For most of my working life, I worked as a nurse (SRN). I trained and did my medical and surgical staffing jobs in Oxford. On joining the army as a nursing officer I served in Aldershot, Hong Kong, Nepal and Woolwich. where I worked on a variety of wards and ended up running the ITU in Woolwich, having chosen this as a speciality and been seconded to Guys hospital for further training.
On moving to Crawley I spent a brief time as night sister at Crawley Hospital before moving into General Practice. Over the years I worked at several surgeries (Ifield Furnace Green and Southgate) I have specialist nursing qualifications in Asthma, Diabetes and Coronary heart disease. So I have a pretty good idea of how the body works and peoples medical conditions. I took a career break to follow my passion and qualify as a gym instructor, personal trainer and sports massage therapist. The sports massage training taught me access to some useful techniques which I integrate into my classes, some of you will have experienced my evil thumbs! Unlike most fitness professionals I am also qualified to work with older people and in pre and post natal exercise. I have taught a wide range of types of exercise since my career change – Body Pump, Body Combat, Body Balance, Yoga, Spin, Circuit Training, Aqua even aerobics very briefly. That gives me a lot of experience to draw on. Early on in my fitness career, I decided to train in Pilates, as someone pointed out I would have a longer shelf life, which has proved to be true.
I was trained in Clinical Pilates by Pilates Training Solutions, One of my tutors was an Osteopath. She and her colleague had carefully looked at the original exercises created all those years ago and questioned the safety of some. They taught us to adapt exercises particularly for people with back problems. I went on to complete a specialist qualification in exercise for people with lower back problems and was mentored by a local osteopath with whom I still have a connection. She feels the work I do is a good follow up for her clients and reduces their visits to her.
Teaching, sometimes over 20 full on classes, a week took its toll on me. I became a chronic back pain sufferer myself. I was a regular attendee at the Osteopaths and through receiving treatment (and asking a lot of questions) learned how to manage my own back and picked up tips to integrate into my classes. I was encouraged to move my classes out of the gym environment. In the gyms, Pilates classes can be very large. Until recently I taught at one gym and it was rare for a class to have less than 45 people in it and on occasions over 50! The osteopaths I worked with are wanted smaller classes to refer their clients to. My reputation has spread and I now get referrals from several Osteopathic and physiotherapy clinics in the town.
I love going on courses. I find the body a fascinating thing. On top of my original training, I have attended a workshop on Anatomy in Motion and completed a course in ‘imovefreely’ also Postural and Corrective exercise. The Be Activated course showed how to reboot the body and if I ask you to massage your cheeks to release your hamstrings or rub the back of your neck to fire up your buttocks, that is where that comes from! Training in Trigger Point Pilates Teacher massively impacted on my class format. I was so impressed with how these techniques released the body. This incorporates myofascial and trigger point release methods. My class members are really noticing a difference in the way they feel after class. I’d used spiky balls for a while but the foam rollers were a new toy to play with and some say lying on one of those is the best bit of the class! Last year I did an add-on course with my tutor, called ‘Lets Vibrate’ and you will notice how I will use the pulseroll and pulseball on people from time to time and several of you have bought your own.
Having been a weekly attendee at the osteopaths in the past I now just book in for a tune up a few times a year.
I love helping people and get a real joy from seeing the progress people make in such a short time using the method of exercise I have developed. I also believe that exercise should be fun and so the classes are light-hearted and – I’m told – enjoyable.