You could say my journey into fitness was a bit unconventional.
I spent my late teens and early twenties suffering from an irritable bowel disorder. Yet after 8 years of endless tests, I was without a formal diagnosis and any means of treatment. For anyone who has experienced similar, you’ll be able to appreciate how difficult it was for me to try anything new, especially in a social setting. I would have to drive to events or nights out in case I needed to run out at the short notice! By 22, I’d kind of given up trying to fix what was wrong and just felt that this was something I needed to learn to live with.
One afternoon I made an impromptu trip to get my nails done. The conversation was flowing and my technician started telling me about this female fitness transformation group she’d just started. Teaching PE to primary kids and playing sports myself, I’d always been ‘active’ but I often felt that my illness prevented me from these type of things. Still, she asked me to tag along to a fitness class so I thought I’d give it a try.
Going into it I wasn’t expecting much but WOW, I loved it! The buzz and atmosphere were incredible and I left feeling more energised than ever. I kept going back with my enthusiasm, and body confidence growing each time. Then from that, I was introduced to weight training, which was even better! I hadn’t set out to lose weight but through being more active and lifting weights, I noticed my figure starting to change. Not in a ‘bulky’ way as I initially feared but just generally more toned and curvy. But most importantly I learnt the importance of looking after my body and fuelling it the right way and from this, gained an understanding of what triggered my illness. I may not be cured but I certainly no longer have to plan my life around toilet breaks!
Then one day I realised that just training wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to be the person that motivated and inspired. I wanted to challenge this idea that fitness wasn’t fun. I wanted to help make as many people as possible feel as incredible, as strong and as confident as I felt no matter what physical, mental or medical barriers stood in their way!
Having a full-time stable job, people thought I was mad. It didn’t matter though, I was so determined and just knew I could make it happen. I did my research, committed myself to my own personal development and just had to succeed.
And now here I am. Living the dream as a fully qualified personal trainer! I won’t lie, it was incredibly tough but without a doubt the best decision I have ever made. Making a real difference and seeing your clients literally transform their lives is so rewarding and something that could never be matched.
I believe my journey into fitness and experiences provide me with a greater understanding of the struggles many women face. I was never deeply unhappy with the way I looked but I did have a tough relationship with food and I was more aware than I should have been about my weight. At times it felt almost impossible to juggle life, be active and eat well too so I completely get how appealing it is when you see these quick fix plans that promise to transform you into wonder woman. I don’t even feel ashamed to admit that I’ve been down that road as with all the confusing things out there, is it any wonder?
Yet by chance, I discovered something that worked for me. Instead of dreading exercise, I look forward to it. I get excited about new gym gear, improving my strength and performance and of course, my next tasty meal. I feel sexy again in and out of clothes!
Feeling hungry, tired and down should never be a measure of progression or a successful approach. There are better, less expensive, more effective most importantly, more enjoyable ways to get fit, healthy and body confident. And it was only when I realised that, that everything changed for me.
This year I competed in my first ever figure competition with the UKDFBA. It was an incredible journey, and after 26 1/2 weeks prep, I was proud to take 2nd place in the Scottish Caledonian Classic.
“She believed she could, so she did’ (a quote on a bracelet bought for me by my Deputy Head)”