A MAN who battled addiction and anxiety and is now learning to be a personal trainer is offering free exercise sessions in Abergavenny.

Jedrzej Laskowski started a personal training level three qualification in September 2019 after what he describes as a “light bulb moment” following a long battle with alcohol, cigarettes and mental health issues.

“It was like I woke up one day and thought ‘this is not the life I want’,” he said.

After moving from his native Poland to Abergavenny in 2017, Mr Laskowski admits he led an unhealthy life ruled by addiction and bad habits.

“I had always been into sport and had known it was important to stay healthy, but I was involved in the wrong crowds in Poland and fell into a pattern of addiction,” he said.

His unhealthy lifestyle continued when he moved to Monmouthshire, he explains.

“I smoked up to 10 cigarettes a day and went to the pub most nights to drink a few pints after work," he said. "It seemed impossible to get out of that cycle. I felt anxious and used short term solutions to deal with my issues.

“Now I look back and realise it was important for my development to go through that time, because I’ve tested my exercise techniques on myself.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a personal trainer it became obvious that I can’t do my best to help others if I can’t look after myself.”

As well as training most days since September as part of his course, Mr Laskowski has also stopped smoking and drinking, taken up group meditation, and become vegetarian.

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“I really enjoy the group meditation, and I’m convinced it has played a big part in helping me become less anxious,” he added.

“I want my sessions to remove that anxious feeling from people’s lives, which it did for me.

“I want to start sharing what I’ve learned and I know I have enough knowledge to be able to help people better their lives.”

Over 30 people have already expressed an interest in his classes, and Mr Laskowski said he is “excited” that his dream to “show people the possibility to change themselves” is becoming reality.

“I wanted the sessions to be free because some people don’t have the money for the gym or have too much anxiety to go,” he added.

“I hope that by making the sessions free I can persuade people to come who wouldn’t usually consider it.

“The sessions will not include weights and will not be overly challenging, working on how to warm up, all-body workouts and breath control.”

For more information on Jedrzej’s sessions, visit Fitness Against Anxiety on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/2538793029727220/