In 1996 I suffered from a prolapsed disc which put an end to my job training racehorses. I returned to study commencing a degree in IT and worked in various part time jobs. I went through the syndrome of seeing many physiotherapists and massage therapists with not much help for my back.
I did resume casual riding for pleasure though, and found some benefit from this exercise. But then in 2002 I fell off a horse and broke both my tibia and fibula. This proved to be quite a significant change in my life!
The result of such a serious fracture is that generally when your leg is folding at a right ankle where it shouldn’t be, means you also sustain tendon and muscle injuries. So following my operation and initial period on crutches I then underwent lots of hydrotherapy to rehabilitate. I grew to hate the pool, especially since it was winter (even though it was an indoor pool, didn’t help). So after poking around in the gym trying to use some upperbody weights I pointed to the group fitness room and asked one of the staff “would I be able to do any of the classes in there?”
…..and so I tried my first ever BODYBALANCE class. I am still thankful forever to the trainer that recommended this class to me. I was slightly overweight at this point, not very mobile, certainly couldn’t run or jump, but I fell in love with balance! I couldn’t get through any of the pilates tracks without taking a rest but it didn’t matter cuz balance was everything I wanted, let alone needed!
The music was probably what inspired me the most initially, and the tai chi just felt beautiful. Back then on release 18 the tai chi was very simple and calming. I eagerly went back each week and tried to go at least 2-3 times a week. I also felt immediate improvement in my back and found I didn’t need the chiropractor as often. Then release 20 came out and I just didn’t enjoy this one. I found it difficult to get motivated and I looked at the jam classes that had started at the gym. I was terrified of dancing, but I wondered “is this a good opportunity to face my fears?” I asked one of the trainers about jam and they said “why don’t you try combat?”
Sooo, barely 6 months after starting balance I tried my first combat class. It was insane! I felt clumsy, I wasn’t good at it and it hurt my leg as I still couldn’t run or shuffle properly. I was thankful there were 2 other people new to the class as it made me feel a bit less like an idiot. For some crazy reason I went back and did another class…….and I fell in love!!!! Within about 6 weeks I knew I wanted to be an instructor. That seemed a crazy notion, since there were plenty of others going to the gym who’d been doing it longer than me, and certainly fitter and with better bodies. I was still just an overweight newbie, but I dunno I just wanted to share the benefits I was getting with others. Oh, and I was just MAD about combat.
3 months after starting combat I had to have another operation to remove the pin out of my leg and this helped heaps. Some of the pain I was experiencing disappeared and even though it was probably too soon I was back in the gym doing combat after 3 weeks. Combat just empowered me, gave me confidence and mobility that I hadn’t felt in a long while. In another 3 months I signed up for my BODYCOMBAT training. Back then we didn’t need to do our Certificate III in fitness, but the rules were changing so I enrolled in the course only a few months after doing combat. I wanted to be SURE teaching was for me before spending considerable money on Certificate III.
Around the same time I did Certificate III I also did my BODYBALANCE training which was around March 2004. As I started teaching this program aswell, my knowledge of technique and core strength, flexibility etc increased and with that I found the benefits for my back increased even more.
During all this time nobody ever actually suggested Personal Training to me. Early on I didn’t know what it was and once I became an instructor I figured I didn’t need it. How wrong I was. I look back now and everything I could have achieved sooner if someone had explained what Personal Training was to me! It’s lucky I made it where I have really, since it’s virtually impossible to achieve these results on your own. It took me around 4 years what I could have done in 3-6 months with a good Personal Trainer!
Really the rest from here is straight forward: I got my life back, I lost weight, increased my flexibility and fitness, followed up with doing my BODYPUMP training in December 2004 and gained considerable experience in the fitness industry and weight training in general.
So when I decided in 2006 to quit my office job and become a Personal Trainer it was just the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle to fall into place. I then did my Certificate IV in Fitness which is the certification required to be a Personal Trainer and then also completed the Les Mills BODYTRAINER module which is required to be a Personal Trainer at Zest. My personal experiences and rehabilitation has given me actual real life knowledge and experience in the fitness industry. I feel passionate about technique and postureÂ when I’m trying clients and teaching my classes because I have actually felt the difference between having weak core strength and flexibility and the difference it makes when you strengthen it. I remember back in those days when I couldn’t complete a pilates track in balance without taking a break, till now where I have the core strength and stability to be able to stand on a fitball without assistance.
The bad news is that rehabilition of core strength and back injuries takes a long time. This is something that takes at least 6-12 months. It’s very difficult to stay persistant and dedicated over this time but hopefully anyone reading this will feel inspired by my story.