Back in 2012 I was overweight and in denial. Sure, I had joined gyms in the past, usually the college leavers giving me my induction.
“You want fat loss? Ok, use the cross trainer for 20 minutes then use this machine and that machine, these cables and those cables and then warm down on the treadmill and you’re done”
I HATED it. I had no idea what I was doing 10 years ago anyway, so I figured the professionals who had the qualifications knew that that was the way to get to me to my goal. So like most people I’d go a few times a week for about a month and then it would fizzle out, and eventually I’d be paying £30 a month for a gym membership that I never used. Like a lot of other people I’d start off with good intentions.
And then in September 2013, I joined a gym (again), I was single, I was a bit strapped for money and I figured if I spent £30 a month on gym membership I could have a place to go every single day and it would never cost me any more than the gym membership.
In my new venture I decided it was almost impossible for me to lose weight because I just hated the type of workouts I needed to do to in order to achieve it. So I thought I’d try something a little different. Maybe I could build some muscle instead, I’d always liked the idea of being strong, I was so over the skinny, bikini clad models you see shoved in your face every day, I wanted a more muscular physique so maybe I’ll try that instead.
I got 2 free personal training sessions when I signed up so of course I put them to use. Looking back I am fully aware that they usually hand out the free sessions for the newest PT’s in order to help them build their client base. But boy was it my lucky day, the new guy wasn’t like any other PT I had come across before. The first thing he asked me as we walked across the gym floor was “What do you want to achieve? Tone up, get fitter?”
“No” I replied, “I want to build muscle”
I am pretty sure it was music to his ears, and looking at me I’m sure he saw me as a challenge. I wonder if deep down he thought to himself she’ll never stick at it’ After all I was pretty big, a size 18 I think, so definitely needed to lose a few pounds, and certainly not a lot of sign of muscle.
That first session was straight in to deadlifts and overhead press’. He killed me, as soon as the session was over I had to run outside to get some oxygen because I was so light-headed, physically exhausted and could have quite happily curled up in a ball and not moved for the rest of my life. BUT… It was literally the most amazing, thrilling and motivating gym session I had ever had in my entire life! Despite the fact I was nearly dead it was so invigorating. I was so surprised what I was capable of doing. Never in my life did I think I was able to deadlift (had never heard of the term before!) 40kg perfectly over and over again and 10kg over head press’s over and over again. This first session was the most important session…or maybe lesson, of my life. This first session is what sparked something in me to really want to do this. This guy took my request seriously and didn’t fob me off with a cross trainer for 20 minutes. I wondered what else I could do. It became a competition with myself to better myself from one week to the next.
The second session gave me much the same feeling, this time it was learning to squat, first getting my depth right, then starting to add weight. Once my form was on point the weight went up and up and up, and I revelled in the delight of every single kg of progress.
I turned into a regular gym goer, although I couldn’t afford much in the way of personal training sessions I actually did continue with my personal trainer in a way I could afford, I paid upfront for a few half an hour sessions and had just half an hour every 4 weeks, I knew it wasn’t ideal but it was all I could afford and I was pretty good at pushing myself and I was so motivated it was easy to get myself to the gym so it’s not like I needed that extra push to get to the there in the first place.
I don’t even remember stepping on a scale for months and when I did I was shocked, I had lost loads, and I had of course, taken photos, I sent some progress pics to my PT who always congratulated me, he always made me feel so good about my efforts and it really is all thanks to him that I am where I am today.
Since that first session I researched, I read, I learnt and I expanded my knowledge on this type of training. Nutrition was a new thing for me too, I stopped smoking, I gave up alcohol, I stopped eating crap food completely and I just felt amazing, I actually started going to the gym twice a day some days. Weight training in the morning and cardio in the evening. Gym was literally my life.
Another huge inspiration for my career change was another PT who did classes, one of which I went to once a week. The energy this guy had was insane, he was funny, the classes were enjoyable and there was a real social aspect with them, including post drinks after the sessions sometimes. The enthusiasm This guy had was so admirable and the dedication to his job was amazing. He had a real way of talking to you, and advising you, never once did he make you feel silly because you couldn’t quite get the right form, his instruction was clear and helpful and he was just such a nice guy and a fantastic trainer.
These are in all honestly the two most influential people in my life. It is because of them I decided to embark on a career in personal training. I admired these two guys so much, they loved their job, they did their job so well and are both everything I hoped to bring to my own clients. To this day I aspire to be just as good them.
So here I am now, a fully qualified personal trainer specialising in strength and hypertrophy training, building muscle and using weight training to sculpt and define the body, with nutritional guidance and supplement advice to go with it.
A huge thanks to Martin Uttley and Rich James for being such huge influences that lead to my career change and a much healthier and bad ass way of life. If I am just half as good as you I will have succeeded!