We all know that keeping fit is important, and there are many ways to do so, yet keeping that drive and motivation to work out regularly can be tough. Photographer Ed Gold decided to find out what drove members of his local Anytime Fitness gym in Colchester to keep putting in the hard work.
I’ve got two children, so I’m here to keep in shape and so I can eat what I want.
I love carbs, so like pizza, pasta and Chinese.
I’m healthy all week, and at the weekend I just eat whatever I want.
The gym makes you feel better about yourself, it gives you more confidence.
I was always dieting and feeling miserable, but now I’m more balanced because I can do exercise.
I always wanted to be fit, and then about two years ago I was in a car crash and it really messed up my neck and back, so the gym was to strengthen me.
Now, it’s for relaxing.
I was told not to do gym by the physio and even the back specialist, but I went and tried it to see what my limits were and over the last year I’ve increased my limits.
I don’t want to be that person who can’t lift the shopping, so it’s really about being fit for my family and myself.
I think every fella wants a nice physique, and I want to be able to play with my son without getting out of puff – but there’s no real goal, I just want to enjoy it.
At first, I came to the gym to lose weight as I was a little bit chubby, but now it’s just a hobby.
I come to the gym and then I can get on with my day, and seeing progress, changes in my body, makes me want to come back every day.
I want to compete, that’s my plan, “bikini fitness” – you diet down to 4% body fat and then go out on a stage and pose.
I’d like to do it to prove to myself that I can do it.
It takes a lot of dedication and willpower.
It’s something I enjoy doing – my boyfriend likes to go and play golf, and I like to come here and sweat.
It’s good for stress from work, boyfriend and home life.
I use the gym just to get fit and healthy.
I used to go running a lot in Ghana, press-ups in the morning – it was something I was brought up with. My brothers, they are very athletic.
I’m happy when I use the gym.
I think it’s something to do with the body when I push-push, it makes me feel like I’m in control of my body.
Having a good body gives you personal confidence.
I have to be a role model to my children.
Luis ‘Lu’ Hurley
I’ve been using this gym for two and a half years, on and off, for physical appearance and to mentally push myself.
It’s good to push yourself and see how far you can go.
It’s so addictive. It releases endorphins, so I feel a bit more focused throughout the day.
You ask anyone in this gym, they will never be happy with the way they look.
I try to get that perfect physique. I’m never going to get it, but it’s just trying to get a step closer and pushing yourself a step closer.
Fitness is one of the things that makes me happy, and friends and family.
I spend a lot of my time here, and I like clothes shopping.
Most of my friends are here, so it doesn’t bother me that this is all I really do.
Clothes, the aesthetics of it, the outfit itself, goes with being fit. And because I’m self-conscious, it makes me feel better.
I think it’s good at stress relief. I’ve just left college. And now my exams are finished, I come here to give me something to do.
I joined with my friends, but they all cancelled their memberships because they couldn’t be bothered to go.
The cross-trainer is my favourite, it burns a lot calories really quickly.
I’m not one of these people that goes extreme about it, but I’ve cut out rubbish food – less takeaways and stuff.
I’m at university here – English language and linguistics. I’m going to do a teaching degree and hopefully become a secondary school teacher.
My boyfriend got me into keeping fit.
I’m already quite slim, so I’d like to do other things rather than cardio – toning up, so I feel more comfortable, but I’m not trying to become the next muscle woman of England.
Just being able to pick up heavy boxes would be an achievement.
I have a really fast heart-rate, and so coming here has helped reduce it.
I wanted to train for me and didn’t see the point of getting on stage to show people how you look.
But the adrenaline from having a few hundred people in front of you and showing off all the months of work meant I was hooked.
I don’t lift heavy weights at all, it’s down to consistency and diet.
I train 12 times a week.
What I love about it is that I get messages from people every day who tell me I motivate them in life. I love that.
Nick ‘Murphy’ Maxwell
I’ve been working out probably over 20 years since I started using a gym, my wife’s a gym instructor.
I sort of messed about with weights in my early 20s, but I’m working harder here as it has better weights.
Keep the weight off, keep fit, keep everything working OK – it pays dividends when you’re older, it keeps your back stronger, your heart and lungs and possibly Alzheimer’s away.
I’m here to lose the baby weight and get into my wedding dress. It’s also fantastic for mental health – fighting the baby blues.
It’s also to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and it’s nice to walk up a flight of stairs and not be out of breath, feel good hormones – there’s too many pessimists in the world.
I actually met my fiance here at the gym – you know someone is going to like you when they’ve seen you at your worst, all sweaty with no make-up.
I found out I was type-1 diabetic a month before my 21st birthday. I inject six times a day, whenever I eat and every time I eat carbs.
When you work out, your body releases endorphins, which is great for anti-depression.
I used to have high stress levels and snap easily, but now I feel totally refreshed and I can leave the gym door after a session and have my head clear for the next day.
It sets you up for a mindset for other things in life, like work, family and relationships.
It becomes addictive. It’s important to me now because if I don’t do it, I get depressed. It annoys me if I take a rest day.
As long as you don’t lose momentum, it’s easy to keep coming back.
I used to be one of those people that couldn’t motivate themselves – but when you see improvements, then it becomes addictive.
I want to be able to do a set of pull-ups. That’s my long-term goal.
I don’t like the fact that girls are seen as weaker. I want to be a girl that lifts.
I was an elite gymnast for nine years, from seven to 16. I just excelled at it, I was training 20 hours a week. I just love working out, it’s in my blood.
The one thing I always say when people ask me why I lift weight is: “To give me shape.” It develops amazing shape, it doesn’t make you into a man.
I’m twice UKBFF [UK Body Building and Fitness Federation] champion.
It’s a personal challenge of improving every single time you step on a stage.
I do a competition, get some feedback and go away to improve. It’s about being the best you can be.
All photographs Ed Gold