Falling in love with weightlifting helped Sam get her confidence back

Picture of Sam in Springwood Leisure Centre Gym

Wed 20 Sep 2023

When Sam Shaw moved back to Derby, she’d never been into exercise or had the confidence to join a gym.

But she plucked up the courage to become a member at Springwood Leisure Centre to prove to herself that she could do it – and has not looked back since.

Her confidence soared as she got into weight-lifting but, as for many people, the effect of the Covid lockdown hit her hard. Because she couldn’t go to the gym, she wasn’t able to lift heavy weights and maintain her strength. But as soon as she was able to return to Springwood, she was back on track.

Now Sam, aged 44, is encouraging anyone thinking about improving their fitness to go for it and join Derby Active. She said:

I moved back to Derby after my relationship with my children’s father broke down. I joined Springwood because it was very affordable.

I initially started at circuits once a week on a Saturday morning. I struggled but received a lot of support and guidance from my instructor, Layla, who she made me feel comfortable.

I didn’t know anyone at the centre and it was a bit daunting to go on my own but I was determined not to give up.

As the months went by, Sam’s confidence grew as she continued to attend Layla’s classes. Sam started going to body pump classes too and then tried out the gym.

Sam said:

Layla’s sport is Olympic lifting and I admired her strength and commitment. One day I tried a deadlift in the gym and it felt good and from there I fell in love. With continuous advice, I increase the weight I was lifting and my confidence grew in the gym.

During lockdown, Springwood and Derby Arena offered online classes to their members and Sam continued to do the circuits class on Zoom. But she missed being able to attend the gym.

After lockdown, my strength and confidence was knocked and I had ‘lost my mojo’ with lifting in the gym,” she said. “Lamaar, who is a trainer at Derby Arena, set a program for me. I stripped my deadlifts back for sets and wanted to get to 125kg. I have now managed to get back to 150kg for sets with the huge support I’ve received.

The team at both Springwood and Derby Arena is second to none. I started not knowing anyone and now I would consider both staff and fellow members as friends. It’s a supportive and friendly gym community.

My advice to anyone considering joining would be - it’s very affordable, everyone was new at some point and the staff will always help. Get a program, be consistent, challenge yourself and be your only competition!

If Sam has inspired you, there’s still time to take advantage of Derby Active’s fantastic September offer. Join as an Unlimited Member in September and pay just £10, when you sign up as a Direct Debit member.

Derby Active Unlimited member benefits include:

• Choose from two Derby City venues, Springwood Leisure Centre and Derby Arena
• Unlimited Classes
• Unlimited Gym sessions
• Free personalised programmes
• Professional and friendly Wellbeing Advisors to offer ongoing support
• State-of-the-art fitness equipment with lots of choice, so no waiting
• Free online App
• Free online classes using the App, with over 1,000 to choose from.

Find out more and join online on the Derby Active website.