62 year old Gael Burford, from Sydney, tells us about her fitness journey with Damien Kelly, nine years on.
Before I started training with Damien Kelly, I was totally inactive.
I was obese and hadn’t been active for years. I also hadn’t played any sport since I left school. I had high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.
There were several key moments that made me realise I had to make a change. One seems a little amusing now, but back at the time it was upsetting. My husband John bought a new kayak, but I couldn’t enjoy it with him – I couldn’t fit into it! The second turning point came when I went on holiday with my family. There was a lovely walk to the top of a steep hill but I chose to stay at the bottom, feeling unable to tackle it. On top of that I had a strong family history of heart disease. I was miserable and didn’t like myself very much – it was time to act.
My health and fitness levels are of such a high level now. I have come to accept that this is the natural way to be. I forget how far I’ve come and only think of how much further I still want to go! I lost 23kgs in my first two years with DK and I have maintained that weight.
Now I’m proud I don’t ever have to say ‘no’. I am now capable of climbing that hill or being involved in any activity I choose. By the way, I now have my own kayak!
When I think back to my original training sessions with Damien, where I was totally embarrassed by my inability and my appearance (I didn’t even have proper sports clothes or shoes) he never made me feel incapable. Like all DK training sessions I was and still am pushed out of my comfort zone but never so far that I feel I can’t come back for more.
After my initial horror I would look forward to our sessions, especially when I started getting results, which happened quite quickly and that gave me more encouragement.
I have always had complete trust and confidence when working out with Damien.
I reached a stage where training became my priority and most importantly a habit, which I still can’t kick.
I train alongside my husband John. He and I find that getting to our sessions as a couple makes it easier, we don’t even talk about it - it’s just what we do!
We find we compare our workouts afterwards and also how we’ve done in comparison to our previous sessions. It’s always good to have someone to bounce that off, especially when they know how demanding the sessions can be.
I would like to let all women of my age know all of this is available to them – they just have to start and build up slowly. If you’re frightened to start exercising like I was in 2005, personal training is a great start. I would suggest a number of one-on-one or small group sessions to achieve a base level of fitness and an understanding of the exercises. I think the biggest barrier to women of my age is that they don’t believe that exercise is for them, it’s for young people and people who are sporty. They believe that old women don’t jump or push weights - how wrong they are!!!