This is Natasha, she's been coming for over five years now - read her story, in her words, right here...
In 2008 I was given the devastating news that my heart was failing (official diagnosis...cardiomyopathy). I was 26 with a beautiful two year old daughter! After processing the information being given to me that my heart was only pumping at 30% and that it was the only muscle in the body that couldn't fix itself, the only real option was a heart transplant.
I went into denial and thought there had to be another choice...something I could change or do. Whilst tests and treatments were trialled and continued, one thing stood out for me from a conversation with my cardiologist and that was that he said a change of lifestyle (I.E. start taking better care of myself) and light exercise could one day help in my battle. Those words really rang through and so my introduction to exercise and a healthier lifestyle began.....almost instantly my heart showed improvement and test upon test showed a gradual 1% increase in function and slowly the doctors considered there might be hope without the transplant.
My love for fitness and need to be heart healthy and strong grew and grew and I met Neal at fit4purpose in 2012. I explained my circumstances, thinking he would never allow me in his studio for fear of breaking me....quite the opposite happened...he took me under his wing and advised me and monitored me through a very long journey. The doctors finally ruled out a transplant and ALL heart surgery in fact 😁, and despite being told I was still fragile and my heart would never survive another traumatic pregnancy and labour, I had another beautiful baby girl in 2015! I trained with Neal the whole way through my pregnancy right up until 2 days before she was born and was back in the studio as soon as he'd allow it post c-section! I train with Neal 3 days a week at early bird bootcamp and I can honestly say he pushes me harder than I would ever push myself and I feel stronger and healthier than I have ever felt!
A very long 8 years after diagnosis, in Christmas of 2016, my cardiologist told me my heart function was on the low scale of 'normal'...in short terms, I'm fixed!! I honestly believe exercise saved my life! So would I recommend it? Without any hesitation! And will I ever give it up? Never! Why fit4purpose? because Neal cares who you are, why you are there and where you want to go....and he will push you beyond your limits to get you there! Needless to say, I have been lucky to have the love and support from my wonderful husband and two girls all the way through - I am a very lucky girl with a great team behind me!
If I can do it, you definitely can!!
Natasha - we salute you!!!
"In 2013 I weighed somewhere north of 23 stone (150kg) and was slowly…well, QUICKLY eating my way into a grave! Something had to give! I couldn’t play any kind of physical sports for any length of time without having a heart attack. I couldn’t walk my with my kids in the park without stopping to get my breath back and my clothes kept on getting bigger and bigger!
Quite literally on new years day 2014 I decided to make a change. That morning I went through our cupboards and emptied every sweet treat, snack, junk and processed food into the bin and vowed to myself to lose weight! I went completely nazi on everything with flour, carbs, sugar, or processed for a year!
The simple act of changing my diet meant that by the end of January I had lost nearly a stone! As the year progressed I kept on losing weight so that by the end of 2014 I had dropped down to the lightest Id been since primary school, 14 stone (89KG).
By August 2014 I was ready to enact the next phase of my journey, improved fitness! I’d go out running at night so that no one would see me! I did my first ever 5km parkrun and it took my 52 minutes to crawl around the course, which very nearly killed me! I then took up golf as another way of exercising and getting out and about the countryside!
Then in August 2015 I was introduced to Neal by a couple of golfers who were attending a golf fit session on Monday afternoons. This was like a lightbulb moment! I was hooked! I absolutely loved the Golf Fit sessions and as time went on I could see improvements in my golf game in distance and control and also improvements in myself. As the weight dropped and my strength improved my swing changed from a power slice to a gentle fade! I then started to visit some of the other classes and loved those too! Even getting up at silly o’clock in the morning to come to the boot camp sessions in the middle of winter was suddenly a done thing!
In 2016 I had issues with my knees that prevented me from running. One of the down sides of losing weight was changes in my gait which was causing excruciating pain in the knee caps. After discussing the issues with Neal he offered to talk to the consultant I was seeing about incorporating various exercises in to the classes to help with rehabilitation. After about 6 months of hard work with Neal I managed to get around the Cambridge Half marathon in a PB time of 2:02. While I won’t be setting any records anytime soon I really appreciated the time, effort and help from Neal that contributed to getting me back in love with running!
There are only a few people who I would say have helped to make a difference to my life and Neal is one of those people. Not only that but I am honoured to be able to call Neal a friend and mentor!"