From couch potato to naked on stage...it's no ordinary fitness journey

Me performing my burlesque routine as a slutty 80s style aerobics instructor.... Photo credit: The amazing, Reality Dysfunction, Scott Marks

Me performing my burlesque routine as a slutty 80s style aerobics instructor....

Photo credit: The amazing, Reality Dysfunction, Scott Marks

I’ve had 7 PTs to date. The high turnover should give you some indication of how well it went each time. (Except for the one time I was gyming at Les Mills, when I genuinely fell down the stairs and couldn’t train any more for months.)

So despite my best intentions to join a gym and get fit, the relationship never lasted.

I work in media, so when I say I’m always on the run I am always on the run. When I was on Paul Henry, on average I spent 9 (waking) minutes a day in my house. I know because I timed it. I knew I couldn’t gym daily, weigh out 30g of protein religiously and pre-prepare snack bundles of precisely 8 almonds each. Plus I just found it, well, boring. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get more active, I just found the forumalic machine routine numbingly dull.

But most of my trainers didn’t listen and didn’t get it - so I just stopped trying to get fit.

Then I decided to write a feature on burlesque, where I performed on stage for a competition. So I realised I needed to be a WHOLE lot fitter. And I wasn’t happy with looking like a boiled dumpling. I didn’t like not being able to run and jump and dance.

A friend realised this and introduced me to Bridget Emmitt at Truly Toned, and the team at Just Workout. Now, Bridget was PT number 7 - a firecracker of a woman who had the rare skill of being unfailingly nice to everyone despite having got up at shit-o-clock in the morning.

She was older than me, highly experienced, relentlessly positive, highly attentive to my goals and unlike many of the other PTs I’d had she wasn’t just trying to get in my pants. The Just Workout crew were equally chilled and welcoming, with none of that grunting and roaring posturing that I’d found at so many gyms. They were the friendly, non threatening gym I’d always dreamed of.

So I began training with her at Just Workout on the Shore. It was a gradual build up, but bit by bit I began to realise I wasn’t hating it. I started doing little workouts at home and going for runs on summer nights. And all because she actually listened to what I wanted. She made me little routines for at home to do when I was waiting for the laundry to dry. And she told me snacks to eat on the run. And she introduced me to sugar free hot chocolate.

Suddenly I wasn’t hating the workouts. Oh they were tough, and I sweated until I was wetter than a duck pond. But I began to actually enjoy it. And more importantly the sense of control, improvement and increasing fitness I could feel inside me.

By the time came to perform 4 weeks later, I’d dropped 4 kgs - both losing fat, gaining muscle and basically feeling a whole load fitter. And, crucially, I could shimmy around for 5 minutes on stage without looking like I was having an asthma attack.

Before I’d met Bridget, I’d pretty much written off PTs. And I’d dismissed gyms as mating grounds for the vainest, angriest breeds of human.  

What I realised after meeting her is that it just takes someone who gets you. Someone who isn’t afraid of a busy client with complicated needs. Someone who isn’t just in it to puff up their own insecure ego. And someone who listens.

So this is a thank you post for Bridget and all those other PTs who actually do hear what their clients want. And for Just Workout for being so utterly un-scary and lovely. And it’s also a message for anyone else out there like me, who has about as much enthusiasm for gyms as they do illegal organ harvesting.

You can make it work! I promise. Just find the person and the place that listens to you.