Client case study – Lizzie’s focus on strength over scales
The final blog post in my series looking at a few of my clients’ journeys and how Personal Training has helped them is all about Lizzie, or as I have come to know her due to her enthusiastic response whenever I explain what we are going to do in the session ‘Let’s do this Lizzie!’.
Lizzie explains more about living with Crohns disease in her own words below and how this has impacted her diet and activity levels over the years. I believe Lizzie is a huge source of inspiration for anyone living with a chronic illness or condition who may feel like because of this exercise is not something which is achievable. Lizzie’s story shows that whatever your starting point and however much you feel like you don’t ‘do’ exercise, exercise really is for everyone.
The Goals and Programme
Lizzie got in touch with me in early autumn last year explaining that following on from a series of operations she was now wanting to focus on getting stronger. This was Lizzie’s key goal and we agreed we would work towards this through a programme which includes resistance training and muscular endurance focussed circuit training, meeting twice a week.
I love Lizzie’s approach to focussing on strength rather than obsessing about the scales and there is no doubt her resistance training programme is bringing about great improvements in her strength. We have also worked on improving Lizzie’s core control and balance which was lacking as a result of her operations. Also, Lizzie has demonstrated through her circuit training sessions that her general fitness and energy levels have also come on leaps and bounds and this is something which has carried over to her everyday life activities including walking, chasing after her two spaniels, kayaking, paddle boarding and running several businesses!
Here is Lizzie’s story in her own words….
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when I was 16. The following 20 years saw my weight yoyoing with courses of steroids, operations and hospital stays all putting a stop to my diets. I tried Weight Watchers, Slimming World and I even remember doing to the Rosemary Connelly 28-day diet. However, all those years of being focussed on the scales had proven to not be the best way forward.
Almost two years ago to the day I underwent three major operations which left me with a permanent colostomy. This means ‘normal’ diets aren’t suitable for me as eating high fibre foods is not an option, so most vegetables are off the menu for me.
After my operations I started to realise that having a colostomy was giving me a new lease of life. During the first Covid lockdown we invested in a kayak which was a game changer. It was something I wouldn’t have been able to do before my operation as even a simple thing like going for a walk was not even possible at that time.
I started to find that being more active was giving me a whole new outlook on life and I was now feeling like I could try new things.
When the inevitable pounds started piling on through the Covid restrictions (and my love of food) I made a decision that I needed to do something about it.
I started looking for a Personal Trainer.
I knew going to the gym wasn’t going to work for me. I had tried this before and felt really uncomfortable with exercising in public. I wanted to find a PT that would help strengthen me. I had spent so long not lifting etc to prevent pain following my operations that I felt weak.
That’s when I found Tamsin!
Tamsin came to meet me and we talked about my health history and my goals. I was very clear my priority was about getting stronger. I didn’t want to focus on weight loss. I felt that if I was getting stronger the weight loss would follow.
Our first few sessions were at my home until another lockdown prevented that and now we workout in the great outdoors! We meet twice a week and I am also exercising between sessions, I have particularly found that I really enjoy walking.
Within the first few weeks I started to feel great. I felt stronger. My jeans didn’t feel as tight and I had a spring in my step. We laugh constantly about my lack of co-ordination, though Tamsin assures me this is another area where I am improving! When Tamsin says ‘left’ my instinct is to go right, if she says raise your arm I raise my leg! But Tamsin’s calm, kind and encouraging personality has been amazing for me!
It has been hard work and I have to be honest that I do really struggle with cardio but the weird thing is that afterwards I seem to have more of a sense of achievement following these sessions. In these moments of dread I seem to have found a standard line ‘let’s do this’ and somehow that seems to work!
There is no doubt that my PT sessions have had a huge positive impact on me!
Thank you Tamsin!