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Bannatyne Success Stories

Bannatyne Success Stories

Sandy - Dumfries

We would like to say a huge well done to one of our Dumfries members, Sandy Clayton, who recently completed the Firth of Forth Crossing! "For my personal challenge this year I decided to enter the Firth of Forth Swim. I hesitate to call it a race, for me the challenge was just to get across the river Forth. I wasn't concerned if I came last, I just wanted to complete it. The event was on the September 22, a bit later in the open water swimming season than I would have liked, but as there were tides and shipping times to consider, the organisers opted for that date.  “Over the winter months, open water swimming is a bit restricted due to the cold weather conditions. Although I still swam throughout the winter outside, I did the bulk of swimming in the pool at Bannatyne's Health Club Dumfries. I also included some light weight training into my fitness programme to build up general body strength. “It was windy on the day, but the event went ahead and were piped into the river which was a nice touch. I held back to let the elite swimmers get away to try to avoid anyone swimming over the top of me. It soon became clear that the conditions were going to be tough, probably the most challenging I have ever swum in.

“I did think of bailing out after the third mouthful of water, but I managed to calm myself enough to carry on. The waves were enormous and at times my arm didn't even connect with any water, as I was being buffeted around so much. Eventually I got into my stride and started to enjoy the swim, but I then discovered I was on the wrong side of the railway bridge! The current was very strong, and the tide had turned, so I found myself swimming against the current and making no headway.

“After 10 minutes or so of getting nowhere I decided to change the direction of my swim and I eventually made it to a landing point. I was tired by the time I crawled out on my hands and knees and then I discovered that I had to walk around to the official finish line!

Ben - Shrewsbury

Kelda Wood, a member at our Shrewsbury health club, is completing a solo row across the Atlantic for Climbing Out, a charity she set up, which runs outdoor activity programmes aimed at rebuilding confidence and self-esteem in young people facing life changing injury, illness or trauma.

Kelda is dedicating each day of her challenge to a different person effected by a personal trauma. On day 34 of her journey, she will row for Ben, Sales Manager at Bannatyne Shrewsbury. This is Ben’s story.

“Long before my diagnosis, I knew that I wasn’t right. I had a cough that wouldn’t go away and I was having seriously bad night sweats. I went to the walk-in centre at the hospital and when I was there I had an ECG and a chat with the consultant. They couldn’t see what was wrong and thought I might have asthma. They gave me an inhaler and said to go back to my GP.

“Two weeks later I went back to my local doctors and the GP that saw me took one look at me, got me to breathe in and out and flat out told me it was asthma and that “10 times out of 10, people don’t know how to use an inhaler properly” so she gave me a steroid inhaler and a shuttle to put my inhaler in.

“I went back to the doctors on the 8th August and sat down with a different GP and said that, I need a blood test, the cough won’t go away and my breathing was getting worse. I thought I had pneumonia or pleurisy. She took one look at me and booked me in for a blood test the following day. At this point, I noticed that I had a red mark on my chest, lumps under both arms and in my neck.

“On the 9th August I went back to the doctors and had my blood test, then I went straight to work. Within a couple of hours, I had a call saying I needed to get to the hospital as my bloods were indicating that I could have a clot on my lung. Whilst at the hospital, I had an x-ray, they were concerned by a dark patch on my chest and asked me to come back in the next day for a CT scan.

“On the 10th August 2016 my life was turned upside down. I had my CT scan and a few hours later I was told I could have Lymphoma. At this point it was unclear as to what type of cancer I had as they were also testing me for Leukemia. After being told this, I was uncontrollably upset as you could imagine, but once the news had sunk in, I was so determined to beat it, I just remember telling my dad, “This will be the hardest thing we'll ever go through, but the BEST thing we finish.

“In the run up to the diagnosis I had to have a PET scan. This is where they inject you with a radioactive substance and glucose goes around your body highlighting the infected area.

“For the proper diagnosis I had a biopsy. This was done under local anaesthetic, meaning I was awake for the whole procedure. The biopsy was taken from a lump under my armpit which was the most uncomfortable experience. At one point the anaesthetic wore off and all I could feel was this horrible scraping under my arm, it was the worst pain I have ever felt.

“On the 31st August 2016 I was given my diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. My consultant advised me at this point I would be starting chemotherapy from 8th September and I would be having it for six hours every two weeks, finishing my treatment on 9th February 2017.

“The chemotherapy itself was ABVD, which is quite a harsh dose of toxins. This caused hair loss, dry skin, constipation and sickness and my taste buds changed quite a bit too. Under the treatment, I had to stay away from crowded places and anytime I wanted to train in the gym I had to wipe equipment before using it. More importantly I had to avoid the busy times, basically I had to eliminate any risk of infection.

“My treatment days were always on a Thursday, so I would normally start feeling the effects by the Saturday. I would always be ok the day after for some reason, but this would wipe me out, meaning I was spending most of the day in bed. By Sunday, I was ok and leading a relatively normal life. By my 4th chemo session, I opted to avoid the gym and venturing out at busy times, so I did what any man would, I bought a PlayStation and converted my spare room into a makeshift gym/man cave.

“Every day I was taking up to eight tablets. I had a morning routine of taking my temperature too and if it reached over 38 degrees, I had to go straight to the hospital.

Every time I had some food I had to clean my teeth and I had to use this mouth stuff called Nystatin, which was aniseed flavoured, to prevent me from getting mouth ulcers. It was horrible!

“On the 9th February I had my 12th and final chemotherapy session. Sitting through that last session was very emotional as the beginning of me getting my life back. The rollercoaster ride wasn’t fully over, as I still had a PET scan left and the final result.

“On 12th April 2017, I got the result I had been waiting for. After what felt like a lifetime, I had beaten this horrible disease, I felt like the world had been lifted off my shoulders and for the first time since diagnosis, I had happy tears and celebrated the news with my family over a few drinks. It was like Christmas Day.

“To anyone going through this, I just want to make everyone aware that the scariest part about the whole experience was hearing the word ‘Cancer’. After that it was just literally doing everything the doctors told me, taking moderate exercise and listening to my body and resting. Most importantly, to surround myself with positive people, which I did.  

“Pain is temporary, glory is forever”

Ben Grindley, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Survivor.

Julie - Livingston

Julie Wilkins, a member of our Livingstone club, has conquered a triathlon and several half-marathons following her recovery from breast cancer.

Julie believes that her time in the gym has been vital in her journey of fighting the disease and is particularly thankful for the RPM classes she attended. As she had never experienced a fitness class before, Julie enjoyed the fact that the class accommodated for people of different abilities.

Five half-marathons and a triathlon later, Julie is fighting fit and already has her sights set on what she can achieve in the coming year.

Julie said: “The RPM class is great as you can go at your own pace, but the music and instructors are very motivating and help you to push yourself to your limit.

“The class definitely helped me a lot in my training for the triathlon, but it’s also helped me to increase the muscle in my leg, my general fitness and my stamina.

“I’m looking forward to pushing myself harder and seeing what I can achieve now that I am healthy. I believe attending the gym was a contributing factor to my recovery from breast cancer and I am so grateful to be back on track.”

Pauline - Stepps

Pauline Sutherland, a member of our Stepps club, decided to improve her lifestyle and pursue a ‘mission’ of getting fit.

Pauline and personal trainer Gareth Cairney have been able to improve her fitness levels over the past two months by reducing her body fat percentage by more than 5%.

Commenting on her experience, Pauline said: “Gareth has been a great help. Due to his extensive knowledge in sports and fitness, he was not only able to help my basic goals, but he was also able to identify my areas of weakness which enabled me to train more efficiently.

“I’m pleased with my progress so far and look forward to pushing myself harder to achieve new goals.”

Ben - Leicester

Ben Humphries, a member of our Leicester club, decided he wanted to get fitter but didn’t know his deadlifts from his dumbells.

Ben decided to get help from fitness expert James, who has advised him throughout his body transformation process. James showed him the ropes and advised him how to train safely while getting great results.

Ben said: “James has been my go-to guy whenever I need advice and he has helped me a bunch. He is very knowledgeable and easy to approach, with his help I've learned how to do the right exercises in the right way.

“I'm getting fitter and stronger, I've yet to rupture a disc and I'm actually enjoying my workouts. I’m more confident in myself and I look forward to hitting the gym. Without James' help I would not have made progress nearly as quickly." 

Mel - Crewe

Mel Dawson, a member of our Crewe club, has achieved what very few others have before and swam The English Channel, solo!

This is a great accomplishment and we’re pleased personal trainer Becky was able to help Mel along to improve her physical strength for challenge.

Mel said: “My journey started with a solo attempt that took place on 17th September 2017, leaving from Samphire Hoe at approx. 7.30am. Unfortunately, after 14.5 hours of swimming my swim was aborted due to strong tides. I was gutted not to have made it to France, but I had swam around 31 miles so I was happy with my attempt.

“I had decided after my attempt that I didn’t want to try again, but at Christmas, my daughter gave me a picture showing my track. The more I looked at it, the more the seed was planted that I needed to try again to fulfil the dream of actually getting to France.

“My training for the original swim was extremely intense, incorporating pool training and weights at Bannatyne Crewe during the winter. The pool training was 4-5 swimming days, which consisted of drills, interval training and 2 hour and 3-hour swims. As well as my swimming days there was training for 2 days in the gym. This was completed with a fitness programme created by Becky from Bannatyne to improve upper body strength. I also completed an overnight swim of 10 hours, and a two-way outdoor swim at Ullswater, swimming for 15 miles.

“After deciding to go forward and attempt my second channel solo, I spoke to the pilot of the boat, who had kept his watchful eye on me for my first attempt, who managed to get me a slot for early July 2018.

“So, training was back on.

“I spoke to a friend about training and they said that I didn’t need to train so intensely and to just maintain. Maintaining, although not as intense as the previous year, was pretty hands on. Again, indoor training at Bannatyne Crewe, drills, intervals and 3-hour swim sessions and also back to the gym!!! I also swam a 1-way Lake Windermere as part of this year’s training, just a short 10.5miles!!!!

“We left Samphire Hoe at 6.55pm on the 8th July, swimming through the night. Even though I was thoroughly prepared fitness wise, because of the aborted attempt the previous year my head was all over the place. 5 hours into the swim, 1/2 way across the separation zone, I had to talk myself into continuing, I was ready to get out! It was totally unlike any other time I had swam. I was working out how long I had been in the water, when my next feed was, things like that had never entered my head before. I had totally lost the plot.

“The night stint was the longest one of my life. It felt like it was never ending. Finally the sun started to rise. Unfortunately, again, I was stuck in the tide in the Calais shipping lane and was being dragged back. This was where I was pulled out on my first attempt, so I knew I had to push on. My buddy on the boat, Dave, swam with me for an hour, pushing me forward instead of backwards and I finally made it through the tide. I still had 3-4 hours left but I finally felt that this was achievable, I could make it to French soil. Finally, after 15 hours of swimming I landed at Wissant Beach, absolutely elated, but completely shattered. However, I’d done it with a lot of help from my friends and the best support team.

“I have since found out that more people have climbed Everest than swam the channel solo. It has taken me a while, but I have finally realised what an achievement it is, and I am one of only approximately 900 people that can call themselves a Channel Solo Swimmer.”

Evanne - Newport

Evanne, an instructor of the Les Mills Attack class at our Newport club has gone through a fantastic body transformation.

In just two months, she has managed to improve her physique, making her even fitter! The already active instructor has undergone a gruelling post-summer plan that has had brilliant results including washboard abs, upper body muscle definition and increased core strength.

We’re very impressed with this iron lady and know our Newport members are excited to attend her sessions to help them along their own fitness journeys.

Simon - Bristol

Simon Robinson is a member of our Bristol club and has lost an amazing 34lbs!

After a long weekend holiday, Simon returned home unhappy with his weight and decided to take the first steps to transforming his life.

When asked how he did it, Simon responded: “A lot of willpower, dedication, support & a big reward. 

"I had all the tools in the box - a great team at Bannatyne including both instructors & other members, classes that I enjoyed inc. Les Mills RPM, Body Pump, Step & Attack, the MyZone belt, Tracker watch, Kinetica sports drink & a programme from Slimming World.

"At first I kept quiet about what I was doing - I cut out all my favourite chocolate & Gin! & all the cheese & a lot of bread but ate lots of fresh vegetables, I soon began to notice the difference - I had to wear a belt! "

Charlotte - Durham

Charlotte Rutter, a member of our Durham club, has lost 3 stone (19kg) and an amazing 12% body fat.

Charlotte started her journey six months ago and has loved every minute of it. With help from personal trainer, Sarah Brightwell, Charlotte was able to fit into the perfect bridesmaid’s dress and is going to continue on her weight loss and fitness journey.

Charlotte said: “I am absolutely over the moon but my journey has just begun!”

Sarah added: “I love working with this lady, we definitely have a laugh whilst still getting the results!!”

Daniel - Milton Keynes

Daniel Bingley, a member of our Milton Keynes club, embarked on a fitness journey when he was selected to participate in the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia.

Since being picked for the Games in October, Daniel has been training with our Health and Fitness manager, Lloyd Nurse.

Lloyd said: “After hearing about Daniel's story I wanted to reach out to him to see if I could assist in any way, shape or form.

“To an average gym goer, we are met with barriers we create, excuses that we use and discomforts within our body that are minor. How does it compare to an individual that has gone through physical, mental and emotional trauma?

“In my eyes, Daniel is one of a kind. His work ethic is second to none and his excuses are none existent. It is an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity of training with this gentleman. He motivates me in changing mine and others’ mind sets.”

We hope you can help us to support this inspirational young man and wish him good luck and best wishes for success in the Sydney Invictus Games. Daniel, we look forward to seeing those gold medals when you arrive back.

Dave - Burton on Trent

Dave, a member of our Burton on Trent club, has shared his remarkable weight loss story with us.

In December 2017, Dave weighed approximately 18st 10lbs and after teasing comments from his young daughter comparing him to Peppa Pig patriarch, Daddy Pig, he started on his fitness journey.

Dave’s daily routine consists of monitored healthy eating and daily gym classes on a lunchtime. Cutting carbs out of his diet also had a great impact on Dave’s health along with the “active rest” sessions held at Bannatyne clubs. These sessions consist of 30 minutes of continuous exercise which have been introduced into Dave’s lunchtime sessions.

Dave said: “The daily gym classes have also been great help in reaching my initial goals, which was to reduce my weigh to 99kgs. The key thing for me though, was to cut out bread all together. Weekends I allowed small amount of carbs, such as pizza or rice with a curry.

“One major thing for me was social drinking didn’t change. To be clear, I have not reduced the drink intake at all really. I maybe don’t have a drink in the week now, but a weekend drink still takes place which will consist of a bottle or wine, 5 or so bottles of beer and a couple of gin and tonics!”

Gian - Birmingham Priory

Gian, a member of our Birmingham Priory club, has transformed his confidence and his body.

After looking in the mirror and feeling unhappy with his appearance, Gian decided to start his journey with Bannatyne and achieve his goal of losing weight. Joining our Birmingham Priory club gave him access to a free induction from fitness advisor Drew Ricketts, who also offered him nutritional advice and introduced Gian to the MyZone belt.

Gian said: “When I started my journey at Bannatyne Priory I was 96KG.Now after my programmes, self-motivation and support from the staff, I dropped to 65KG within the 1st year of training at Bannatyne Priory. In the next year I changed my goal, this is because I achieved my previous one which was losing weight.  My new goal was gaining muscle and now I weight 78KG with the body fat of 15% and thanks to the new inbody assessment at the Priory Bannatyne you can also see your muscle mass percentage in which mine was 40.2%.”

Jo Spalding

Congratulations to our Cardiff club’s sales and marketing manager, Joanna Spalding, for completing a London to Brighton cycle ride.

The 56 mile journey was the first of its kind that Jo had done and it’s a great achievement. Jo is a very nervous cyclist as she has had a few accidents in the past so it is even more impressive.

Jo now has plans to cycle London to Paris next year and we wish her the best of luck in doing so!

David White

David White, a fitness advisor at our Falkirk club, ran this year’s Berlin marathon on Sunday 16th September to raise money for Save the Children.

David completed the race in a fantastic 3 hours and 55 seconds, much quicker than the average pace.  

We are incredibly proud of the kind contributions he has made to the charity and wish him the best in any future races he takes part in.

Kayleigh - Sutton Coldfield

Kayleigh Hall, a member of our Sutton Coldfield club, has been on an inspirational fitness journey.

Kayleigh had 12 weeks until her holiday to get the six pack she desired.

With help from one of our Personal Trainers, Ben, Kayleigh created a food plan to help keep her on track, along with scheduling once a week personal training sessions across the 12 weeks. As you can see from the pictures, having PT sessions was a resounding success!  Kayleigh commented, “Anyone who knows me will know all I ate and drank were cakes, chocolate, pizza and bottles of cola. I wanted to tone up for my holiday – and it’s been hard – but thanks to Ben helping me train and sorting my food out, I’ve lost 13cm off my hips, 5% body fat but gained 1kg of muscle. In 12 weeks! I couldn’t have done it without Ben. He’s helped me so much and knows his stuff so a big thank you to him for getting me there.” Ben added, “When Kayleigh came to me, she was getting by largely on sugar and caffeine. She was under-eating and wasn’t happy with her physique. Over 12 weeks we’ve worked on her nutrition and she’s been a big success. She now has a healthy metabolism; her energy levels are coming from her food and she’s a lot happier and more confident within herself. She’s a great client!” 

Rebecca - Coulby Newham

Rebecca Proctor, a member of our Coulby Newham club, decided to turn her life around and lose weight in time for her brother’s wedding.

With help from personal trainer Liam Woodhouse, Rebecca established what she wanted to achieve from her training sessions and identified the targets she wanted to work towards. Rebecca decided she wanted to lose at least two stone before the wedding and set out with her diet plan and training to achieve her goal.

Rebecca said: “When the time came for my brother’s wedding in July 2017 I'd already beaten my target of two stone. To this day I'm loving training more and more and feeling the full positive effects of a good level of cardiovascular fitness. I have met some good friends at the gym who as well as Liam have kept me focused on my journey. I couldn't have done it without the support and guidance from friends ,family and most notably  my personal trainer Liam. I would encourage anybody who is keen to embark on a fitness journey to invest in a personal trainer to keep them focused and motivated.”

Liam - Folkestone

Liam Muttock , a member at our Folkestone health club, has undergone an incredible weight transformation.

In April last year, Liam weighed 24 stone. He was unhappy with his weight and the way he was feeling and decided it was time to make some serious lifestyle changes.  

Liam joined as a member at our Folkestone health club and started to make small changes to his diet. He has always been a keen cook and started to incorporate healthy organic foods into his diet, in addition to visiting the health club and training three to four times a week with friends.

Since changing his fitness routine and eating plan, Liam has managed to lose five stone, and now weighs 19 Stone exactly.

He said: “Joining Bannatyne Folkestone gave me the motivation I needed to lose weight. I can get up in the morning, go to the gym and make myself feel good at the same time as socialising with my friends.”

Liam has two young sons and wants to be a good role model for them. He wants to show them that looking after their bodies is important and the lifestyle choices that they make will have a big impact on the way they live their lives.

What a fantastic achievement Liam, well done and keep up the hard work!

Kate - Carlisle

One of our Carlisle members, Kate Robinson, has shared her amazing fitness story with us: "I could tell you how much weight I've lost or how many dress sizes I've dropped but that's neither a true representation of me, nor what I really find important. When I first joined Bannatyne Carlisle, my only goal was to lose weight. I had no idea what I was doing, I felt quite uncomfortable and of course I didn't lose a single pound. It wasn't until I began personal training with Sue that things began to change.

“Firstly Sue wanted to get to know me and my goals, to ensure I felt confident. I told Sue I wanted to become fitter, get stronger and be more body positive. I soon began a journey of self-love and understanding my body. Although I was losing weight, what I felt more was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, strength and self-worth all spurred on by Sue's encouragement. She made personal plans and worked around my wants and needs without judgement and always adapted to fit with my current body, situation or mind-set. After eighteen months of (relative) dedication I now have a healthy relationship with food, the gym and most importantly, myself. I'm still slowly working away as I don't believe there is a 'before' and 'after' version of myself. I'm still the same person who's just a bit stronger and living a happier lifestyle."