Rebecca posing in the gym

Being a part of the UG family helped to pull me through some really difficult times. When I first started, I couldn't bench a bar, now I'm Powerlifting.

When suffering with depression, it can be incredibly hard to even get yourself out of bed, let alone in to a busy, noisy gym. The most difficult part is self-initiation, finding the will and motivation to move and start something new. We recently caught up with Rebecca Peel, one of our long-standing members at Underground Gym. Rebecca has struggled with health problems both physically and mentally over the past few years which have tested her in many ways. Every week we see her show up to the gym, with her game face on, refusing to be beaten. Today, Rebecca shares her transformational story in the hope it helps others.

What inspired you to start at UG and why?

I suffer from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), a health problem similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but with far worse symptoms such as severe irritability, depression, or chronic anxiety. Over the space of three years, I lost my brother, experienced some challenges with my health and went through a serious phase of depression. Things just went from bad to worse. I needed to do something that would boost my confidence and keep me motivated, so I decided to sign up for bikini show, something I had no experience with at all!

How often do you train and what’s your usual routine?

When I started getting serious with my workouts, it really helped to work with a PT and stick to a nutrition programme. Nowadays, I train 5 or 6 times a week by myself doing a heavy weight routine. I love Bodybuilding and Powerlifting.

What do you enjoy about Underground Gym?

When you’re in UG, people come up to you, introduce themselves, show respect and support you. I’ve made so many friends and the place is overflowing with inspiring souls who have all been on difficult and challenging journeys. The UG crew show up, get the job done and help each other when needed! Can’t beat working out in an atmosphere like that.

Who are your mentors?

Sara Harpin is an absolute legend, she’s in the gym every day with a big smile on her face, showing us how it’s done. Tam Sharpe is also amazing, he helped me with my diet and since following a structured plan I’ve really noticed a difference with my shape and training abilities.

What’s created the best results for you so far?

I always used to run to keep fit, the whole Bodybuilding thing put me off going to the gym! Since I’ve embraced the weights and started Powerlifting, the game has changed. I absolutely love weight training and wish all women could see how amazing weights are for health and fitness.

What’s been your greatest achievement so far?

The bikini show was something I never imagined I would do and I recently had an amazing photoshoot with Ben Marks and Amplified Nutrition to help boost my self-esteem. Being a part of the UG family helped to pull me through some really difficult times. When I first started training at UG I couldn’t bench a bar, now I’m Powerlifting. It doesn’t matter where you start, people aren’t judging you, they respect the fact that you’re there, getting it done. 

What are your main goals for 2020?

I am focused on being happy in my own skin, building muscle and taking care of my mental health. My training regime is more for my mental wellbeing than anything else. I may compete in another show, but for now, I am happy with my current routine.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to start?

Talk to a PT, start with a programme, keep track of your progress and focus on what you enjoy doing in the gym rather than forcing yourself to do things that don’t feel right for you. Most importantly, face those fears and get to know everyone if you can, it’s like a family in there, once you start chatting to people, you’ll love it!

If you can relate to Rebecca’s story…

Depression and other health issues do not mean you have to put your life on hold. We understand that it can be hard enough to get out of bed some mornings, let alone make it to a noisy gym. Once you get there and get it done, you will see the change it creates. Here are some tips get yourself going:

  • Wear your gym gear to bed
  • Choose a realistic time to wake up
  • Set your alarm and put your phone far away from your bed!
  • Train with a friend
  • Use an app like Myzone to track your progress (available at UG)

Training with a PT will also help exponentially, ensuring you are held accountable, while supported and guided to move through whatever challenges you are facing. If this is something you are interested in, let’s get you started! Drop us a message on Facebook or IG and we’ll get someone to give you a call.