Back in 2004, when I was 34, chips, chocolate and bread were my staple diet. Before my son was born, I took ‘eating for two’ literally – and, if it was fried or full of fat, I’d love it. However, I was unhealthy, overweight and unhappy. I’d always found exercise a chore, but heading towards being middle-aged, fat and frumpy, I knew I had to change.
The weight had piled on as my diet had consisted of: three slices of toast with loads of butter for breakfast, chocolate and crisps mid-morning, cheese sandwiches with more crisps and chocolate for lunch, and usually a massive plate of chips with something fried or loaded with sauce for dinner. Several trips a day to the snack machine at work were also not uncommon. Therefore, post-baby I found myself three and a half stone heavier than before. I dieted and lost a stone but then got stuck and stopped losing weight. I felt defeated and convinced myself that this was how I would always be – fat and miserable.
Thankfully, my husband thought differently. While he assured me he loved me no matter what, he knew I wasn’t happy and encouraged me to change, so I joined my local gym. That’s where I attended my first Les Mills BODYCOMBAT class, and from day one I was hooked. My technique was awful, my co-ordination even worse, but the buzz I got kept me going. I went three times a week religiously and then discovered BODYPUMP and BODYATTACK as well, and my passion for exercise was further ignited.
After attending a BODYCOMBAT class, the instructor, Mina Raval, asked me if I was also an instructor. This was a massive compliment to me as Mina was a very experienced and excellent instructor and for her to think that I was good enough to teach was amazing. Because of these words I began to believe I might actually be able to teach.
Encouraged by my husband, I took my Exercise to Music training and booked on to a BODYCOMBAT module. Instructor Steve Tansey’s inspirational training on the module changed my life and I’ve never looked back.
Now the weight has gone, never to return, and I teach BODYCOMBAT, BODYPUMP, BODYATTACK and freestyle classes in the community, although BODYCOMBAT will always be my first love. I’ve even been lucky enough to shadow the UK BODYPUMP trainer team on stage at their events; experiences I will never, ever forget.
I’ve left my previous job in a law firm to teach full-time and I adore what I do. I don’t eat rubbish and have a real interest in nutrition and how it fuels the body. My diet and lifestyle have changed completely. I eat chicken, oily fish, lean meats, salad and vegetables, and always think about what I’m putting into my body. I’m not obsessive and have ‘treats’, but I can honestly say the biggest change is my attitude to life. I will never just settle and think I can’t do something. I’ve found with determination and the support of family and friends I can achieve anything.
The feeling I get from seeing people buzzing with endorphins in classes, reaching and surpassing their fitness goals, is second to none and the look of pride on my husband’s face when he watches me teach simply can’t be bought. I’ve made so many new friends and see people every day changing their lifestyles and attitudes to exercise through my classes. I’ve now got a whole army of BODYCOMBAT addicts which makes me so proud.
Even better, two of my members are now instructors, teaching BODYCOMBAT, BODYPUMP and BODYATTACK, and a third is attending a BODYCOMBAT module soon. It’s so rewarding to see them fulfil their dreams and also change their lives, just like me.
I’m 41 this month and I never believed that at this point in my life I would be fitter, in better shape and happier than I ever was at 20, but I am.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Fitness Professionals Ltd or Virtual Magazine. Consult a qualified health or fitness professional before making changes to your diet or exercise.