My Fitness Journey: Becoming a Fit Pro Later in Life
I haven’t always been into fitness and healthy living.
Way back in my school days I’d have every excuse under the sun ready for my PE teachers so I could get out of having to do anything that would bring me out in a sweat.
Roll on a few years (quite a few) and I love to sweat. It seems like an accomplishment to feel sweat running down my back because I have done such a hard workout.
How Things Changed for Me
Having left school and started work at 17, working out was not something I did. I went to work, socialized with my friends and partied at the weekends but at the age of 19, I met someone who worked out at a gym regularly. I had never done an exercise class or been in a gym before and this person got me involved.
It was totally different from school sports.
Firstly, you could choose what you wanted to do eg. a step class, half an hour on the rowing machine, or a workout with weights. You weren’t competing against other people; you were only competing against yourself.
To be honest, since then the gym, running and just being active has been part of my life. In my 20s, it was every night after work for a high-energy aerobics class, and during one of my pregnancies, it was a short half an hour in the gym. I’ve had weeks and months off here and there, due to lack of motivation, work, travel, family life and the kids but I’ve always gone back to it at some point.
How Health Developed into a Career
Roll on 20 years and while living in Doha, Qatar, I retrained as a massage therapist (I’ve always had an office-based job). I knew I wanted to do something related to the body and being healthy so, in a country with limited opportunities for women, I was really interested when a massage school opened.
My kids were growing up and I had more free time, so I threw myself into it and loved the process of learning again. A year later I had my qualifications with merit plus went on to do some other add on courses. I then went on to do a teaching qualification and returned to the school. I trained at and taught massage for a year before moving back to the UK in 2012.
Once the kids were settled back at school I joined the local gym and found myself down there every day. I had moved to an area in Somerset I’d never lived in before and the gym was a great place to meet people. I also wanted to start working again but just didn’t fancy going back to an office job or massage. A friend said to me, “Why don’t you do something related to fitness? You are always working out and helping me with my fitness routine and motivating me.”
I looked up some local colleges and went back to do my Level 2 Fitness Instructor course. I loved it and couldn’t believe that I hadn’t done this years ago – hindsight is a wonderful thing!
I got a part time job to fit in with the kids at a gym and stayed there for 8 months learning the ropes and studying for my Level 3 Personal Training qualification. Once I had this, I decided to set myself up in business, as my place of work was a 45-minute drive away.
Fortunately, when we moved back to Somerset, I had converted a room we had into a mini gym with treadmill and basic weights bench so this has become my work gym. I’ve added sandbags, kettle bells, weights bar and hand weights, put up a pull up bar and am slowly adding more equipment to my kit. I also did an Advanced Kettlebell Course, a Suspension training course and a Group training course. I set up the usual social media pages to help advertise and a website and over the last year, have built up the business.
Fast Forward to Today
Most of my clients are women that come to train in my gym but I do also go and visit some of my clients at their houses. I love it, I really do, inspiring and helping people to reach their goals, be a bit fitter or just change a few unhealthy lifestyle habits for some slightly healthier ones. It’s inspiring to watch my clients work hard to attain their goals and watch the process.
I really cannot see myself needing to change my job anytime soon! I start a Level 4 Exercise Referral course this month specializing in obesity and diabetes.
I personally train 3 or 4 times a week, mainly focusing on lifting weights and HIIT. At the moment, I’m just trying to be the best possible version of myself I can. I eat clean 70-80% of the time and I regularly encourage my clients to focus on the quality of food they are eating rather than the quantity.
I really love my job and try to be a good role model for all my clients and my three daughters, aged 14, 16 and 20. At 45, I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life, even if my knees regularly remind me that I’m not 21 anymore.