Success for get-fitters as challenge ends
When we first embarked on the Get Fit for the Future with SRT and The Shetland Times project, we had one focal point – change.
Magazines and infomercials make it seem effortless. Being fit and losing weight takes hard work and that often means changing different aspects of your life, like how you spend your time, how you schedule your day and how and what you eat. The seven day quick fix does not exist; the reality is everything needs to change.
It may seem like changing your lifestyle is a simple goal – do some exercise, control your diet and voila! But, if it were that simple, we’d be out of jobs!
The reason lifestyle is so important is because how you live determines your choices and these choices decide how healthy you are and whether you’re on the right road.
Now, at the end of our six month project, we have seven people who have achieved their goals. It has not been easy, there have been days when heads have gone down and trainers have been kicked to one side. But those have just been “days”; we all have those.
The knowledge, drive and professionalism of the fitness advisers has been the springboard to the level of this success.
The seven Get Fit Boot Camp members have put in the hard work and have let us into their lives, made their personal information public and set out on a journey to a healthier life: their life.
Over the past six months I’ve had on various occasions memorable reasons to smile to myself while observing some of the action: Catriona jogging down past Dale Golf Course on a bright sunny Saturday morning; Elaine out with her pals on various occasions running around the toon; Susan with her headphones firmly in her ears, coming down Sound Brae, taking the road in front of her; Graham overtaking me during the Spiggie walk!
By chance seeing Gordon strutting up the Grassmarket in Edinburgh after participating in the Town Ride (his goal was to be fitter so as to do more riding); Tam’s look of horror every time I arrived to participate in the same studio class as him (“spying!”) and Terry on the rowing machine who managed to take one hand off to wave along with a very broad smile.
Last week he told me: “Diane, it has changed my life.” He added, pointing to his wife Marilyn while leading her also to the gym: “Wir life.”
Huge congratulations on your success – you are all winners. It just remains for the actual winner to be chosen. We believe that should be up to you, the readers, to decide. Read about the members below and then fill in the coupon in this week’s Shetland Times and send it back to me. The winner will be the one with the most public votes.
Susan said the challenge had made a lasting change to her life as she plans to continue with the exercise she has been doing. “I get mad with myself now if I don’t do something. I definitely feel fitter, I’m going to keep it up.” She said she would like to thank her family and friends for their support.
Her trainer Jake Williams said: “When Susan was selected for the Fit Club she undertook a weekly training programme that included lots of aerobic exercise and that built, week by week, on the amount and the intensity of cardiovascular activity.
“I suggested to Susan that brisk walking or slow jogging was a great way to burn off lots of calories (approximately 100 calories per mile) and build up her fitness in a sustainable way.
“Since March, Susan’s body composition has changed markedly: her body fat level has dropped by 17.5 pounds, her body fat has decreased by 5.8 per cent and her lean muscle mass has increased by 8.5 pounds. “Susan has also reported that her clothes are looser and that she feels stronger, faster, more confident and less self-conscious when exercising than before.
“I’m convinced that Susan has now established a successful training routine and will continue to make progress towards her longer-term goals and, having taken on the sponsored Moonwalk in Edinburgh earlier this year, has already set her sights on bigger challenges in 2010.”
Elaine’s experience, while positive, has been marred by ongoing illness meaning she hasn’t achieved as much as she would have hoped. However she still ran the 10k Spiggie Mind Your Head run in August, which she admitted was “harder than I expected” but said that the support of the fitness advisors at the Clickimin was one of the best things about the challenge.
Elaine said: “I’m hoping to keep running and keep in contact with the Clickimin staff. Getting expert advice and encouragement has been a positive experience. I’ve never been a runner but if I can do it, anyone can do it.”
Her trainer Janice Hamer said: “When Elaine started on this programme her goals were to increase fitness levels, improve health, increase muscle tone and ultimately run a marathon.
“Elaine has proved that she is capable of running distances up to 12k and realises that in the future, when time allows, she has the ability and mindset to be able to achieve that long-term goal of a marathon. Therefore, I believe this to be the greatest achievement.
“It has been a pleasure working with Elaine over these months. I have enjoyed having the opportunity to advise on training for running 10k, half marathon and marathon distances, being able to apply my own experiences of participating in races over these distances.”
Graham said he had done fantastically with his regime and reckons the experience has changed his life for the better: “It’s been no too bad. My goal was to go from morbidly obese to normal obese, which I’ve achieved! I’d like to say a big thank you to Karen, and to Tam for the support, he’s been a good partner to have and we’ve kept each other motivated.”
His trainer Karen Craigie said: “Graham’s main motivation for joining the program was to lose his ‘belly’ and start to feel more energised, less tired and able to cope with the demands of general daily life.
“The first four months of the program saw Graham steadily lose body fat and reduce his waist measurement by four inches. He attended spinning and circuit classes as well as playing golf and using Apex Fitness Centre.
“It is widely recognised that lifestyle habits reflect on others and having an active, healthy lifestyle will set an example. This, alone, should be a great motivation for Graham to keep following his goals and go from strength to strength. Having gotten to know Graham well over the last six months, watched his determination and commitment, I have no doubt that he will be able to achieve anything he sets his mind to.”
Graham’s fitness partner Tam Rowley said he also plans to maintain his new healthy lifestyle, and said the support both he and Graham received from their personal instructor had been brilliant: “I have to praise Karen Craigie, she’s been fantastic and has put more time and effort into me and Graham than she really needed to.”
Karen said of Tam: “At the start of our six month fitness campaign, Tam was overweight, unfit, lethargic and was feeling quite fed up with himself.
“He was beginning to realise that he had to make major changes to his diet and lifestyle or he could end up having serious health problems. His waist band was ever increasing and the thought of going up another size was enough to make him realise enough was enough.
“The whole point of the program is to give people the knowledge, guidance and motivation to empower them to make the right lifestyle choices to enable them to implement change.
“Tam has whole-heartedly embraced this and is making real inroads to improve his health and diet choices. He realises this opportunity is only the starting point for him and he now has the skills and knowledge to be able to go forward with his goals and with the realistic belief that he can achieve them.”
Catriona has also had problems with colds, but has still gained a lot from the fitness challenge. She said: “The whole thing has been brilliant but the last two weeks I’ve been laid by with a cold which then turned into a chest infection. But I’m going to carry on with the running, for sure.” Her goals had been to improve her attitude towards health and fitness, after years at dance college had left her with a negative outlook and lack of motivation.
Her trainer Marianne Hughson said: “When Catriona first began the Get Fit programme she was lacking in motivation and like many of us, her confidence was in need of a boost. Six months on, Catriona has now found jogging and is aiming for completing a half marathon some time soon.
“Her energy levels have soared and her results from her first fitness test on the treadmill have improved quite dramatically. In March Catriona’s VO2 Max result was 40.5; it now comes out at 46.8. Most importantly of all for Catriona is that she now has a healthier lifestyle and a more positive outlook on life due to the changes she has made. For the first time since dance college in 2007 she views healthy eating and exercise in a positive way.
“Setting small goals along the way while working towards larger goals works well for most people.
I hope that Catriona continues to keep up the exercise in the future.”
Getting around the Spiggie Fun Run in an hour and a half had been Terry Williamson’s only goal and he managed to do it in one hour 23 minutes. Terry said the difference between his fitness now compared to when he first began was “chalk and cheese”.
He said there was no real downside to the exercise programme, other than some days he found it difficult to be motivated about starting training due to being tired or having been up late the night before.
However Terry said it had changed the way he thought about health and fitness in general. “Although this is the end of the training programme, it’s really just the beginning, I’m just getting started. I fully intend to keep [this] going.”
His trainer Jennifer Thomson said: “Six months have passed and now three stone lighter, Terry has surpassed my expectations.
“His final statistics show that his fat mass has dropped from 10st 8.5lbs to 7st 5lbs, a total loss of 3st 3.5lbs in fat alone, which has resulted in his body fat percentage decreasing from 43.4 per cent to 33.1 per cent. “To measure his fitness level I have been testing Terry’s oxygen consumption level by carrying out a VO2 submax test on the treadmill every month. The first result gave a reading of 16.5 ml/kg/min, indicating a very poor level of fitness, however, his reading has now more than doubled to 37.5 ml/kg/min, signifying a good level of fitness.
“Throughout the fitness campaign, it is not only physical changes Terry has experienced but also psychological. His confidence with regards to exercise has grown immensely as demonstrated through his ever improving running ability.
“Terry’s health has improved so much that he has been discharged from a programme at hospital which he had been attending since 2003 to manage his weight.
“Taking pills to manage his high blood pressure was among the treatment he received, however his progress in the last six months has been such that he will no longer have to attend the programme.
“The hospital has also taken great interest in the programme and are using Terry as a case study to exemplify to their other patients the difference that exercise makes to your health.”
Gordon said he is also feeling “100 per cent better” compared to six months ago and said of the programme: “I couldn’t fault it. It’s been a great fun, the staff at the Clickimin coudn’t have been more helpful.”
Mr Williamson said he’d also like to thank The Shetland Times for the coverage, which he said had encouraged people to find out about the project, and to his trainer Marianne Hughson.
Trainer Marianne said: “Gordon has come an incredibly long way since the beginning of the Get Fit boot camp.
“On Gordon’s application form he wrote that he would like to lose one and a half stone, compete locally and in Orkney at show jumping and complete a triathlon. Quite a lot considering that he also wrote on the same application form that he currently did no structured exercise and that he spent most of his time sitting on his bum (his words not mine!).
“A recent trip to Edinburgh for the revival of the Edinburgh Riding of the Marches was a highlight on the equestrian calendar for Gordon. He and four other riders represented Shetland.
“The ride with over 250 horses and riders and eight hours of riding from galloping over countryside to riding up the Edinburgh Royal Mile truly tested his fitness. Gordon’s weight has gone from 12st 11lbs to 11st 11.5lbs; his body fat percentage has decreased from 27 per cent to 22.2 per cent; his fat mass has fallen from 3st 6.5lbs to 2st 9lbs and his BMI (body mass index) has also been reduced, from 27.2, which is overweight, to 25.2.
“All I can say is well done Gordon, you have greatly improved your fitness levels and most importantly your health.”