When his family bet £100 that he wouldn’t be unable to sober for 50 days, Ste Bolton has proved them wrong – not only quitting binge drinking, but also dropping eight stone and qualifying for an international athletic competition.
During a party, his family noticed that Ste was consuming more alcohol and more quickly than others at the table. He took it to heart when two of his relatives jokingly challenged him to go 50 days without a drink in return for a £100 wager and achieved 100 days sober.
Ste also joined Bannatyne Health Club in Skelmersdale and went on to drop from 20 to 12 stone and was selected to represent Great Britain at Bilbao Bizkaia 2022 European Multisport Triathlon Championship.
After losing his mother and sister to cancer, Ste was struggling with his mental health and says he used binge drinking with friends and his Sunday league football team as a coping mechanism.
But, in a bid to win the bet, Ste threw himself into training at the Bannatyne Health Club, which he says turned around his mental health and transformed his life.
In the four years since making that life-changing bet, Ste has become a daily visitor to the club at the Northway Centre and has become firm friends with staff members and other members.
He receives one-to-one support from the club’s personal trainers Nathan Wharton, Joe Madden and Brandon Wharton who have helped guide him towards his goals.
While training at the Club, he met fellow member Ian Roberts, head coach for the Prime Triathlon Team, who has helped and encouraged Ste to take part in events and competitions, including Iron Man, cycling time trials, du and triathlons.
Ste, a warehouse manager for Amazon, said: “Four years ago, I would never have pictured myself as a daily gym-goer. I can honestly say joining the Bannatyne Health Club has been the best thing I could have done, not only for my physical health, but also my mental health.
I’ve stopped regularly binge drinking and taking the anti-depressants that I was on for many years. It’s crazy when you think all of this has happened because of a daft £100 bet.
“I really undervalued the impact exercise has on mental health. But it’s not just the actual exercise that has helped me, it’s being a member at the club. I’ve made many friends with other members and staff members.
Everyone is so friendly and encouraging. I often work out with Brandon, who is a cleaner at the club at the moment, but is going through his personal training qualifications.
In his spare time he has taught me about powerlifting, and we’re great mates off the gym floor too. I’ll definitely be one of his first clients.
“When the club was closed because of Covid restrictions it was really tough for me. I could still do some of my training, but I really missed the social side of it.
I realised that for some people, the gym is where they go to get out the house and might be the only people they see all day, so I made a real effort to stay in touch with people and check in on them.”
Phill Nuttall, general manager at Bannatyne Health Club Skelmersdale, commended Ste’s efforts: “One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing how people can transform their lives – just like Ste has.
There’s a real sense of camaraderie at the club and we do our best to get to know our members, that way we can help them reach and exceed their goals.
And as Ste has discovered, the social side of a Bannatyne membership is very important, lots of members become friends and each other’s support network.
“Ste’s transformation is truly awe-inspiring and goes to show the additional benefits of exercise. I think lots of people underestimate the impact regular exercise has on your mental wellbeing, but it really does make a massive difference.”