That may seem like a very obvious statement if you know me now.
Together with my husband Ian, we own Oxygen Health Club in Penzance, Cornwall. A dream we realised two years ago.
My own personal fitness journey though, started late in life, at 34 years old. I remember the day very well when I asked a male personal trainer if he knew how to train women? How naïve!
"...ladies, lifting weights will not make you 'big'!"
I had struggled with weight since 18 years of age, after a ten year long unhappy relationship saw me at my largest in a UK clothes size 18.
So, aged 28 years old, I decided I’d had enough and that this couldn’t be what my life was about and I embarked on a number of activities that made me feel like I was living and not just surviving.
Although I lost weight, it was not in a healthy way. However, it gave me the confidence I needed to sign up for some challenges, including abseiling and skydiving for charity.
I also learned to drive and bought a car. Suddenly, I had independence, I felt great but still yoyo’d with my weight and didn’t do any exercise.
Then, I moved to the Cayman Islands. One day, I received a bonus from work and with that, I decided to invest in a 'Personal Trainer'.
I had never even stepped foot inside a gym before, but I loved every minute of it (well nearly – I hated the bike and the way it made my heart want to rip through my chest).
It wasn’t long until people started commenting on how I looked and this spurred me on further.
I witnessed my first bodybuilding competition in the Cayman Islands and was in awe of how the girls looked. I wished I could compete and look like those girls, but never thought it possible.
I started buying Oxygen magazine and fell in love with the look of the girls in there and again I dreamed one day of looking like that.
Armed with a picture of Jenny Lynn (figure competitor in the States)
I said, “I want to look like that”.
It took me a good 6 months to settle back in England and finding someone to train me proved more difficult than I had imagined. A chance meeting, however, lead me to a spit & sawdust Gym in Wembley, Genesis.
This was the start of my journey and armed with a picture of Jenny Lynn (figure competitor in the States) I said,
“I want to look like that”.
I was lucky that a trainer took me under his wing and this was a gym where you had to prove your worth. That mentality brought out the best in me, most of which I never knew I had.
Incidentally, it was during a 'mental barrier breaking' session on squats (not one of my best looks) that I met my future husband, Ian.
"When people said to me;
'Nutrition is 80% of it...'
I now knew what they were talking about..."
I loved training but with it came the diet.
It was totally different to what I was used to and sometimes it felt like I had to force the food down me although I did as I was told.
The fact that other people thought it
was possible for me to be up on the Competition stage made it Ok and I trusted them. It took the responsibility off me - if that makes sense?
I even forgot about the actual competition until one day my Trainer said;
“right, let’s set a date”.
Christ! Suddenly, it all became a little bit real. No more dreaming about doing
it but I actually HAD to do it.
I practised the posing and the routine religiously and trained harder than I ever done before and ate exactly what I was told.
Oh, and then, there’s the tan, “hooker” shoes and fabulous diamante bikinis. I relished every moment.
Competing was the most amazing thing I had ever done for myself. The biggest achievement that I never even imagined I could do.
Inspired, I knuckled down to
study Fitness Qualifications.
It spurred me on to help other people realise their dreams because I had been there. I know what a minefield it is to get started and know that anything is possible if you commit and work hard.
"Anybody can have the body of
their dreams. It’s not for the
exclusive, it’s yours to have if you want it."
I love weights because of what they do for my body and my self esteem.
They gave me the ability to change my life.
Things happened a little bit later in life for me but it doesn’t matter. It happened and I feel blessed.
Six years later I am now preparing for another challenge!
"Can I successfully compete again whilst being a wife, a mother, whilst simultaneously running a business?" (*Editor's note: Watch this space)
Everything has changed but not my love of weight training.
So, to dispel a couple of myths -
"Ladies, lifting weights ... will not make you ‘big’! "
"If you stop training ...your muscle will not turn to fat."
"Weight training is the BEST thing you can do for your body and it’s NEVER too late start!"
Oxygen Health Club
4 Market Jew