1) I’m prioritising myself more by attending sessions guilt-free 2) I’m making better food choices and building better habits 3) I’m feeling stronger and am improving every session 4) I have a significant reduction in back and hip pain

What were your biggest challenges going though the process?

1) Being organised enough to have easily accessible, protein rich food and snacks on hand. 2) Feeling guilty to carve out the time and leave the family at home 3) Making good choices on a holiday.

What were your biggest learnings?

1) That my body is more capable with than I think it is. 2) Focusing on performance and progression helped me to break the cycle of measuring my worth by the number on the scales.

How would you describe your journey?

I am only just getting started! It took me a while to sign up but I am really thrilled to be in the 23W club and excited to see my strength continue to build. It’s been amazing to see some rapid results but I am really looking for a consistent and sustainable approach that I can continue to build on over the coming months. I know I am in the right place to make that happen. I would say these last 6 weeks has really been about building my confidence, giving myself permission to put myself first and kicking some of my poor habits.

What was it like working with the 23W and the other girls in the community?

It’s pretty intimidating to come in and do exercises and big weights you’ve never done or attempted before but the coaches were so welcoming, accommodating and helped me feel comfortable and confident that I could perform the activity. I think my first session we were doing rope climbs and I thought there was no way I could do it, but Krystal helped me get there. I think every session I was doing something for the first time I felt incredibly supported and that they were there to help me do it right and safely build up. 

What’s next for you?

I am going back to work tomorrow.. so fitting in around work and the two kids will be a new challenge, and trying not to blow out too much over the festive period. I’d like to keep building up my strength and fitness and lifting heavier each session.

Anything else?

Thank you to all the trainers especially Krystal who has provided a lot of support and encouragement in the sessions and made me feel really comfortable and capable.


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Our founder

Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.

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