"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined."

– Henry David Thoreau

When I was 13 years of age my Mum gave me a card with the above quote printed on it, since receiving it the 20cm x 20cm white card with black writing on has stayed imprinted in my head. It is my mantra.

By day I am an Account Manager for a Software Development company and by night you will find me inside TRAIN Manchester training. From a young age I had always participated in a variety of different sports, keeping fit and being active has for as long as I can remember has been part of my daily ritual.

I began training in October 2010, my discovery of the sport aligned with the beginning of my second year of University and like most people I was hooked within months. CrossFit Leeds fast became my second home and I was lucky enough to compete on their Regionals team in both 2011 and 2012. After finishing my degree I moved across the Pennines to Manchester for work joining TRAIN Manchester. The decision to leave Leeds and my gym family was not easy but, I had realised that staying in one place could not fulfil the journey I was seeking in life. You never forget your first Box and family, I am forever grateful to the individuals at CrossFit Leeds that influenced me in so many positive ways.

Since joining TRAIN Manchester the pool of individuals I have met has expanded and continues to grow. The UK community is very unique in this aspect, no matter who or where you are you can rely on it as a facilitator to meet like minded people. I take great confidence and reassurance in knowing that along my journey in life I will always be able to rely on this characteristic of the sport.

As an individual I have come to learn that I seek a sizeable amount of variety in my life, although I have a pragmatic approach I am constantly on the look out for new experiences and challenges. The beauty of functional fitness is that it consists of a broad range of elements; irrelevant of how good you are at it you will always have areas of weakness. As a result of these areas of weakness you have constant access to a mechanism that allows you to set goals that you can focus on achieving. Big or small, the achievement of a goal returns a sense of satisfaction; satisfaction increases confidence and returns positive energy.

My relationship with the media through my teenage years was negative and although many saw the confident Chloe the vast number of pictures of incredibly skinny girls that were considered ‘fat’ affected me. The media has a damaging influence daily on females, particularly young girls growing up, I was lead to believe that shape, muscle and being toned was not the norm and I became transfixed with being as light and skinny as possible. I was fighting a battle I was never going to win. Strong, healthy and happy individuals suddenly surrounded me, my perception changed and I realised that I was aloud to be what I had discounted as acceptable.

The nature of functional fitness training, the variety of its elements and intensity, coupled with being taught how to fuel myself appropriately has been a positive impact on me as a whole. My relationship with my body has changed; I no longer battle with it and now see it as an engine that supports and allows me to move, with confidence in the direction of my goals.

My aspirations in life are not concentrated specifically within one area, I have the desire to be successful in many different domains. Training for me is the perfect tool to compliment the other elements of variety I have and seek in life. It helps me to remain confident in who I am and who I want to be; it enables me to maintain positive momentum in life and move forward along the journey I have imagined.

September 30, 2014 — Chloe Barrett

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