I've always had an odd relationship with food and exercise, you can call it inconsistent.
I was that kid in school who avoided any kinds of sport or P.E activity, yes I was the kid hiding in the bushes, forged a letter, or took up a musical activity that fell at the same time.
This started to change as I hit my late teens, being in sixth form I was able to go to the gym doing exercise I enjoyed. Spinning and group focused classes with friends were fun, and before long I became a well known member of the gym.
I enjoyed spinning the most and it became the foundation of my exercise, I even qualified to be an instructor. I loved the pumping bass from the music, the rhythm of the beat on the bike and the adrenaline rush feel. I made some good friends (one of them being my best friend), and before long I could see my body taking shape. Some people would say I was obsessed with what I enjoyed, but it's just like people love watching TV. I socialised with people who had the same opinions and my stress levels seemed to evaporate away, however I could sense something wasn't right, my joints were taking a beating and I had plateaued with my goals.
Diet wise, we always had the ‘meat carbs and veg’ rule in my house, the problem was I didn't have an off button and portion control was out the window (apparently this was a baby thing too!). Sweet puddings were always a thing, leaving me overweight in my early teens and becoming overally self conscious. I remember wanting to take action when I was criticized for what I was eating at lunch in school one day, the education we have today was not a thing back then, and you were looking at the common advice of ‘lots of cardio and a reduced calorie intake’. I exercised over ninety minutes a day and tried so many diets; slimfast, the apple diet, and a low carb, which looking back none of which are sustainable, dangerous and only if any short lived results.
I left for Australia in 2012, I didn't realise how big the fitness industry was out there, and it wasn't long before I became part of it. I joined one of the big gyms and got on the spin bike, feeling right at home. Runs along the bondi to coogee coastal walk were enjoyable and I formed some great social groups.
I looked at personal trainers over there thinking I knew it all. ‘I didn't need one’, ‘i'm a fitness geek’, however one day I completely changed my tune, and thought I would give it a go! I found my trainer, forked out $65 a session (yes I had to pick my jaw up from the floor too!), we planned goals, looked at my nutrition and started a fixed guided workout. She was a bikini model competitor and had an amazing figure, the ones you never see in the media… and what they do to get there! I was advised to stop the cardio as I was burning away muscle, (hence why I never could reach my goal) eat more and stress less. This girl has such a structured way of living, six meals per day, training only 45 minutes, five times a week and looks like this? I thought ‘what would she know? I bet she has never been any bigger than she was now’. I tried and I stayed with her for 6 months, only giving up thinking I could do and knew better. I tried a further 3 personal trainers with the same thinking pattern and just failed between a short 3-6 months later, with no massive results just extra knowledge.
It's not always the accountability, but the social side and being able to train with someone who has an interest in yourself. Finding Signature fitness Austrailia, honestly changed my life and views about what our bodies need to get to our goals! Lenny, Matt, Sammy and their team were about changing a lifestyle, not just exercise and diet. It was about creating a BETTER you inside and out. We focused on a macro based paleo eating lifestyle, with strength and high intensity sessions during the week, lasting no longer than 30 minutes. We had education sessions and team group days, which eventually led to nights out. What I loved about these people they were invested in you! Not money oriented or statistic driven, but focused on you and what you want, it was relaxed and provided within a community of like minded people. The change was a drastic change for me, going from 90minutes of cardio a day to just 30, and the training was so different to what I was used to, but I got a different feeling… a powerful and strong minded feeling.
We never focused on weight (as muscle weighs more than fat), but used alternative measures such as skin callipers for body fat percentages. We created an individualised meal plans with the paleo food I loved, so I didn't feel i was missing out! Here is where I learnt carbs aren't the enemy, it was just my choices that stopped me progressing.
The results were slower than what I was used to and I often wondered if it was working, but I trusted them and within 12 weeks I was more toned with more muscles I never knew I had. I felt so much healthier in myself, I was more productive, energised and motivated than ever. The transformation was the best lifestyle change I ever had, Why? It changed my relationship with food, exercise and daily life.
My thought in personal training had progressed so far, and unfortunately having to move to another area led me to my last trainer, she saw the same views and entered me into a further development stage in my training which allowed further results. Still we are friends and see her as a role model, like I do signature fitness.
Coming back to England, I wanted to continue on my journey and invested myself in a personal trainer course, something I had wanted to do for so long. I didn't just want to train clients, I wanted to help them and share the knowledge so they could achieve what I did. I spent 6 months studying and practicing, reading all I had and investing in magazines and articles to keep my knowledge fresh. I spent hours practicing in the gym and working out with friends to gain further skills (thanks Jill!!)
Today I'm now a fully qualified personal trainer with at least 12 years of self personal experience in a majority of fitness fields. I don't regret any of what I have done and who I paid to be a personal trainer, as they have all taught me really valuable knowledge and skills I still use today. I have been in the position of virtually anyone; overweight, underweight, injured, tired, too busy, pregnant and too broke to take part. I fell into the hole of fad diets and media frenzies, but what really changed me was knowledge from people who cared, who were invested and wanted to provide support.
The right knowledge is the foundation to your results and the goals you want to achieve. It's made so much difference in my clients, and has changed their lifestyles in such a positive way its made me feel proud to be part of their journey.