Over coffee a friend (the best kind of friend) told me that she was worried about me. After YEARS and a really LOOONNNG list of attempts to lose weight and get fit she could see I was struggling and said something that really hit home. “You can’t rely on yourself to fix this – it’s too hard. Your decision making got you where you are and you can’t rely on it to get you out. You need someone who knows what they are doing to help you.”

She gave me Luke’s contact details and asked me to really think about giving him a call. Let me say here that I am the LEAST likely person to go to a gym or EVER have a personal trainer. A PERSONAL TRAINER!!?? FECKING HELL!! They were for “fit” people, athletes or celebs – definitely not for me – I was mortified at the thoughts of it! BUT she WAS right I couldn’t rely on myself for this and maybe I should try something different. I knew how highly she rated Luke so in a moment of madness, I roped in my best friend, and contacted him. I can now say beyond a shadow of a doubt it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Making the call and meeting up with Luke for the first time was horrifically nerve wracking. I nearly chickened out a hundred times and I thought of a million reasons to cancel. My previous exercise experience before had gone like this: I would talk myself into “doing something” to get healthier. I’d find a class, ignore the anxiety and embarrassment and try to “blend in” down the back. I often wasn’t able to keep up and felt left behind – sticking out like a sore thumb drawing attention to myself – EXACTLY the opposite of what I wanted. My nightmare was being “buddied up” with someone who was fitter and holding another person back. (CRINGE). I’d put in huge effort, try to stick with it, but I wouldn’t improve. It was hard to take class after class and eventually my resolve would go and I’d leave.

I believed he had no idea how unfit I was or the “size” of the problem at hand and would run at top speed away at the sight of me.


I had convinced myself that Luke would run a mile when we met. I believed he had no idea how unfit I was or the “size” of the problem at hand and would run at top speed away at the sight of me. I desperately looked for any sign of backing out/ judgement from him but unfortunately there were none – he seemed up for the challenge and it looked like this personal training thing was going to happen. (DAMN IT!)

I was also really worried because in a small group there was nowhere to hide or blend in. Not one for the dramatic – I stressed about throwing up, crying, dying of embarrassment, falling over, having a heart attack etc…etc… Not to mention nothing to wear! That’s why I remember the pink t-shirt so well 😀 I was convinced that “fit” people were born fit and had no understanding of what it was like to start off AND I there was a very big chance I had to walk into a GYM!!**

I expected lots of impossible running around and shouting to “motivate me”. I could NOT have been more wrong. Luke was un-phased and wasn’t a bit put off by the state of me. I won’t lie, initially it was really, really hard in every way but there was no shouting at all…ever… quite the opposite. I was out of breath, terrible at everything and terrified most of the time but Luke was encouraging – a genuinely nice person-however – no push over. He had the measure of me – knew exactly what I was able for and how far to push and when– lots of encouragement but no slacking allowed. There were expectations of the effort I needed to put in and to be honest it was refreshing that he thought I could rise to the challenge. As I began to move, back pain was very much a feature in every class but Luke adapted the exercises without making me feel like I was an idiot. I left each class wrecked …BUT… I COULD DO IT. With a lot of effort – everything was doable and this was a new experience completely. We even had a laugh and slowly my confidence and trust started to grow – mostly in Luke and eventually in myself.

While I did relax a bit it didn’t get easier. In the past assumed that once I “got fitter” I bounce through the exercises, hardly breaking a sweat. I kept waiting for it to get easier to get to the finish line but that didn’t happen. Because of Luke I now understand that training is supposed to be hard – for everyone – every time you go regardless of your fitness level. You are SUPPOSED to push yourself – there is no finish line – that’s the point! I had always assumed being out of breath meant that I was too unfit and crap at what I was trying to do and that I should give up. I now realise that as soon as I get comfortable doing something it’s because my body has adapted. Luke raises the expectation, adds more weight or reps, and does something new. Every class was (and still is) hard – really hard –but not impossible. I’ve learned that the feeling of challenge and toughness is what training is about – BUT.. .. here is the shocker…I can do it AND I really love it! I’m slowly getting better, stronger and fitter…. who would have thought it? There is nothing like the sense of achievement I get from doing something I thought I couldn’t do before.

Really surprisingly too I NEVER really thought about my weight at the start. It wasn’t really a talking point for Luke. I’d expected to be weighed and given a strict eating plan but it was NOTHING like that. Luke talked about “food as fuel “. We just chatted about what I was eating and when, what was good and why. Every session was another little nugget that I’d never thought about before. It wasn’t a lecture – it was drip feeding small little changes. I started to get that eating poorly or not enough could be seen in my energy levels, the way I moved or what exercise I was able for that week. Luke wasn’t overly concerned about the scales so I wasn’t. Sometimes he weighed me, sometimes not. For the first time I was made feel that success was more than a number of the scale and I could tell if I was making progress or not by how I felt.

Luke was that person for me – knows exactly what he is at, genuinely interested and invested and making suggestions and adaptations constantly for me.


It’s really hard to start especially when you have a mountain to climb. I didn’t tell anyone I’d started this for ages for fear they would laugh but this time around what I was doing was different. I’d an expert in my corner. Luke was on my team – pushing when he needed to, giving home truths and a kick up the arse when it was needed too but ALWAYS supportive and totally invested in my success. It isn’t all smooth sailing – some days and weeks are harder than others. I make mistakes, fall short, my motivation peaks and drops, some days I’m better than others but I worked harder at this than anything else I’ve tried before. I have loads more work to do but overall it has been one of the most positive experiences of my life.

Yes, I’ve lost weight and that’s brilliant but it is SO much more than that. I’m the same person I always was but I cannot describe how differently I feel going about my everyday life. When I look at pictures of myself I’m still really shocked of what we’ve achieved so far- it still feels very new. What I’ve experienced is that … move, eat right, sleep etc. can’t be argued with but the real difference is working with someone who watches HOW you move, looks at WHAT you are eating and asks HOW you are getting on. Luke was that person for me – knows exactly what he is at, genuinely interested and invested and making suggestions and adaptations constantly for me. I cannot speak highly enough about him, the support he continues to give and the difference he has made. I’ll be forever grateful.


** PS. Just a little note: For anyone like me who was worried about going into a gym and the thought of it is scary I wanted to share this. Walking into a gym is hard. In my head I thought it would be jam packed with naturally fit people who would snigger at my efforts. I was SO wrong. What I know now is people who look fit are fit because they TRAIN! 99.9% of people in the gym are there to push themselves. People are not just standing around – they are recovering from the weight they’ve just lifted or the treadmill they just stepped off. They are not checking themselves out in the mirror – they are making sure they are moving properly. No one is looking. Everyone I’ve met has been lovely and people I don’t know have given me encouragement. If you feel intimidated or uncomfortable you are in the wrong place with the wrong people– find a better trainer, join another gym.