The joint Shetland Recreational Trust/Shetland Times Get Fit programme is now almost into its fourth month out of six and the participants, according to trust health and fitness manager Diane Leyland, are making huge strides in changing their levels of activity and lifestyles.
Seven candidates volunteered to undergo a training programme, supervised by their own specially appointed SRT fitness adviser. They all now meet with their trainer at least once a week.
Diane said: “This was the first step on the road to improving their lives and general wellbeing which could make a dramatic difference to their lifestyle habits. “During the past two months our focus has not been primarily on weight loss but on delivering a sustainable fitness plan.
“All the signs are positive. We can report steady progress in our candidates and have been delighted by the enthusiasm and dedication they have shown.
“You may be starting to spot our ‘gang’ out and about now the weather is better. The chains have been oiled on bikes once hidden at the back of the shed, new ones have been purchased … peddle power is back!
“The miles are also being clocked up with some impressive power walking and steady jogging sessions. Well done to you all – keep it going!”
Below, the participants give us their version of how they are getting on.
Gordon Williamson said one of his motivations had been to lose weight so he could compete in horse riding events and while he hasn’t noticed a huge difference in his appearance, his health and fitness have definitely improved. He said he was “loving every minute of it”.
Mr Williamson said: “Eight weeks ago there’s no way I could have done the triathlon at all, I couldn’t have run or cycled that. I’ve gotten to the stage where I’m quite looking forward to going to the training.
“The event was well organised, everyone was very friendly and encouraging. My biggest problem is finding the time to do it; there’s not a lot of free time at the moment as we’re [the business] is understaffed. But the exercise side of things is going okay.
“It’s progressing in the right direction. I’m quite enjoying it, everybody at the Clickimin is very encouraging, they’re all very helpful.”
He took part in the triathlon in Sandwick recently and although his time was admittedly slow, he is enjoying the training immensely and is planning to take part in another longer event in two week’s time.
“I’m learning the front crawl from scratch which is taking a bit of time but it’s been very lightsome so far.”
Graham McAllister has been working out with fitness partner Tam Rowley. They have been fitting in three sessions of fitness and one gym session every week and the results are paying off.
Graham said: “I’ve lost weight and my cholesterol has come down so it’s going in the right direction. It’s going a lot slower than I thought, but that’s the way it has been designed.
“The highs are obviously getting weighed in and realising you’ve done well, the low comes after the weekend when you’ve been out somewhere and you’ve put it back on again!
“But we’re on target; I’m happy. There have been more highs than lows so hopefully we’ll be able to keep going and reach our goals at the end of it.”
Tam said he has been really enjoying the challenge and has noticed a difference already. “I’m getting on great, I’m really enjoying it. I’ve lost weight and definitely feel the difference in my body shape and trouser size. My energy levels are up as well.
“People that I’ve not seen in a few weeks or so will come up and comment on the difference in me, which is really encouraging, it gives you a bit of motivation.”
He also has a lot of praise for the facilities at the Clickimin. He said: “The staff are brilliant. I’d advise anyone who wants to go and get a programme to do it, that staff are willing to hep and that’s what they’re there to do.
“Karen Craigie has been fantastic, with me especially. She really spurs you on and takes command and manages you well, she does more than she’s asked to do, I think, and it’s a real help.”
Elaine Jamieson has been concentrating on running and has been building up steadily to an impressive 14 miles a week. She said she has been thoroughly enjoying it, although a persistent cold has meant she has had to take some time off, which she has found frustrating.
“It’s been going really well, we’ve been doing two shorter runs and one long run a week. The company has been key,” she said.
“Janice has come with a structured running plan which should take me up to the marathon in Glasgow in September.
“I’ve had to pull back though due to my third cold since February – anybody with a cold stay miles out of my way! It’s frustrating when you know you can run X amount … but it’s essential to rest.”
Although she said she hasn’t lost any noticeable amount of weight, this wasn’t her main goal and her fitness has definitely improved.
“I’m a bit more toned and generally feel good. I’m really enjoying it. [Running] isn’t easy but you have to remember how good it feels when you finish – especially a long run.”
One downside Elaine has found, besides uneven hills, is the lack of care drivers take when approaching runners in the country.
“I would ask drivers to think about runners, especially when overtaking. The majority are brilliant but there have been a few scary moments.”
Terry Wlliamson has been concentrating on the gym and on walking the Spiggie fun-run route, which he lives close to.
He has noticed a definite improvement in his energy levels and is very positive about his progress.
“I’m really enjoying it,” he said. “I’ve lost a bit of weight and the difference to my fitness levels is probably the biggest change. I play a bit of golf and I noticed going round the course is so much easier than it used to be.”
Although there are ups and downs, Terry said on the whole staying positive about getting fit is the key.
“I’m enjoying the whole lot, I’m quite surprised. Sometimes you maybe don’t feel like training but if you just get up and go you feel glad that you’ve gone.”
He also had a lot of praise for the Clickimin: “The staff in the centre are excellent, they’re really good at encouraging you and they change the programmes so you don’t get bored.”
Susan Anderson’s fitness has also greatly improved and she is now walking 12 miles a week.
She said: “It’s been really good, my body fat has reduced and I’m definitely a bit fitter and more active generally, even away from the Clickimin.
“I’m just a lot more willing to be active. I have a programme at the gym and I’ve been doing the studio gym, studio fit and spinning classes.”
Testament to her new healthy outlook, Susan is taking part in the Moonwalk in Edinburgh on the 20th June. “I’m doing it with my sister-in-law, who lives in Edinburgh, and her mother, who is in her 60s.”
The Moonwalk is a sponsored half marathon walk which takes place at night to raise funds for Breast Cancer. Susan is looking for sponsors, and if anyone would like to help, they can email her at email@example.com.
She has also tried some of the “relax and revive” classes in the mornings and has started running with personal trainer Jake.
Susan said the only low point was taking time out after a relative died.
“A high point has been able to walk 12 miles and not feel knackered!” She said. “Ertie [Burgess] came with me on a walk, I tried to run to keep up with him but he’s too fit for me.
“I’ve been really enjoying it. Finding the time is the only difficult bit, trying to fit it around your work. But it’s been really good and I’m really glad I was picked.”
Catriona Campbell is the youngest of the group and has been thoroughly enjoying her fitness programme so far despite being set back by illness.
She said: “I don’t have as much progress to report as I would like as I was knocked out of training over a week with food poisoning [which was] not much fun at all.”
Catriona said she has now fully recovered however and recently completed her first 10k run, which she said was “amazing”.
She said: “It felt brilliant. I didn’t find it a struggle at all which has really given me a confidence boost with regards to my fitness – I could only run for about 20 minutes on the treadmill when I began the programme so being able to run for an hour is a vast improvement.”
Mainly concentrating on running and trying to build up her stamina, Catriona has also been in the gym and hopes to do some more spinning. Marianne Hughson has taken over from David as her trainer, and has written up a running programme which Catriona said is “fab”.
She said: “I’m really enjoying being able to complete my longer runs, it’s a great sense of accomplishment.”
Although she hasn’t lost any noticeable weight, Catriona said this was never an issue for her: “My goal with this programme was never really weight related, but I have noticed changes in my physique – more so gaining muscle than losing lots of weight. Overall I feel great – full of energy and really strong.”
Interviews by Louise Thomason