About me

Self portrait

About me

I’m a Scottish girl who has been living in the South West for 10 years. I’ve been working in Publishing since arriving here, but decided it’s time to follow the newer passions in my life, photography and fitness.
I am a qualified Level 3 PT and I’ve been running portrait photography sessions since early 2020.

I would never describe myself as a sporty person, although saying that I was on pretty much every school team. Football, netball, hockey, athletics… I used to swim for my local swimming club and I took horseriding lessons for about 8 years. But sure, I’ve never been sporty.

By the time I got to my late teens though, I discovered boys, alcohol and cigarettes. And back then I thought the only reason to exercise was to lose weight (didn’t we all?!) and as a natural size 10 I didn’t need to lose weight. I do remember trialling the gym at my university, but honestly I can’t remember my thought process around that. I can only remember some guy trying to hit on me while I ran on a treadmill. Cause all I did was cardio, obv.

My late 20s I started to realise that exercise was also for the health benefits, not just for shifting body fat. I decided to start running. I took bus fair on that first run, just in case I couldn’t get back. I can’t decide now what was more foolish, taking the bus fair or believing I’d be able to run far enough away that getting back would be a problem. I managed to run consistently for about 30 seconds before I had to stop and walk or bend over gasping while clutching the stitch stabbing my side. Gradually with time, and support from my mum and friend, I pushed that distance. By the time I moved down to Bristol I could run about 15mins without stopping. I decided to sign up for the Bristol 10km race as an incentive to keep running. No matter how hard I trained, I was slow and it hurt. I never ever got the endorphins that people spoke about when running. When I got to the end of a run I was just really glad it was over.

‘And back then I thought the only reason to exercise was to lose weight’

I completed the Bristol 10km in 1hr 6 seconds that year, which I think is actually a fairly decent time for a first timer who hates running. But, by now I was a runner – by definition, if you run you are a runner. So I signed up for more runs and eventually a half marathon. It never got easier for me though. While training for my first half marathon I decided to enlist the help of a personal trainer. I didn’t really know how to train for a long distance run and had just copied a downloadable cookie cutter training programme from the internet. This PT would guide me through a half marathon training plan and also introduce me to weight training. We started with deadlifts. Then we did some pull ups and press ups. I loved it.

That PT and I didn’t last very long. After the half marathon I was too pleased to not have to run anymore and my salary at that time wasn’t exactly conducive to paying a personal trainer. It wasn’t until a few years later, when I’d signed up for yet another half marathon that I started working with Jon, a PT at my gym. Once again, I went in asking for half marathon training. During this training we started deadlifting again and introduced squatting. I was hooked. After the half marathon was done – again – I was so happy I didn’t have to run anymore so I didn’t. I accepted I wasn’t a runner after all. I gave it my best shot, I really did. But I was never good at it and I never enjoyed it. But lifting heavy things? That gave me a buzz. I spoke to Jon then about changing up my programme to focus on building strength.

By this point I was in my 30s and that natural size 10 figure had gone. Quite rightly. We can’t expect to keep the same body throughout our lives. Although I didn’t know that at the time. I won’t go into how my weight fluctuated over the years, but what I will say is that when I stopped trying to lose weight and instead chased strength-based goals my body changed. I was aiming for a 100kg deadlift, to squat and bench by body weight (which at the time was about 76kg) and complete an unassisted chin up or pull up. The number on the scales stayed the same, mostly, but I had muscles and they were useful. Like, when travelling, I didn’t need someone to lift my suitcase on to the overhead storage. Opening jars, carrying shopping, lifting boxes (of mostly books!) when moving house.

‘The number on the scales stayed the same, mostly, but I had muscles and they were useful.’

I worked with Jon for about two years and in that time I knew I wanted to learn the trade myself. I have never felt as comfortable in my own body as when I’m lifting heavy things or working towards getting stronger. I didn’t worry about what I ate, I was happy with what I saw when I looked in the mirror, I loved training and finally understood what people were talking about when they mentioned endorphins.

So, here I am, two years later than planned (thanks Covid) a newly qualified level 3 personal trainer and ready to teach other women what I’ve learned.