A few years back I was the ultimate couch potato, I went to work every day and came home, cooked dinner and sat on the sofa watching TV. My Sky+ box was used every day to record multiple programmes and I am sorry to say I even knew what was happening in Eastenders! I felt terrible; I was tired all the time, I could sleep for England, my asthma caused me problems and all in all I felt dreadful.
I was working with a lovely girl who enjoyed her wine, enjoyed cooking and eating amazing food and was in the first year of very happy married bliss but had put on about a stone – every day she said she was going to try a new diet or was going to take up dancing and every time we talked about it I felt guilty that my weight was so out of control. We talked about talking up pole dancing, about going to Weight Watchers, about trying the juice diet – you name it we debated whether it was worth trying.
But one day, I just decided I was so fed up of talking about it I should do something so, without telling anyone I sneaked off to meet with a trainer at my local gym; I turned up knowing I was about three stone overweight (and yes that is a picture of me a few years back) and incredibly unfit – I hadn’t set foot in a gym or done any formal activity for YEARS! I am so pleased and lucky I chose a fantastic supportive gym where, right from the outset, I was never judged, I was given things that pushed me, that felt hard but that I could do and I slowly learnt that I had to have faith in my body’s ability to do what I asked of it.
I few weeks in and I changed trainer and, for me, that was the turning point. Something just clicked with the way he approached training, the exercises etc and I went from being committed to a few sessions for a month or so to wanting to go every week. I knew very early on that training with KP was non-negotiable and that for me, it was something I knew I had to do.
Fast forward a while and having lost loads of weight I had learnt so much about myself about what worked for me, how hard it can be and I wanted to share that knowledge and newly found passion with other people so I decided to start studying for my PT exams. To this day I cannot believe that I have come this far and that I have such a passion for health and fitness – it still seems remarkable!
Anyway, the background is probably not that unusual after all so many of us these days are trying to lose weight or get fit but I guess what’s less common is taking that experience into a new career – for me, having been so overweight and unfit, living an unhealthy sedentary life and juggling the pressures of family and work with the desire to change is what makes me a good PT. I understand why its hard to change, I understand how difficult it can be to make the changes you need whilst still having chocolate and crisps at home for the children, I understand how hard it is fitting exercise into your life when you have a full-time job and family. But I can stand in front of my clients and show them that it can be done, that it is possible no matter where you start from and no matter how old you are.
I LOVE being a PT so much, I love helping people find their passion for exercise, I love seeing the changes in their body and their minds. The clients that commit to training and work really hard, remain inquisitive, always looking for challenges and changes are the best; they keep me on my toes and challenge my experience and knowledge every time we meet. But the ones who are new and looking for help are fabulous; they come to me nervous, worried it’s going to hurt, hopeful, scared and seeing their confidence grow with every session is a real privilege; when they suddenly buy new gym kit or find they can wear a top they hadn’t worn in years is such a gift.
My one regret is that the industry is still often a male dominated environment and where women do exist they tend to be young and inexperienced; for me its time that gyms woke up to the fact that the demographics are changing and that trainers who can offer real life experiences and a “been there done that” empathy add so much more value to training sessions and retention rates. Despite all of that I look forward to every training session and enjoy spending time with every client (ok, almost every!) and I cannot imagine my life without health and fitness.
I really do love being a personal trainer and I love my life; I am a very lucky girl indeed!