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Bannatyne Success Stories

Bannatyne Success Stories

Paula - Cardiff

Paula Joyce, a member of our Cardiff club, is celebrating after achieving a fantastic weight loss. Paula joined our Cardiff club in January 2019 in order to increase her fitness levels after she was diagnosed with diabetes. Since then, she has achieved a fantastic weight loss of 38lbs, which is almost three stone!

Paula said that a healthy diet and increasing her exercise regime has helped her massively, as well as attending a range of Bannatyne classes. We’re glad you’ve enjoyed your fitness journey so far and look forward to helping you achieve more fantastic results in 2020!

Naomi - Cardiff

We caught up with a member of our Cardiff club, Naomi Tugwell about her fitness journey.

Naomi said: “I'm hoping by sharing my story that I might encourage anyone who is struggling with weight loss, fitness and/or healthy living.

“I've been on this weight loss journey for a few years. In school I was bullied for being "fat" even though I wasn't. As a coping mechanism I started comfort eating which in turn made me podgy and overweight, not excessively, but I was definitely a lot bigger than I had been.

“I had tried so many times to lose weight and feel comfortable in my skin, but all I ended up doing was self-loathing and getting very, very depressed.

“I then started doing some home workouts. It felt good, but I knew I wasn't doing my best, so I took the plunge and signed up to Bannatyne Cardiff. I had great days and really bad days, that turned into a week or two, but pushed myself to carry on.

“I definitely fell off the horse a lot and cried thinking I'd never get anywhere with my body, but I kept going. I'm so thankful that I kept pushing through because not only do I feel a ton better, but a miracle happened! I went away last month and for the first time EVER I wore a bikini! Albeit I never took my shorts off, I still wore a bikini. I never ever thought I'd reach this point, so keep going because you can too!”

Graeme - Hastings

Meet Graeme a current member of Bannatyne Hastings who served in the Royal Navy for 16 years before he was medically discharged due to a renal condition in 2007. 

Graeme became a member through Duncan Bannatyne's offer of free membership at our health clubs for veterans living with PTSD. 

On leaving the Royal Navy he started Dryad Maritime - a business that provided anti-piracy and counter terrorist forecasts to ship Captains. The business grew to £2.5M turn over employing 50 ex-navy veterans.  In this time it became apparent that he was he was suffering from PTSD and in 2017 this came to a head when he was no longer able to work and sought help.

 The incident that caused the PTSD occurred when Graeme was second in command of a Mine Hunting Ship and due to a miscommunication, the ship’s crew were placed in mortal danger.  Aware of the threat, Graeme was unable to prevent the incident from happening which led to the illness. 

 The illness, which sufferers experience as constantly being on guard, requires medication, talking therapy to address the cause of the symptoms and self-care, using relaxation techniques and exercise.  Physical exercise has been shown to be particularly effective for ex-military veterans which is why Graeme believes membership of Bannatyne health clubs is so important.

 Today, Graeme is turning his hardship into a positive and has produced a YouTube video* to offer his help and support to other people suffering with PTSD.

 Graeme said: “Just as I was given a veteran’s place at Bannatyne’s, I was offered a chance to do some occupational therapy, which was six months of hard physical labour outside in the fresh air in Somerset. Now that’s over I plan to focus on my physical health by continuing my hard work at the gym and posting more videos of my progress to encourage other sufferers to get exercising.

 “If I met Duncan Bannatyne, I would simply thank him for this amazing scheme. This is the best practical support you could ever give a veteran with PTSD. I am so incredibly grateful.”


Simon - Sutton Coldfield

Meet Simon, a current member at Sutton Coldfield. Simon was offered the opportunity to join our health club after Duncan Bannatyne offered hundred of free memberships for veterans with PTSD, with every one of our 72 health clubs taking part. 

Simon, who is now self-employed, served for nearly 24 years in the Royal Air Force and issues from his service, particularly a tour of Afghanistan in 2006 affected his confidence and caused stress and anxiety, eventually diagnosed as PTSD.

Through his GP, Birmingham NHS Veterans' Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) and the charity Walking With The Wounded, Simon has accessed counselling, which is helping with his mental health.

 Simon has raised more than £16,000 for Walking With the Wounded over the last four years and is currently walking a virtual journey from Afghanistan to the National Memorial Arboretum, more than 3,600 miles which he hopes to complete on 23rd December as part of the charity’s Walking Home For Christmas event. 

 Recently Simon joined two other veterans and campaign ambassadors, including Wayne Bridge and two leading actors from Sam Mendes’ new film 1917- George MacKay and Dean Charles Chapman to launch the 2019 fundraising. 

 He has also completed the Cumbrian Challenge, walking the tougher route of 32.5 miles, which Simon says is “one of the most demanding physical challenges I have done for a long time.”

 In December Simon is taking part in the British Rowing Indoor Championships in London on 7/12 with a Help for Heroes team.

 Simon said: “Facing the fact that I have mental health concerns was a big issue as I did not want to admit I had problems or show weakness, and there was a part that was survivor’s guilt.

 “The counselling is very positive and through fitness I have a far greater positivity and outlook.  I am able to use the gym during quieter periods to reduce anxiety levels and with the support of the staff there have seen tangible results in my health and wellbeing over the last few months.  My family has seen the benefits of using the gym in my personality and behaviours.

Tashana - Luton

Meet Tashana Gregory, a member of our Luton club. Tashana is 17 and has been with us for around eight months, with a fitness goal of increasing her muscle mass.

Tashana said: “I first began to go to the gym as part of my netball training to further develop my muscular strength when landing and passing the ball with power. While still training with my team, I became a member at Bannatyne Luton, and this is where my love for training grew stronger!

“BodyPump was one of the first classes I attended, and it quickly became my favourite. The class introduced me to different techniques and methods of exercising which, after a month or so, gave me the confidence to train on my own on the gym floor.

“After creating my own workouts and beginning my routine, I began to notice results and changes to my body and I loved it. It gave me the motivation to train with the love and passion I do now. I am studying to become a personal trainer to help other people see results and hopefully fall in love with fitness the way I did!”

Rob - Banbury

We caught up with Rob Nichols, a member of our Banbury club, about his fundraising efforts.

Throughout 2019, Rob Nichols and Harry Horner, are cycling more than 22,000 km East to the Japan, ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ in order to raise £22k to install solar power for the Lotus Children’s Centre in Mongolia.

Rob said: “We are raising money to install a solar PV system at the Lotus Children's Centre in Mongolia, a wonderful home for orphaned and abandoned children which we were able to visit on our journey. The PV system significantly reduce the centre’s operation cost, is aligned with the cycle's environmental ethos, and will seek to raise awareness for Ulaanbaatar as the world's worst polluted city. 

“As we come to the journey's close, we would like to raise the profile of our trip, and in so doing raise interest in Lotus and our project for them.”

For more information about their trip, visit the website: https://www.farsidestudio.com/risingsuncycle/.

If you would like to donate to Lotus Children’s Centre, please visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=RisingSunCycle&isTeam=true

Kayleigh - Ayr

We would like to wish one of our hugely inspirational members at our Ayr club & Swimstars instructor Kayleigh, the very best of luck as she represents Great Britain at the World Para Athletics World Championships in Dubai this week! 

Kayleigh has cerebral palsy and has completed competitively in swimming and athletics since 2011. At the world championships she will be completing on a RaceRunner which is a customer-built trike that prevents her from falling over and enables her to focus on speed. Last year, Kayleigh broke the world record in the RR2 100m at the European championships in Berlin, yet this is the first time the sport will appear at the World Championships. 

Kayleigh said: 'I've been working really hard since early last year hoping to be selected. I'm so honoured to represent Great Britain for the second time - it's up there as one of my greatest achievements so far. I just want to enjoy the experience, grow as an athlete and hopefully come away with a personal best time - I can't really ask for anything more than that.'

All of the team at Bannatyne are rooting for her, and we're sure she will be rewarded for all of her hard work! 

Tom - Norwich

Bannatyne Norwich would like to show you what physical exercise can do for you and your mental health. Here is Tom, one of the amazing personal trainers! Here is Tom's story. "At the age of 15, I was diagnosed with anorexia and I suffered with this illness for more than 12 months, it was a very hard time of my life. But in late 2015, I realised enough was enough!

“I began training and lifting weights. The weight training was especially good for my mental health as it released endorphins and built my confidence when presenting myself. I now promote fitness as fitness advisor at Bannatyne Norwich." If you would like to know more and see how you can improve your mental health by exercising come and see our PTs in your local club today!

Max - Bury St Edmunds

Our Bury St Edmunds club has shared its ‘Member of the Month’ success story with us.

Max Venmore-Rowland has achieved a fantastic weight loss so far and is on track to keep smashing his goals!

Max said: “In 2018 I hit my heaviest ever weight and found that I was becoming less mobile and finding that my size was becoming a real problem.

“While I had joined the gym, I was frustrated at a lack of progress. I decided to seek out help and Karl became my personal trainer late in 2018.  

“Karl has been an inspiration and has opened up a new perspective of fitness training. His encouragement and commitment to my goals even when they seem far off, is brilliant.  Thanks to Karl I actually enjoy the fitness experience and I am challenging myself to achieve things I thought were in my past. Karl manages to make every session different, whether it be stamina, strength, core or cardio there is a mix of challenges including boxing sparring which is new to me. Another aspect important to me is has been the improvement of my general mobility.

“I have a long way to go - the next landmarks will be hitting 130kg and then 120kg but now I have confidence I can achieve them.

“Thank you Karl!”

Patricia - Kingsford Park

We have been speaking to one of our longest standing members at our Kingsford Park club, Trish. She has been through a lot over the last couple of years but is still as lively and positive as ever.

After being diagnosed with bowel cancer in July last year, Trish fought through the chemotherapy treatment and had a section of bowel removed. This didn't dissuade her from still coming in to swim and make her holiday. During further check-ups after going into remission, they found three growths on her liver which she is still receiving treatment for.

Trish's determination and positive mindset is uniquely joyful and lovely to be around. Upon asking what has kept her going, Trish said: "Coming to the club has helped, it's been great to socialise, and I have recommended it to several people who are now members. I have a very strong family behind me and the support of my husband. It also helps to keep your sense of humour. I've also got the added bonus of being Scottish and made of girders!”

Having a positive mindset goes a long way but having a strong support network for the lows and the highs is very important. It's always ok to ask for help or share your thoughts and feelings to friends and family. There is always someone to help keep your spirits up.

Dennis - Lowestoft

We have been catching up with the Stimpson family about their time at Bannatyne Lowestoft. Take a read of Dennis' testimonial from his sessions with fitness advisor, Vikki. 

Dennis said, 'When my wife came home from her first few sessions with Vikki, I was impressed with the technicalities she was being taught and her level of motivation, so I decided to book just a few sessions myself. 

'I have attended the gym for a number of years and thought it would be a good idea to get some professional knowledge and assessment of how I was using the equipment available at the gym. Vikki's in-depth technical knowledge, her attention to small details and her obviously genuine and real interest in her clients has been impressive and exactly what I wanted. 

'As an example, I had a knee injury and never used any leg machines. She has worked with me on this and I can now use them without strain or injury. I now use a greater variety of exercises, both off and on the resistance machines and much more importantly, I am enjoying exercise and coming to the gym!' 

'I use the gym to try keep fit and whilst I do not use Vikki for cosmetic results, it's still gratifying to have such positive comments from friends and family. 

'If you are looking for a personal trainer or fitness advisor, I can thoroughly recommend Vikki, whatever your age or physical condition, she will offer a genuine interest in working with you.' 

Well done with your results Dennis. Keep smashing it in the gym! 

Christine - Wakefield

Meet Christine, a member of our Wakefield club. We think she is a true inspiration, proving that age is just a number! Christine is 73 years young. She has been a member of our Wakefield health club for more than 11 years and she has built a lot of friendships with fellow members and staff. Christine enjoys attending regular classes each week including Body Combat, Body Attack, Body Pump, Metafit, Hiit Circuit and her new favourite classes are the B:Functional classes. 

Even though Christine is partly sighted, this has never stopped her working to her maximum ability and challenging the younger generation to keep up. Christine pushes her limits and likes to keep challenging herself, so much so that she purchased a MyZone belt. Christine says that “MyZone has helped improve my fitness” and each month she has been smashing her recommended MEPs (myzone effort points). She currently has nine months left before she will reach hall of fame status. During her time at Bannatyne Wakefield she has inspired a lot of members and staff with her ‘never give up’ attitude. 

Thank you for being a part of the Wakefield club Christine and well done on your fitness journey so far!

Richard - Mansfield

Meet Richard, a member of Bannatyne Mansfield. Richard joined Bannatyne more than a year ago and has recently decided to make a massive change to his daily routine, by balancing a healthy lifestyle & nutrition with exercise. 

Richard said, 'On returning from a recent holiday, I got on the scales at home and was at my heaviest ever weight, 15st 9lbs. I have been a member of Bannatynes now for over a year however, my visits weren't that frequent. 

'I booked in to have an induction with Luke, and as part of my induction I was weighed on the InBody machine. The results were far from ideal, the main thing picked out was that my muscle mass was below the required level and my body fat percentage was way too high at 40%, yes 40%! The machine also gave lots of other important information about my body and I received a printout of the report. During the induction Luke also showed me how to use the gym equipment, gave me a suggested workout plan and advised on the best classes to attend. 

'After just four weeks of sticking to a very low fat, low calorie diet and following my work out plan, I had reduced my weight by 20lbs and my fat percentage by 5%. 

'I can't praise the team at Bannatyne Mansfield enough, everyone always makes me feel welcome and the instructors are great and full of encouragement to keep me motivated and on track to achieve my goal. 

'I am looking forward to continuing this journey with Bannatynes and look forward to my new healthier lifestyle.'

Sarezah - Kingsford Park

Anybody who has known Sarezah from the start of her transformation will agree it's nothing short of amazing. She started her journey at 32.7 stones and just over a year ago, we highlighted her amazing weight loss at the five year mark, dropping half her body weight. 

Now, we are just over the six-year mark and she has been keeping up her training and refining her shape, strength and movement. Sarezah has dropped to a comfortable 13.6 stones, that's a total weight loss of 19.1 stones. 

Whilst on this journey, she has come across many obstacles, and one of her main issues was with her knees and shoulders. Carrying that much weight has caused knee stress and signs of osteoarthritis, so maintaining joints has been a real focus, including stretching and light warm ups. One of the biggest factors was to not 'leap before looking' during some classes. Anything that might over stress the joints was avoided, and alternatives found until it was felt the joints could handle one or two to test the effect. 

The combination of diet, personal training, classes and gym work, but most of all a personal determination, has led to this amazing transformation and we will assist in any way possible as her journey continues! 

Michael & Tom - 10 in 10 Gambia Challenge

A message from our Darlington members, Michael and Tom, who are hoping to increase their fundraising for their trip to Gambia following the collapse of Thomas Cook this week. 

Emergency Funding Appeal

Dear friends, family and partners who have supported us on our challenge to run 10 marathons in 10 days across The Gambia so far. 

It saddened us to see the collapse of one of the UK's most trusted travel companies, Thomas Cook, which saw more than one million people, including our 10 in 10 team, affected as a result of ceasing trading. 

We understand that there are people who are in a far worse position than ourselves, with some people having weddings cancelled and losing their jobs - our hearts go out to everyone affected in some way. 

We need your help now, more than ever before to raise the £10,000 we set out to achieve and if possible, raise more to help the people of The Gambia during this hard time. If there are any companies out there who could give generously to raise as much money as possible and to ensure our team can still make the challenge in The Gambia possible. The Gambian government has held an emergency meeting over the collapse of Thomas Cook. There is concern that it will heavily impact tourism which contributes more than 30% of The Gambia's GDP.
When we first started planning this challenge, the potential collapse of our travel provider, didn’t ever cross our minds. It has hit us hard, as every member of our team, including myself and Michael, have invested large amounts of time and money to make this challenge possible. We have built up an incredible support team, who were meant to be joining us in The Gambia, offering medical expertise, security and filming to show to everybody who has supported us in some way over the
last year the incredible journey we have gone through. The team joining us in The Gambia consisted of more than ten people who had all individually paid to travel to The Gambia to assist us at their own expense, as the causes we are raising money for have a huge connection to them personally, which sadly could all be lost now.
We set out eight months ago with the aim of raising £10,000 for three incredible charities, which have a huge connection to every single one of us. The collapse of the company which was taking us from the UK to The Gambia isn’t going to stop us, whether we have to walk, crawl or swim there - we are doing this challenge, and nothing will stop us!
However, we need your help more than ever before. We simply cannot do this challenge without our support team who will be providing their services to keep us alive in what is essentially a life- threatening challenge.

Not only has this had a huge impact on our team and with the dwindling possibility that the challenge may not be possible without our support team, the collapse of Thomas Cook will have a detrimental impact on this country which relies solely on tourism as their income. Thomas Cook Airlines Ltd was the main tour operator for The Gambia, and of the 100,000-150,000 tourists visiting The Gambia each season (October – April) 60% are UK Citizens using Thomas Cook airlines.
The Gambia is one of the poorest countries in the world, with the average wage being £1 per day. That’s right, only £1 per day!! The 2019/20 tourist season is going to be hit hard, which consequently will cause mass amounts of local people without an income to provide food for their family.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far.
Tom and Michael, and The 10 in 10 Gambia team ❤️ 

Jack - Lowestoft

'In September 2018, I felt like a fit and healthy 24-year old. I was working, training in the gym, I felt completely normal, unbeknownst to what was really going on inside me. 

'A couple of weeks into the month I developed a rash on my torso, swiftly followed by extreme night sweats and fatigue. I ignored it for a while, hoping it would sort itself out and I went to the chemist for some cream hoping it would the rash out; how wrong I was!

'After a couple of weeks of trying different creams, I booked to see the doctor to explain that nothing was working. Whilst I was there, I started to explain my other symptoms and he recommended a blood test, to hopefully shine a light on what was going on. 

'Friday 12th October 2018, the morning after my blood test, I get the phone call, 'Jack, the doctor would like to see you urgently, can you come in?'

'So off i went, not knowing what to expect. On arrival at the doctors, I am sent straight through and he had just finished a phone call with the hospital. His only words were, 'Jack, I have an idea of what this is, but I need you to go as soon as possible to have further tests, it's not going to be nice but we have to get the ball rolling, good luck!' 

'I arrived at the hospital on the 16th, still with no idea as to what was wrong. I was directed to the ward from reception..'The Cancer Ward'. 

'I sat down, surrounded by posters and patients, hoping deep down that I had taken a wrong turn or that the consultant may have been the only one available at the time.

'After seeing the consultant, he explained that he was 90% certain I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma, however I'd need a PET scan and a biopsy to make sure 100% and to see how far it had spread. Within the following couple of weeks, I underwent the scan and biopsy and nervously awaited the results. 

'Results day arrived and it was confirmed, Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Something that could have been developing for over a year before.'

'Not understanding the states of Cancer at the time, stage 4 is the most advanced and for many other cancers, it's difficult to treat. But being a blood cancer, I was reassured I'd still have an 85% chance of recovering. I could beat this!

' I knew there was nothing I could do to change the outcome, apart from put my trust in the consultants and nurses to remain positive. The consultant explained the chemotherapy timetable to me and said it would take between four to eight cycles, each cycle consisting of four round of chemotherapy. I remember jokingly saying I would beat it in four!

'Tuesday 20th November, the start of my chemo journey, the strongest they could give me. I signed off the sheets and entered the unknown. After the first cycle was over, my hair started to fall out, a small change but a sign in my eyes that the chemo was doing it's thing - its working! 

'Cycle two soon followed a couple of weeks after that and on Christmas Eve, I had my interim PET scan. I was feeling optimistic. I had embraced the changes and I was still positive that everything was going to be okay. 

'2nd January 2019 - results day - Happy new year!  - two cycles down and look at the reaction already. After meeting with the consultant again, he recommended two more cycles, just to make sure for certain that I would hopefully remain clear, followed by another PET scan just to confirm. Was I really going to do this in 4 cycles? Two more cycles swiftly passed and by the end of February, it was over. 

'10th April - Remission. I felt on top of the world, with a completely different outlook on life. It wasn't until I started to feel better after the treatment , that I realised just how ill I was before. At the time however, it felt like normality because Hodgkin's Lymphoma is invisible. 

''The idea of this , is to just raise some awareness to the disease and the symptoms to look out for:

  • Night Sweats
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • enlarged Lymph Nodes
  • A persistent cough or feeling of breathlessness
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Increased risk of infections

'At the start of June, I returned to Bannatyne Lowestoft. I felt nervous to start with because I felt like I was starting all over again. However, the support of fellow members and staff has been fantastic, and I am now getting back on track.

'I hope this can be used to encourage somebody who has been on the same journey or currently going through it, not to be afraid, to remain positive and to let them know that the support is there. 

'The gym is not just for physical health, but also your mental health and wellbeing. Most importantly, listen to your body and enjoy life.''

Staff & members of Dumfries

Over the past few weeks our Dumfries club has been raising money for Marie Curie. One of our members Liz Grieve has helped the club with organising a coffee morning, general fundraising, including a book sale, and a duathlon/triathlon. 

At the moment, the current total raised is sitting at just over £1800 ( not including Gift Aid!) The club has also another £500 coming from Bank of Scotland from sponsorship of one of our members who took part. 

Great effort team Dumfries! 

Julie - Burton On Trent

'Im Julie and I recently joined Bannatyne Burton on Trent. I used to be a member many years ago but after I was diagnosed with cancer and had undergone a year of chemotherapy, sadly I wasn't able to attend for a while. 

'I took up running but soon had to give it up as my treatment had affected my joints badly. For the past couple of years, I have had extreme fatigue, tender points and pains throughout my body.'

'In October 2018 I was tested to see if my cancer had returned along with some other tests. Thankfully, I was still cancer free but other results showed I had fibromyalgia, IBS, osteoporosis, and arthritis. Two holes were also found in my spine and my knees are not too well, the chemotherapy and medication has certainly taken its toll.

'The more I researched to try and help me through my diagnosis, exercise kept popping up and a change of diet. I knew if I wanted to improve, I had to give myself a good kick and get motivated, so I re-joined Bannatyne's and took things from there. 

'Natasha was great, friendly and approachable and she kindly did my induction and training programme for me. She made me feel at ease and relaxed as I was a little anxious because it had been so long since I had been inside a gym. 

'I decided to join the spin class which I now love, I've got a detailed programme for the gym, cardio and weights, and hopefully I will be joining the body pump classes soon! The yoga classes will be great for my fibromyalgia so hoping to give them a go. 

'I'm really enjoying being back and my energy levels have risen. I feel more relaxed after i've been to the gym, my weight is dropping off and my muscle mass is building too! 

'My future goals are to hit my target weight and get fitter, I'm finally focused and it feels great to be back. Onwards and upwards!'

I think we can all agree that Julie is an inspiration! 

Darren Kinsey - Banbury

'On the 4th September 2019, I decided to try and swim the distance of the English Channel which is 22 miles or 35,406 metres, before my birthday on Saturday 21st September. Of course, I was a little nervous because I have never ever undertaken such a long duration challenge like this before, although I have previously climbed Three Peaks for the Oxford Newborn Care Unit, cycled the Coast to Coast Challenge across the North of England, and ran 100k for Rainbow Children's Trust, but none were a match for a 17 day challenge!'

'I have always maintained a higher body weight and so this type of thing keeps me motivated to try to keep healthy and lose weight.'

'The swim challenge was purely a random decision because I began using the swimming pool area at Bannatyne's and enjoyed the calm and sedate atmosphere the facility presents to its users, so this was in the most part the catalyst for this event being my next chosen challenge.

The charity I am doing the event for is Children with Cancer UK, and have so far raised £247.00 for this most heartfelt cause. Here is a link to my Facebook page that has the full details. https://bit.ly/2mmMb3F

'I have so far swarm 27,400 metres and have 8006 metres left to swim by Saturday 21st to complete this challenge. It has been a huge boost to me because I have time and time again pushed my boundaries and today I completed a personal best 170 laps of the pool in 96 minutes.

'Bannatyne Health Club is by far the most welcoming place for individuals looking to find wellness amongst like-minded people. The staff at the Banbury Club are very knowledgeable and always make you feel welcome. The facilities are clean, and the pool is maintained to a very high standard which has made the long challenge all the more enjoyable.'

Lindsey Hedley - Milton Keynes

'My fitness journey started about six years ago when I joined a local gym to avoid traffic on the way home from work.

'Up until about five years ago I had tried pretty much everything from endless cardio to various diets and anything else I could find on social media. I was quite happy to go along each week night making it up as I went along but I still wasn't achieving what I wanted. To be honest I didn't know what I wanted but I just knew that what I was doing wasn't it!

'Just over a year ago I joined Bannatyne Milton Keynes as it was close to work so I could go on my lunch breaks. However, it wasn't until January that my fitness journey really changed after I hired Lloyd as my personal trainer. I chose to go down the personal training route because I felt like I needed a fresh mindset. After bingeing over Christmas, I simply couldn't be bothered anymore!

'Over the next six months we worked on the thing I loved the most which was weightlifting. MY PB's were growing week by week and I was feeling like I was getting to the place where I wanted to be. I felt strong and most importantly, I felt happy.

'Working with Lloyd helped me to push myself further than I ever have done, and the gym felt like it wasn't a chore, it became a hobby I loved. 

'Never wanting to be complacent, the past three months took me onto a new challenge where I have been working with Lloyd and a nutritionist to see how much body fat I could cut in three months. We all talk about getting 'ready for the beach' so I saw my upcoming holiday as the end goal.

'After seeing all these women looking lean and toned over social media I thought, 'How hard can it be?' It turns out, pretty hard, and you have to sacrifice a lot!

'Every day I have wanted to give up due to having to watch everything I eat and drink, though it wasn't all leafy salads and chicken, but I have pushed on through to where I am today. It took a support network of Lloyd, my nutritionist and my husband to get me through it. There have been good days and bad days but trusting and following all the guidance Lloyd has given me I know I can achieve my end goal.'

Mihaela Larisa Arama - Luton

'In the seven months I have been a member of Bannatyne's, I have lost around 14kg. Joining the gym for me wasn't about losing weight, but about feeling better in myself and in turn, looking better. 

'It's not all about kilograms, it's about feeling better, happier, more energetic and more toned. Since March, I have transformed from a 'tired turtle', almost depressed, to a smiley, optimistic and really active person. 

'I learned to jump, to run, to build my strength, to box, I am a completely new person! I am still fighting to accomplish my targets, but I'm certainly in much better shape than before. 

'My life has changed since I joined Bannatyne's and met such a wonderful team of instructors, each one of them involving themselves to help members achieve their goals. I would like to say a special thanks to Adam and Maciej, they have helped me to achieve my goals and also helped me to enjoy going to the gym.'

Lucy - Fairfield

We have caught up with Lucy Piper, a member of our Fairfield Club, about her Fitness Journey with Bannatyne. 

Lucy said: ''The gym has never been something I've thought I would enjoy. When moving to Bedfordshire with my boyfriend for two months over the summer, I said that I would join the gym in the aim of getting fitter and losing some weight. I wanted somewhere nicer than most places so chose Bannatyne Fairfield. It was exactly what I wanted; clean, and with friendly staff. 

''Another thing I'd never seen myself doing was personal training. After having an induction with Selma, we booked in for four personal training sessions including a nutrition one. I have enjoyed all of these and Selma has made me feel confident in going to the gym, teaching me how to use the machines and what I should be aiming for to be able to reach my goal of losing weight and getting fit. She's made it fun and interesting and the hour flies by which is always a bonus!

''My confidence on the machines meant that I was still using them even when I went on my own, which I aimed to do 4-5 times a week. On my last session with Selma I went back on the InBody machine and in the space of two weeks, i reduced my body fat percentage by 4% and increased my muscle by 2%. I was very proud of myself for doing this in such a short space of time, this has given me even more motivation to carry on when going back home and joining the Ashford Bannatyne. 

''Without Selma, I wouldn't have done this as she taught me what I need to be doing now to continue my journey. My whole experience at Bannatyne has been brilliant and I have enjoyed every bit.''

Nicola - Ingleby Barwick

A massive 'well done' to our Ingleby Barwick member, Nicola Stevens, who completed the Great North Run yesterday! 

Nicola first thought about taking part in the Great North Run 11 years ago, however a series of health issues including loss of sight, a failed kidney transplant followed by a kidney and pancreas transplant, prevented her from being able to do so. 

11 years on though Nicola has not been deterred and after training hard in the club and outdoors, raising money for Kidney Care UK, she completed the run in four and a half hours! 

Congratulations from all the staff at Bannatyne Ingleby Barwick! 

Matt - Mansfield

We have been chatting to Matt, a member of our Mansfield Club about his fitness journey. 

'At my heaviest, I was 102kg and I have gone from 36% body fat to 17%.' 

'I started a diet, concentrating on eating quality protein sources such as chicken & fish. I also enjoy protein shakes. I have also reduced the high amount of carbs I was eating and alcohol intake, overall making better nutritional choices. '

'I was determined to be the best I could be; It killed me at first, but I never gave up. I made a promise to myself to see my abs by summer. I have enjoyed taking part in classes including speedflex, B-Strong & B-Conditioned, boxercise and regular weight training sessions.'

Jamie, Matt's personal trainer at Bannatyne Mansfield, said; 'Matt's work ethic in the gym has been nothing but inspiring. Every class he comes to he puts 100% effort in and is seeing the rewards.' Matt's an absolute pleasure to coach and is a perfect example of a strong work ethic being the route to success.' 

Simon Leonard - Kingsford Park