Introducing Theresa, November 2020 client of the month.
Theresa and her wonderful family, 2 cats and Jake the Whippet moved to the UK in the summer from Greece. Juggling re-schooling two children, supporting her husband Francesco with his work and the stress of moving during the covid-19 pandemic has had it’s tolls.
But after 2 months, everything was organised. This is testament to Theresa’s tenaciousness and character. Determination, commitment and drive to completion. Precursors for a future client of the month.
The family are now settled in Bath. They all follow a plant based lifestyle and Theresa holds a certificate in plant based nutrition from Cornell University.
Together with her qualification, Theresa has her own blog where plant based recipes are uploaded. Here she shares her passion for delicious, elegant, wholesome cruelty free healthy food. Theresa is currently writing her first cookbook and having been the recipient of her mouth-watering homemade snacks, I cannot wait to order the cookbook.
However, the most challenging time of her life has been over the last three years. Theresa recently recovered from a very rare cancer caused by a virus. She underwent radical chemoradiation treatment which was extremely challenging but produced fantastic results.
But one of the side effects was an induced menopause which has its own challenges. After 18 months of treatments and recovery, she is starting ‘to feel human again’.
As a proactive woman, she sought to find answers on how to reduce the chance of reoccurrence of the cancer. Her oncologist remarked that her ‘diet is perfect, but aim to become fitter than you have ever been in your life’. These words resonated with Theresa and she concentrated her efforts on fitness.
Activity had never really been an issue in the past. Her love of dance supported by years of ballet training, walking, running, yoga, horse riding, tennis and more helped Theresa tap into fitness reserves.
Theresa wanted someone to supervise her fitness regime after cancer. The radical treatment had left Theresa tired and physically weak. She needed reassurance that the training she was embarking on was both safe and effective.
In August 2020, her husband contacted me to discuss a plan to rebuild Theresa’s fitness and strength. It was apparent that Theresa was exhausted from the battle with cancer but motivated to become healthier. And that determination and motivation catapulted her to win client of the month in only 4 months.
I introduced a plan to slowly build Theresa’s strength so she could train with more frequency and intensity. .
This part of the programme was to last several months. At first we started with bodyweight exercises. Push-ups on knees, TRX squats, TRX rows, lunges, presses, medicine and ball slams plus lots and lots of core. With each session, Theresa’s capacity for more exercise increased. It wasn’t long before we moved into dumbbell and kettlebell exercises.
The softly softly catchee Monkey as the old English proverb goes always works. By taking our time with the programme, we ensured that the journey back to fitness and strength was measurable, safe, achievable and effective. The last thing Theresa needed was an injury to halt her progress.
After several weeks of dumbbell and kettlebell training, Theresa started deadlifting and squatting with barbells. These are first class lifts for any resistance exercise programme and fundamental to strength improvements.
As a result of her efforts, it was time to move safely to cardiovascular exercise and in Theresa’s case, skipping and running.
The natural progression of the plan was to start cardio work to build and strengthen Theresa’s heart, improve her cholesterol, reduce cortisol (stress) levels, lower her blood pressure, improve her sleep, improve self-esteem and lower her weight.
So every other session, we slipped on our off-road running shoes and headed for the muddy hills of Bath. And she’s moving. At first, we ran a little, walked a little. But the runs are getting longer and the hills steeper. Very impressive!
However, without the strength training, running would have led to muscle imbalances, tight and overstretched muscles, overworked tendons and ligaments and ultimately injury.
So many times I see enthusiastic beginners hit the roads in January without any strength and conditioning training only to spend weeks and months recovering from injuries. That’s why we always lift first to ensure good mobility, flexibility and strength.
Today, Theresa feels strong, healthy and full of energy. “I still have a way to go, as the menopause has contributed to weight gain, which I want to lose. I am however not worried, Because I have Tony by my side. Most importantly, I gained a true friend. Working with him has been life changing for me. I will be forever grateful. And I hope we keep training for as long as I breathe. A huge thank you”.
And I am equally thankful to Theresa for allowing me to do what I love doing. Helping people to become fit, healthy and happy in a safe way.
Now that Theresa is stronger and fitter, we will tackle the issue of body weight composition. This is the hardest part of the plan. I must trust my clients to eat healthy natural foods. With Theresa, I have no doubt that she is eating healthy.
In addition, Theresa already follows intermittent fasting. Something I believe adds to health and well-being and have followed daily for many years..
However, as every parent knows, children like snacking on sugary carbohydrate foods and that means sometimes we indulge too. Plus, portion control is critical and limiting desserts to weekly one-offs instead of daily treats. Breaking these habitual traps is hard, especially with Christmas approaching.
In addition, Theresa is on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) after the cancer which led to early menopause. This may have an additional impact on her rate of weight loss. But 2021 will be Theresa’s year and she will succeed.
YEAR 2 ALL CLEAR
And more good news in early November. Theresa was given her 2 year all clear from cancer. A relief to Theresa, her family and all her friends.
We are on a journey to give Theresa back her life. She has fought hard to stay healthy and recover from a terrible disease. Plus, let’s not forget the relocation during a pandemic, supporting her children and husband and setting up a new home. Theresa is contagiously happy and enthusiastic and has a determination to fully live her life again.
An inspiration to her family, friends and her personal trainer. Theresa is the unanimous November 2020 client of the month. I believe we will be revisiting Theresa’s success as a future client of the month!