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How Ruth lost 5 stone & transformed her health & fitness!

Ruth has now been undergoing personal training since July 2019 & as well as drastically improving her fitness & strength, she has also lost an incredible 70lbs in weight (5 stone)*, dropped 28cm off her waist* & has lowered her blood sugar back down to normal levels. Keep up the amazing work Ruth!

(*stats updated in February 2021)

“My back story, or, why I needed a PT

(written by Ruth Pollard in August 2020)

I’ve always struggled with my weight. I was a chunky child – not very sporty and loving naughty foods like crisps and biscuits, both of which were readily available at my house, with no one really noticing if they disappeared more quickly than they should.

As a student I discovered a real taste for beer, doing me no favours in the weight department. As my weight crept up to 13 stone I did try various methods to bring it down. Aerobics, particularly step-aerobics, was very fashionable. I also tried ‘going for a jog’, but in the days before handy websites/apps gave you info about the small steps taken in the couch to 5k, and suffering from asthma, it was no surprise really that my running career was brief.

Falling in love, and the contentment that brings also brought a few extra stone with it and in order to slim down for a bridesmaid’s dress for my sister’s wedding, and then my own wedding dress the next year, I joined weightwatchers weighing 14st6. That worked for a while and when I got married I was a tidy size 14, and probably 11.5 stone – I never made it to my target of 10.5 stone, the uppermost acceptable weight for my height (5’5.5”) in terms of BMI.

Child #1 duly arrived and the three stone I gained during pregnancy had gone by his first birthday. With child #2 it was not so easy. Even with ante and post-natal yoga and exercise classes, I didn’t manage to shift the weight before becoming pregnant with #3. Ditto for #4. So, at that point I was 36, with 4 children and a lot of excess weight.

My husband had taken up running, doing a couch to 10k programme devised by Nike. It worked for him, and we went as a family to watch him do his 10k in London (we call it Marathon Lite, as it is like doing the London Marathon, but without the extra 20 miles). I decided I wanted to do it the following year, and following the same plan, I managed it. This was 2009, and I’d become a runner, albeit a slow one.

We did it again the next year, but then life started to get in the way. Being farmers, and at the time I was still teaching part-time, we were working seemingly all day every day. It is all too easy not to prioritise going for a run, and being too tired at the end of the day to be bothered. The naughty food habits start to creep in too, when you’re exhausted and feel you deserve a treat.

A real turning point came when my husband suggested we go on a family skiing holiday with friends. He knew how much I wanted to go, as I skied regularly as a child. I had plenty of time to get ‘ski fit’, but I was starting at 16st8. I managed, with a low carb diet and running, to lose 3 stone and fitted into my ‘aspirational’ ski clothes that I bought in a size 16, months before they would fit me.

This was now 2015, and for the next few years my weight and size continued to yoyo in the same vein. Only in the first ski holiday did the size 16 coat fit me, and the following year it was a size 20. So now, the milestone 50thbirthday was fast approaching and I got a couple of warnings from the medical profession. I was diagnosed with osteo-arthritis, one of the causes: being overweight. I was also warned that my blood sugar level was slightly raised and that unless I did something to reduce it I would probably develop type 2 diabetes within 10-15 years. These were the spurs that I needed, but I clearly needed help.

This is where Joe Langley stepped in. A family member had returned from USA with a few extra pounds and engaged Joe as a PT. He had good results and highly recommended Joe. I decided to bite the bullet and have a go.

I had my initial consultation at the end of June 2019. At the consultation Joe thoroughly assessed my aims and motivation for signing up. I decided on the personal training programme with one gym PT session per week, plus Joe’s input into my home workouts and additional exercise, nutritional advice, as well as ongoing support via text/email.

Joe looked at our aged assortment of home gym equipment with a view to writing home workouts for me to follow. It was all very much based upon what I felt I was able to do in a week. Joe allowed me to set the pace that I worked at and initially I felt that I could manage one PT gym session, one home workout and another session of either running or swimming. He also set me the task of recording my food intake for the week – via a handy app.

The first week of July saw my arrival at IND Fitness at 7am on Thursday morning (my usual slot). Upon arrival I had my starting statistics – weight, blood pressure, a myriad of measurements, and photos (not compulsory by any means, but obviously a useful tool to be able to compare month by month).

The first Joe Workout followed, and was thoroughly enjoyable & involved lots of guidance to the correct way to use the machines to get the best results.

Over the next few weeks, I got used to the routine of having one workout with Joe at the gym, a workout at home (designed by Joe), and either a swim or one of Joe’s video workouts which were available online, or Bootcamp – a really fun Saturday morning class at the gym, with a maximum of 16 people (I was initially a little intimidated by the name, but actually there were people of every ability there).

Every session starts with a weigh in. Joe always asks if I want to do a scale weight, so it is optional, but even when I know it’s not going to be good, I always want to know the truth! Every fourth week it’s photos and measures. Although I wasn’t that keen, having the initial photos to compare with every month is very motivational.

From the first month I could see the difference, and the tape measure doesn’t lie either. Those statistics, with waist, hip and boob measurements going down every month, give me the motivation to continue and see better results every time.

Exercising three times a week, and eating a sensible, fairly low-carb diet (no refined sugar) has seen a great impact upon my body. My weight has steadily reduced, and the resistance training with Joe has toned and slimmed my body in a way that just running and dieting has never done. Joe checks in with me a couple of times a week to see if my exercise that I have planned has taken shape, and to talk nutrition too. He is able to see everything I eat through the app. Joe uses his facebook page to post motivational and thought-provoking video messages, to ask and answer questions on diet and fitness.

Five months in, I was scheduled to take a break for a month (turkey farmers: December = difficult). The same week I had an accident at work, resulting in a hospital stay, four broken ribs and liver damage. I had to have a complete break from any exercise, and then return to it gently at first.

Joe was brilliant at helping me return in a safe way, designing an exercise programme that was comfortable, yet still challenging and for the first month back a gradual build up of exercise was just what I needed. The ominous clouds of the Covid-19 pandemic were amassing in the distance. By the time of our skiing holiday I was firing on all cylinders (and also, back in the size 16 coat). I felt more energetic than ever before.

After our skiing holiday I had a couple of sessions before lockdown & the closure of the gym. Joe looked for a way to be able to still work with his clients, albeit at distance. He set up Zoom workout classes for us to be able to do at home twice a week, and continued to provide motivational support with our additional exercise and nutrition.

During lockdown I re-discovered running, using an app called ‘Race at your pace’, and the rest of the family started running using the ‘couch to 5k’ app. We cycled as a family too. All the while Joe was providing motivational support via text message. At the beginning of June PTs were allowed to train 1 to 1 again, providing it was outside. Joe set up an outside gym at IND in the carpark, with a gazebo in case of rain, and it was great to be able to get back to some proper resistance training. He has never faltered with his positive attitude to life, and creative thinking about how to get around the problems Covid-19 have thrown at him.

It is now mid-August, 2020, and we’ve been able to go inside the gym for my last 3 sessions with Joe. I’m over a year into my journey, and have never felt better. I have so much more energy, not to mention strength (handy as a farmer). I am watching as my body becomes more toned with each passing month. I’m now the same size approximately as when I got married, but I am certain that I am fitter now than I have ever been (a recent PB for 10k and 5k confirm this).

That size 16 ski jacket? I tried it on the other day, and it is HUGE on me now – time for a new one!

Thanks Joe, for your unfailing positivity, as well as your expertise on the human body and fitness. For me, it’s a winning combination!” Ruth

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