As I think you know I spent the majority of my working life as a nurse. I trained and staffed in Oxford before spending 5 years as a nursing officer in the army, serving in Aldershot, Hong Kong, Nepal and Woolwich where I was sister in charge of the Intensive care Unit.
I left on marriage as was very common in those days as being posted abroad is not a good way to start a marriage. On moving to Crawley I spent a brief time as night sister at Crawley Hospital before moving into General Practice. I worked at Ifield Surgery, Furnace Green Surgery and after taking time out to qualify as a gym instructor, personal trainer and sports massage therapist, joined Southgate Surgery for a few years. I have specialist nursing qualifications in Asthma, Diabetes and Coronary heart disease and of course Intensive care Nursing and became a specialist practitioner in General Practice.
So I have a pretty good idea of how the body works and peoples medical conditions. My sports massage training taught me access to some useful techniques which I integrate into my classes. I am also qualified to work with older people and in pre and post natal exercise. Having trained in my late forties and being told I’d never make it as an instructor was a red rag to a bull and I went on to prove those people wrong. I have taught a wide range of types of exercise classes – Body Pump, Body Combat, Body Balance, Yoga, Spin, Circuit Training, Aqua even aerobics very briefly. Of those qualifications, Exercise to Music (aerobics) and Body Combat was the most challenging to gain but I stuck at it and got there in the end. 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. I was trained in Clinical Pilates by Pilates Training Solutions http://www.pilatestrainingsolutions.co.uk/index.html One of my tutors was an Osteopath and so she and her colleague had carefully looked at the original exercises created all those years ago and questioned the safety of some. We learned 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 Sam McInerney a local osteopath and now a close friend.
Sam gave me extra tuition and allowed me to watch her work. As 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. It was Sam that encouraged me to move out of the gym environment and set up my own classes. She was aware that in many gyms Pilates classes are very large and she wanted smaller classes to refer her clients to. My reputation has spread and I now get referrals from several Osteopathic clinics in the town. I still work closely with Sam (who has clinics in Crawley and Lancing) and today’s testimonial is from David Such who works out of his clinic at K2 Crawley.
I love going to 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 slap your inner thighs and rub your back before an ab exercise that is where that comes from.
A few years ago now I saw Trigger Point Pilates Teacher Training advertised (I was on one of the first ever courses to be run). I liked the whole concept as I was already playing a bit with spiky balls (though it was really hard ones then and I know better now) and was hands-on with some clients releasing Trigger Points. I’ll write a bit more about it next week It really changed the way I teach in my community classes. This incorporates myofacial and trigger point release methods. My class members have really noted a difference in the way they feel after class. Some say lying on the foam rollers is one of the best bit of the class and have bought their own!
I still see an osteopath from time to time though my back rarely bothers me now and these days it’s for more of a tune-up! I think most of us would benefit from that occasionally.
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. I love the community my classes has developed.
I have signed a four-year service plan for my car with a garage in Crawley so you have got me for at least another four years. I love what I do and the difference it makes to people and even though the calendar suggests retirement is on the horizon. I’ve always been young for my age so I’ll ignore that fact for a while.