Many of my clients ask me how it was I came to love being as fit and healthy as much as I do. And to be honest, it’s not something I can quickly and easily answer. Largely because just like my clients, my coming to fitness was a mixture of conscious and subconscious events. It can come in a dream or it can come from someone else recommending it, something someone said, a medical recommendation, a friend pulling you along with them, life events etc etc.
So how did this happened for me? Well let’s start from the beginning. Have a think whilst you are reading this, does any of this sound familiar or perhaps inspiring?
All throughout my childhood my parents were supportive of me getting involved in team sports, sports days and trying something new. In fact, I played rugby with the boys when I was in year 5 and my parents were called in by my teacher Mrs Rutherford to discuss my involvement with the boys and their lunchtime rugby to express that perhaps it wasn’t appropriate. Needless to say my parents encouraged me even more from this point and I enrolled at our local judo club.
You name it, I’ve done it, cross country, shot put, javelin, hockey, netball, basketball, rugby, trampolining, swimming, dancing, gymnastics, squash, rowing, canoeing, ice skating, badminton, tennis, but Mum and Dad did draw the line at majorettes. Thank goodness! And it wasn’t that I couldn’t stick at anything that I tried, it was that I was good at everything – not great or excellent just good. I found it easy to apply myself to anything I tried but I never went pro at anything.
This at the time highly frustrated me as I tended to hang around with people who inspired me to push myself at sport and they were excellent but I wasn’t. But in my adulthood I now think this is an excellent quality to have as it has given me a foundation in fitness from which to springboard from.
So when did I change from doing ‘sports’ to general health & fitness?
I remember becoming a woman and stopping judo at 16 years old when I realised I was now classed as an adult and alongside their hairy legs I was in an OPEN weight category. I didn’t fancy a broken arm, so my fairly good judo career ended. I then didn’t take up a sport at University despite being encouraged to do so because of a boy (now my husband so not a total waste of time!) and in my final year of University I found the gym, this was to become my niche and where my ‘excellence’ lied.
When I started a graduate scheme for the ill fated HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland) I was placed far away from home. For three years in fact I lived up north away from family and friends. But I found Pete. He was awesome, a 55 year old running coach who took many of us in the department out together on lunchtime runs and made us fall in love with running. I was hooked and I was in the best shape of my life after losing 2.5 stone during university. I ran with Ron Hill on his 70th birthday, I entered into 5km’s, I made many friends and I decided to take on a half marathon. I also went to the gym, but strangely to do more running. I was not strong in anyway. The gym was a company run one by a chap called Andy. He played ACDC and Metallica for me to workout too (though this music really was for him), and I was pretty much the only person in there most evenings. But I felt embarrassed, I had no idea really what I was doing and I was too afraid to ask.
I left ‘the north’ and came to London. I moved in with my husband, bought a house, spent 24 months renovating and became the largest I have ever been. I was eating and drinking like a fish. I hit….12.5 stone. I was disgusted with myself that I just hadn’t noticed. My Dad in all his subtly told me quietly what he saw, and that was it. I was off. I joined the gym down the end of the road and started doing 10km’s again of an evening. But I was bored, lacking in excitement when working out because I was still embarrassed and my job was very demanding with sometimes 11pm finishes.
This continued for some time until I moved banks. I lost the company gym but I gained a set of amazing friends at Fitness First right next to the office. And importantly I gained ‘Matt’, a Personal Trainer who is an ex-army squaddie.
The first circuits class I went to with Matt saw me thinking I was the bee’s knee’s until I came last in every race and I was so intimidated by him that I didn’t come back to his classes for 6 months! I was shocked. I was actually not very fit at all. I’d lost weight but I was not strong nor was I aerobically fit.
This was my main turning point where I decided fitness was for life not just for losing weight. I worked out hard and I decided I wanted to be a Personal Trainer. So, I started my exams and I told no one except a few close friends. I felt embarrassed that I wasn’t fit and that they might think I couldn’t ever be PT. If I was to boil it down, two people made me change for good, my husband and Matt. My husband said ‘you are more than intellectual enough to do this, but if you want to be a PT you have to look like one’ and Matt said ‘it doesn’t come without hard work but you have it in you’ and I also started training with him.
I was and am in love with exercise and nutrition. It took me 2 years to completely qualify and I have never looked back and thought ‘that was wrong’ because even if taking the exams was wrong, the hard work that went into making me healthier was not wrong. I didn’t do a quick transformation, it has taken me 5 years to get to where I am now but I am here for life and I have the self confidence to prove it.
This is also now what I encourage my clients to do. Find your passion, retrain your brain to think differently about exercise and your health, keep in mind that this is for life and your life will be extended as a consequence. It doesn’t matter where you are starting from only where you are going.
Why do I love what I do so much?
Because I can help others to achieve what I have achieved, happiness with myself. Passing this on is so rewarding.