I hit my 40s and started for the first time to worry about my health. I had a stressful career and was bringing up my 3 sons alone, I worked long hours, ate all my meals on the go and did no exercise. None.

Apart from a brief flirtation with aerobics in the late 80s, that was mainly driven by the cool outfits, I hadn’t done any exercise for nearly 25 years.

So I plucked up the courage to join a gym. I think I had this romanticised vision that I would run on a treadmill, instantly look fabulous and voila my life would be transformed. I wanted to be one of the “fit people”.

The reality was quite different. I found it really hard and really boring. So of course I gave up.

A year later I tried again. And 2 months in was doing ok but could feel my motivation waning. I attended classes to give myself some variety but felt really out of place as everyone else seemed to be really fit, look great and knew what they were doing.

Then I met Tina and Josh who introduced me to Strength and Conditioning training. The variety and opportunity to do new things kept me interested and All of a sudden things changed. I started to enjoy training. Don’t get me wrong it was hard. Really hard. And everyone else was stronger, faster, fitter and younger! But it didn’t matter. I could see progress and improvements in what I could do. I lost weight and generally just started to feel better. So I kept going.

And that’s when it happened. I fell in love with exercise and the sport of fitness. I learnt that there were competitions, locally, nationally and worldwide and that this was a serious sport!

I’m 2 years in and now a competitive athlete. I’d love to say I’m the best and win everything…I certainly don’t but enjoy the process!

I am able to do things I never thought possible, I look at where I started and where I am now and hardly recognise myself. I no longer worry about my weight(well a little bit but I’m a woman so it goes with the territory). I certainly don’t obsess about it, I now focus on what my body can do.

At 45 years of age, I’ve never been fitter or healthier but am still pushing myself towards my goals. I’ve entered another 4 competitions already this year and am focussed on getting ready for them.

The best part though?

The people. The community and support is unlike anything I have ever experienced, we are all from different walks of life, all at different levels but we are all part of the same thing.

My advice to anyone?

Put your fear aside, come and see us. Josh will help you achieve what ever your own goals are and I promise we will welcome and look after you!

If this couch potato can do it? Anyone can!

Rhianon Halford, 45.

#iamteamfortitude

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