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Join the GirlGains community in East Anglia

PUBLISHED: 10:25 10 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:29 10 April 2018

Leila Silva organises GirlGains events in Essex.    
The group is pictured at Farm Fitness in Essex, at a workout event that was put on with owner Tom Kemp. 
Picture: Kudzai Makopa

Leila Silva organises GirlGains events in Essex. The group is pictured at Farm Fitness in Essex, at a workout event that was put on with owner Tom Kemp. Picture: Kudzai Makopa

Archant

At first sight, Lindsey Beard might look like the kind of fitness devotee who has been into sport and working out for almost as long as she’s been walking and talking.

A GirlGains 'ambassador event', with the three founders of the movent, kneeling from second left.
Picture: GirlGains.A GirlGains 'ambassador event', with the three founders of the movent, kneeling from second left. Picture: GirlGains.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

Lindsey is a newly-qualified personal trainer but not so long ago she was a dental nurse who suffered from depression, ate terribly and never did any exercise.

It’s a transformation that makes her a perfect fit for her role as an ambassador for a fitness, friendship and empowerment movement that has grown into a worldwide community since being launched by three London bloggers.

Zanna Van Dijk, Tally Rye and Victoria Spence started GirlGains as a social media hashtag but after attracting 50,000 ‘tags’ within six months it evolved into a movement with ambassadors and meet-ups all over the UK - and around the world - that aims to unite and empower women to become fitter, healthier and happier. Lindsey is ambassador for Norfolk and Norwich, where she stages regular events that are open to like-minded women of all ages to come along to. There’s also a GirlGains ambassador for Essex, Leila Silva, who organises similar get-togethers.

GirlGains founders Victoria Spence, Zanna Van Dijk and Tally Rye. PictureL Jon Payne/GirlGainsGirlGains founders Victoria Spence, Zanna Van Dijk and Tally Rye. PictureL Jon Payne/GirlGains

“I’ve followed the movement for about a year, found it really inspiring and made quite a lot of friends through it,” says Lindsey. “One day I just decided to email to see if they were looking for new ambassadors and we went from there. We hold meet-ups every month to six weeks for local women to come together to workout, eat and talk about health, fitness and food.

“It’s open to anyone, of any age. So far, we’ve had women in their 50s, 40s, and 30s down to those in their late teens. There just wasn’t anything around that was similar - when I started getting into health and fitness there were no meets-up like this or ways to connect with others.

“I would have liked to have someone to go to gym with or talk about these things with but the friends I had at the time did not share those interests.

“GirlGains is connecting women and empowering each other to live our healthiest and happiest lives, whether that is eating well, treating our body with respect or loving who we are. It’s inspiring people to be the vest version of themselves.

“My life has changed dramatically over the last few years and I like to share that with others. I’m a newly-qualified personal trainer but I used to be a dental nurse. I had quite bad depression, I didn’t exercise at all and ate terrible food. It’s only been in the last two years that I decided to start eating well and working out. Now my depression has gone, I feel stronger and so much better in myself. That’s what’s led me to become a personal trainer.

“My whole lifestyle has changed - and changing my lifestyle has changed my life. I can’t imagine being the person I was anymore. I would be delighted if others felt inspired to make changes in their lives too after hearing my story.”

Essex ambassador Leila Silva organises events throughout Essex, from Colchester and Chelmsford to Stansted and says: “Last year we had five successful events and so many friendships have been made since we launched here in Essex,” she says. “Meet-ups are everything from brunch to workouts and even having afternoon tea.”

Like Lindsey, Leila, who is also a health, fitness and body confidence blogger (writing as Healthier Leila) and speaker, says her passion for health, fitness and body confidence began only relatively recently too.

“Before finding the GirlGains page I constantly compared myself to others on social media, which was unhealthy - although didn’t realise it at the time,” she says. “I have learnt so much from the girls on finding balance, self love and confidence. For years my weight and confidence has been fuelled by what I see in the media, until I found the amazing #girlgains founders Zanna, Tally and Victoria. I’m so much happier now that I have found the right balance in my life.

“The movement has really changed my mindset and I hope to bring this to others.”

To find out more about GirlGains in Norfolk visit the Instagram page @girlgainsnorfolk. For Essex, join Leila’s #GirlGains Facebook page to find out about forthcoming events or go to Instagram.com/girlgains_essex. For more on the GirlGains movement started by Zanna, Tally and Victoria go to www.girlgains.co.uk.

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