Watching and following your favourite trainers and fitness fanatics online is way better in small bites, and the phenomenal rise of the Instagram fitness fanatic has given us all a way to get, hints, tips and work outs whenever we need. Not only do these fantastic trainers and fitness experts provide daily #fitspo they also have their own inspiring stories.
Beth is 22 years old, and studying for her final year of Bsc. Sport and Exercise Science degree. She combines this with working as a personal trainer, nutritional advisor and sports masseuse with her own health and fitness online coaching business.
Beth’s journey to health and fitness started in a rough place, suffering with undiagnosed IBS.
“The real start of my fitness journey was in 2013, and in some ways it’s what I like to call my blessing in disguise. I was admitted into hospital for investigation of chronic gastrointestinal issues, and over the subsequent months I was forced to re-evaluate my nutrition.”
The diagnosis and subsequent treatment was bolstered by Beth’s own determination to get better, healthier and fitter.
“I started going to the gym initially to just try and keep active, but lifting weights combined with healthier eating not only developed my physique, but my mindset too. This gave me the confidence to start sharing my journey across social media to hopefully help others in similar situations.”
It’s been two years since then and Beth continues to progress and follow her goals, holding talks at Bodypower and the Scottish National Fitness Expo, spreading her message about the importance of female training, nutrition, motivation and mind-set.
Jack was 16 when he chose to have his leg amputated, “It was the best decision I’ve ever made.” He says. Born with a condition called primal femoral focal deficiency, or PFFD, which prevents limbs from growing properly.
“My knee-joint didn’t work, being 6ft 2in (1.88m) without being able to bend your leg was impractical. I couldn’t run or play sports and even little things such as sitting at the cinema were difficult. Because of the way my foot was pointing I was constantly walking on my toes, which hurt a lot.”
“I was embarrassed about my leg and I didn’t like to tell people I was born with a condition,” says Eyers. “I discharged myself from all the physios helping me and went to a normal school. When I was younger I was into sport but then, as I became more body-conscious, I didn’t want people to see me without my trousers on. So I stopped exercise for about five years.”
Jack feels that having the opportunity to electively undergo an amputation was a huge life changer for him, “My artificial leg is just a free hinge so if you don’t stand on it right it will collapse, and falling over as a 16-year-old lad is embarrassing”. Learning to walk again was a hard but he discovered that sport and fitness was the way to improve his co-ordination and balance. He sticks to cardio and swimming as they support his strengths and don’t cause him any extra discomfort.
Eyers now works as a personal trainer and fitness model based in Bournemouth.
Five years ago James Sutliff woke up one morning feeling “a little unwell” and decided to have a nap, to sleep off a suspected hangover. “When I woke up again I could no longer speak properly.” three years of hospital and GP visits ensued before he was diagnosed with the neurological condition dystonia, which affects muscle contractions. “I started to read up on it and found I had a mild form compared to some people, I knew if I kept pitying myself I would end up a lot worse off than I am today. That’s when I turned my focus to fitness.”
James understandably felt bereft of a normal life, playing rugby and enjoying his work, and he realised that his confidence was at an all-time low “I went through some dark periods to say the least.”
To help alleviate some of his symptoms and build up his strength again James started about adjusting his workouts to suit his painful hand contractions. Having lost his job in plumbing due to his lack of dexterity his fitness routine became his sole focus and provided a lifeline in a bleak period.
“There are still some exercises I can’t do but I have special wrist supports that help me grip a bar when I’m lifting it, which has made a big difference.”
“I want to show that having a disability isn’t going to get in the way of achieving my goals. Hopefully anyone going through something tough will read this and feel the same.”
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2003 and having battled Ulcerative Colitis for the last 10 years I now have an Ileostomy and want to share my story with you. Blake had always dreamed of being in the fitness industry and competing at every level, but his dreams came to an abrupt end in 2003.
“I trained every day, weather it was on the track or in the gym. I worked hard to keep myself in shape and at the top of my game however as I hit my twenties training became harder and harder. I found the results of my hard work starting to disappear and had unexplained weight and muscle loss, became unusually fatigued, felt weaker, chronic pain in my stomach and as the months went on I started losing a little bit of blood when going to the toilet, the blood loss gradually got worse and it became more and more painful. I realised that something was wrong and that I needed to see a specialist as this wasn’t going away.”
Blake was only 21 when he was told of his life changing diagnosis and felt that he didn’t know where to turn or who to talk to, “it’s not really disease people are aware of or open up about.”
Then, in 2013, Blake suffered the worst flare up yet and had to undergo surgery at John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford to finally try to alleviate his pain. Blake underwent a sub-total colectomy laparoscopically and had to have his colon removed, and an ileostomy. Staying in hospital for a total of 6 weeks and losing nearly 3 stone.
“I really felt at this point like my life was over I knew I was in excellent hands but I still had so much going through my head that day – I am 32, and my perception was that old people have stomas. How would I continue day-to-day living? Could I train at the gym? What are people going to think? I never met anyone my age or a young person with a bag?”
Blake went back to training as much as possible after his ordeal to prove that it’s possible to fight the illness and the stigma. He has a lot of support from his family, groups and social media, he runs a hashtag group called #FightWithBlake if you want to follow his story.
Valerie Sagun doesn’t wait around for life to happen, she grabs it by the horns. Valerie, also known as “Big Gal Yoga” has an impressive list of job titles; yoga practitioner, installation artist, ceramicist, radical self-love enthusiast, and body positive encourager. She’s based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Valerie started her yoga practice at university, with yogi Lawrence Caughlan, believing that as long as you have the “determination, motivation, and patience anyone can do yoga.”
“Valerie’s yoga practice is about learning to love yourself physically and mentally through yoga. Learning to listen to your body, to know when to push it and when to protect it.”
Valerie has recently finished her undergraduate studies, a BA in Spatial Arts, she intends to focus on her yoga practice and connecting with the yoga community. She also completed the January 2016 200 Hour Hatha Yoga Training at the 7 Centers Yoga Arts in Sedona, Arizona.
Krystal, a Texas girl since birth has always been involved in sports, specifically softball. Playing little league, high school and college softball. “I’ve been athletic almost my whole life and I’m glad I was, because it taught me life lessons that I will forever be grateful for.”
When she left college she carried on her love of sports and endurance training and joined the ranks of the Tough Mudder fans, claiming 3 Tough Mudder headbands and 2 Spartan Race metals, in her first year of entering the contests.
Following on from her Tough Mudder training she got involved in CrossFit, this is in April of 2013, “It wasn’t the workout of the day that had me coming back for more; it was the coaches, the people, and the environment. I had never experienced anything like it and little did I know that it was going to save my life.”
But on August 2nd of 2013, Krystal was involved in a car accident that resulted in the amputation of my right arm above the elbow, thankfully she had a successful surgery, and was back in her apartment three days later. But the mental trauma was harder to deal with.
“I mentally prepared myself for what was to come, I lost a lot that day. I lost confidence in myself as a woman, I lost dreams and I lost a piece of me that I didn’t think I could ever get back. My arm was never and will never be something I consider as a loss, it was everything that the eye couldn’t see.”
Krystal was strong and chose to go back to CrossFit a month after the accident to prove to herself and others, that she was still the same strong-willed person since before the accident. Krystal began competing exactly three months after her accident as an adapted athlete at the 2013 Working Wounded Games.
Star of TV series “Little Women: Dallas” and body builder, Amanda Loy, needs no introduction. Born in Scottsdale, Arizona and diagnosed with hypochondroplasia, a more proportional type of dwarfism. She competes in the NPC body Building contests.
Amanda has been training as a bodybuilder for five years, so successfully that she competes in any league, rather than specialist contests.
“On stage, I personally would say it’s an advantage,” Amanda said about her height. “I’m an eye-catcher. You look down a line of girls who are 5-feet-tall, and they look the same. But then I’m standing there a foot below everybody and kind of stand out.”
Not content with kicking butt on the body building circuit and on screens across the US, she also describes herself as an “adrenaline junkie” and you can often find her jumping into water, shooting an arrow, and riding a bull.
Having an inspirational fitness guru to follow is great and will really help focus your workouts and regime, bolster that with the right food and PHD Nutrition and you will be unstoppable.