Ness’ Story – Getting to Awesome!

We call ourselves Be Awesome Mind and Body, but what does that actually mean?  Well I suppose it very much depends on your own definition of Being Awesome doesn’t it?

Perhaps I can best explain what Being Awesome means to me by telling you my personal story. By describing my own journey to today, how I got to start this company, and what Being Awesome really means to me.  More importantly perhaps, I want to show you how my story might just relate to where you are now, and how you are also so close to Being Awesome.

In January 2013 I was a Detective Constable in a UK Police force.  I worked long and often very stressful shifts and more often than not I ate on the run, if at all.  I didn’t make time for exercise or anything particularly active, instead to de-stress I would pop out to the local pub for a few drinks followed by a takeaway.  So I guess the most exercise I got was to lift a pint glass to my mouth and reach for the phone!  At that moment in time, back in January 2013, I had reached a whopping 16 stones, more than 101kgs and a UK dress size of 20/22.  For someone who stands some five feet six inches (167 cms), it was not the most elegant look in the world!

On my journey to 101kgs

So what was so significant about January 2013?  Well, New Year’s resolutions came around as they always do, only this time I was determined that they wouldn’t fade away in the weeks following.  In fairness, it wasn’t the first time I’d looked in the mirror only to find that I really didn’t like what I saw.  I knew full well that I was getting bigger and bigger and had already stopped looking in full length mirrors.  But this was different, this time it was the moment I decided to take ownership of my body.  This was the moment I decided to change, a personal awakening if you will. 

Initially it started out like any other January resolution I guess.  I had lots of enthusiasm and determination to change, but I set out with nothing but good old willpower.  I pledged not to drink alcohol for the whole month, I would go back to the gym (again!), cut out the fast food, and try and eat healthily (whatever that meant to me at that stage in my journey)

Then came the one thing that changed everything.  Perhaps the one thing I had been missing in my quest to be slim again – and something that turned out to be the perfect solution for me.  Now I had heard and read lots about fad diets, slimming clubs, bootcamps etc., but hadn’t found anything that motivated me to have a go.  Then I happened to stumble upon a Facebook advert for a local guy who was offering his version of bootcamp, (which as it turns out, wasn’t bootcamp at all really), and I decided to give it a go – and how lucky was I?

I’ll let you into another little secret here, I’m an introvert.  I really don’t relish the thought of joining a roomful of strangers in a situation where I am required to interact.  In fact if I am absolutely honest, the thought fills me with dread.  PARTICULARLY when I don’t feel so great about myself to begin with.  Well, I gave myself a “suck it up princess” pep talk and I signed up.  Start date, 7th January 2013.

As the date approached, I had all sorts of visions of what I would encounter there.  Lithe gods and goddesses in figure hugging Lycra, flexing their muscles and skipping effortlessly around the room, barely getting out of breath let alone breaking a sweat.  I compared that to my self-image, of being so conspicuous in baggy joggers and top, trying not to have a coronary, whilst mopping-up pools of sweat from the floor at every turn.  Almost enough to make me decide not to bother going at all, but thank goodness I did.

Turns out, I wasn’t the only newbie with those fears and reservations, even better than that, they were totally unfounded.  The instructor wasn’t a beefcake with rippling muscles and bronzed skin, in fact he was a really ordinary guy who just looked after himself.  He greeted me with a smile and a few friendly words.  The rest of the group there that first night was predominantly other women who also seemed to have their own body hang-ups judging by the variety of loose jogging bottoms and even looser-fitting hoodies and training tops!  There were a couple of middle-aged guys and a couple of athletic-looking women also, and actually they made up a pretty friendly and welcoming bunch.

So, in that first session I got very out of breath and I definitely got very, very, sweaty.  I didn’t paint a pretty picture – far from it actually - but it didn’t seem to matter to anyone else there.  So, I regularly attended three sessions a week, I discovered what Clean Eating actually was, and implemented the clean eating advice I had been given.  I did not allow even a single drop of alcohol to pass my lips - albeit only for the month of January (well a girl has to have a few guilty pleasures). 

And there began my epiphany.  I got to know a great bunch of people.  I began to get fit and to feel better about myself.  I started to look in full-length mirrors again.  I even started to train and run outside of these sessions (which would see me eventually take part in the Great South Run (10 miles) at the end of that year).

By the end of March 2013 I had lost 3 stones (19kgs) and by October of that year I had lost a total of 5 stones (almost 32kgs).  Aside from the obvious visible changes, I also felt so much fitter and more alive, I had more energy, I was happier, I could wear nice clothes again and I had gained confidence.  Perhaps most importantly, I felt comfortable with who I was and how I felt in my own skin.  Something I hadn’t really felt for such a long time.

Shortly afterwards my Instructor helped me to attend and pass a Fitness Instructor qualification in order that I could help him to teach the very classes I had begun to attend some twelve months before.

At that time he told me that he remembered the first time I walked into his session, I was wearing baggy shapeless clothes, my head was down and my hair fell across my face, demonstrating my absolute lack of self-confidence.  He then commented on the complete transformation that had taken place before his very eyes as he shook his head.

A year later I began my Personal Trainer Diploma and started to run my own classes for friends and colleagues, working around my day job.  That was when my husband, Shaun (a life coach himself), and I began formulating our plan to bring this concept of Being Awesome to Bordeaux.

So here we are, I am now fully qualified and we are following our dream to live and work in France.

I don’t always get it right and my weight still fluctuates from time to time, mainly because I love food and occasionally more alcohol than is good for me (and we do live in one of the premiere wine-producing regions of France!).  Well, I have never said that I am perfect; but I try to live my life in the most awesome way possible and, whatever happens, I will never return to 1st January 2013 again.

And on my way back down again!

I guess you’re wondering what all this might have to do with you?

Well, I want to be able to share what I was given with others, to pay it forward if you like.  I have adopted similar principles to those of my instructor, which I hope I have demonstrated are highly effective.

So my core product  - the Be Awesome Body group sessions -  are hour-long sessions, with roughly 45-50 minutes of actual exercise time, which combines cardio-vascular exercise with strength training.  We work in short bursts, for the most part six minute circuits comprising 50 seconds of work followed by 10secs of rest alternately.  You will most often work with a partner of a similar ability and the exercises are designed for you to work just as hard as you want to or are able to, allowing for injuries, current fitness levels, or other limitations.

You may find yourself in a pair of boxing gloves, sparring with your partner, but you could equally find yourself involved in some kind of team game, designed as much to make you giggle as to make you work.  Everything we do is coached and supervised by a fully qualified personal trainer and is therefore suitable for a complete beginner as much as for an experienced attendee.

So, your goal might be weight-loss, it might be to improve an already reasonable standard of fitness, train for an event, or even just to tone up.  It could be that you’re sick of getting out of breath running for a bus or after the kids, maybe it’s functional health, like flexibility and increased energy you’re after.  Whatever your goal, there is something here for everyone.

Along with the sessions themselves you will have access to a Facebook community to share tips & tricks, successes & fails.  I will also post clean eating tips, exercise ideas and other generally useful (and sometimes amusing!) information.  Shaun will also pitch in with ideas for your emotional health to keep you on your path to your most Awesome self.  We will also begin periodic monthly challenges to get your competitive juices flowing, it could be a ‘Biggest Loser’ style contest, or simply a ‘Most Awesome’ member of the month.  Whatever the challenge it will be designed specifically to suit the group.

We already have a group up and running at 18h00 on Mondays & Wednesdays in the Jardin Publique, in the heart of Bordeaux and there are still spaces available – AT THE EARLYBIRD DISCOUNTED RATE of 20%.  Drop me a message for more info and cost, either by email ness@beawesomemb.com, via our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BeAwesomeMB or by SMS 06 51 76 34 24.


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