"I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome in 2013. Just after this, I began wanting to work out. During this point in my life, everyday tasks such as paying in shops gave me crippling anxiety. I was desperate to work out, but didn't have the courage to go on my own. I began training alongside my dad and began to gain confidence. I went from not being able to walk around the gym by myself to preferring to train on my own. It's given me an insane amount of courage. The gym is the one place I can go and not think about anything other than weights and reps for an hour, it's pure bliss to me. Exercise is proven to reduce anxiety and stress. I feel I am a walking example of this."
- Sam Barnes
For as long as I can remember, sport has been a big part of my life. From a young age, I played football every week for a number of different clubs as well as attending trials for Leicester City FC.
From the age of 10, my life started to change. My mental health started to decline and everyday became more and more difficult for me. Playing football was no longer fun. To this day I still love the sport, but it wasn’t helping my health. Every time something would go wrong on the pitch, I’d start to lose it and couldn’t cope. I had to quit.
At the age of 13, I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. I had severe social anxiety and, even though I had plenty of friends at high school, found everyday tasks such as paying in a shop, really tough. There was something in my head that would stop me. I’d be worried about something going wrong, or having to talk to someone.
One day, I picked up a copy of mens fitness. I instantly fell in love with the idea of working out and creating my own programmes. Because my social anxiety was still so high, I began training alongside my dad. My anxiety was so bad, I couldn’t walk around the gym without him with me.
I noticed that most teens of my age would train arms once a month and that was it, but I've never been someone who does something half heartedly like that. From the get go I wanted to perfect the craft of lifting weights and sculpting my physique. Working out is more than lifting dumbbells for an hour a few times a week. It's a commitment and something that I love with all my heart.
Over the years my confidence has grown through the gym. It didn’t take me long before I was able to go to the gym on my own (I now actually prefer training by myself now!). But something still wasn’t right.
I remember scrolling through YouTube one day and coming across a 2 year transition timeline video. As I watched it, I cried. Everything that had ever felt wrong to me suddenly made sense. I am Transgender.
My physical transition took a long time to happen. I spent a year with the Tavistock and Portman doing assessments. I was on Hormone Blockers for a year, went through fertility treatment and eventually began Testosterone in 2017 and had Top Surgery in 2018.
The one consistent thing in my life through out all those years was the gym. I’ve never looked back since I began training. It’s given me hope, love, courage and so much more. This is why I am a personal trainer. This is why I am a coach.
I took my Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification and passed in the summer of 2018.