I’m no natural to fitness, I started late
I never used to like sport or exercise at all. I was the kid at school who went right to the back of the field so that the ball wouldn’t come near me; a nerd who preferred sitting in the shade with one of my mate’s earphones to any sort of moving around. By the time I got to young adulthood, nothing had changed. I had enough energy to do my job, I had a social life and felt fine. I was enjoying living on white bread and veggie hotdogs with ketchup, washed down with lots of fizzy drink (and vodka and rollups).
It was a psychological change I was seeking
The beginning of my fitness story wasn’t triggered by anything to do with my health or my body, but my mindset. I was an easygoing, laidback person. Suddenly, in 2006, something major kicked off in my life that made me realise I needed to change my way of operating. I had a huge effort to sustain, a campaign to protect something bigger than me that I cared about very deeply. I had also been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So at that point, I walked into a martial arts gym, and started what would turn into a lifelong journey into movement and change.
Change is constant
15 years of movement has made me who I am. We ended up losing the campaign. But I went on and boxed for seven years. I learned karate and silat too, and Brazilian jiu jitsu for a short time. Although I loved it, I was never that good at boxing… having short arms doesn’t help. What I did discover is that I had a passion for all kinds of exercise, and for sharing that passion with others. And my training practice was shaping my personality.
Movement has made me strong enough to support those who need me
As I hoped, there was a massive carryover into the rest of my life. The endorphins and aching muscles from a gym session one evening were laying the groundwork for increased confidence and self-esteem the following morning. I was able to use my new found strength to help a close family member to battle and eventually defeat eating disorders.
Movement has kept me going when the challenges of life have rocked me to my core
I was just getting started teaching circuit training in the community when life changed again and a bombshell hit. Out of the blue, a loved one suddenly became seriously disabled. Having been an NHS worker I understood the very real danger that those who care for others sacrifice their own health massively. I knew that to sustain the effort of caring long term, with my responsibilities set to rise as time passes, I needed to lock myself into prioritising my own strength as a foundation.
Life never stands still, and the combat sports that I once found such satisfaction from began to feel like the wrong fit for my new circumstances. Barbell strength training instead stepped into centre stage for me, and that remains my current self-care tool of choice.
Whether you have a health challenge, a caring role, or a personal mission out in the wider world, a movement practice will build your power
This was my reason for studying to qualify as a Personal Trainer. To help keep myself able to support others, and to do big things beyond that too. I want to pass on and share the physical – and above all mental and emotional – gift that I have received through my own training habits and practice.
People before profit
While Personal Training is primarily an individual service, with my background in union and community organising, the lens of Big Bag Training is very firmly a collective one.
Learning is constant
I have only continued to learn more with each passing week working as a Personal Trainer, both formally and from my clients. My one perspective as an able-bodied white woman is incredibly narrow, and I am in an ongoing and never-ending process of learning more about others’ experiences of the world, and the systems that operate on us all. By growing my understanding and expanding my connections, I can play a more useful part in dismantling the toxicity of much of fitness culture, and increasing access to the joys of movement practice to our whole community.
Education so far
Deconstructing Fitness Culture, Fitness For All Bodies, 2021
Mental Health First Aider, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, 2021
Fundamentals of Trauma Informed Weight Lifting (20 hour training and ongoing regular consultation), Center for Trauma and Embodiment at JRI, 2021
Onramp to Inclusive Fitness Practices, Body Positive Fitness Alliance, 2019
Prenatal & Postpartum Exercise Design, Human Kinetics Continuing Education, 2019
Certificate in Kettlebell Training, Train Fitness, 2019
Personal Training (Advanced Level 4 Diploma including Exercise Referral), Train Fitness, 2018
Fitness Instructor (Level 2), Fitness Qualifications, 2014
Healthcare Science (Foundation Degree), University of Chester, 2011