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I started personal training when a friend said how good it was…

I started personal training when a friend said how good it was, “they really push you,” she said. So I approached Richard to see if he would be willing to take me on. “Not a prob” he said. However I decided to be vewwy vewwy quiet about it in case of failure. You know the drill - you start off with resolutions and think by telling everyone about them it will keep you motivated. So in my case if I failed only Richard and myself would know.

At the first consultation Richard quizzed my eating habits. Dinner - not all the time (bad), breakfast - occasionally (v.v.bad).

I had always worked on the theory that if you didn’t eat breakfast and skipped dinner you could have a bad lunch and it would balance out!

Next Richard weighed, measured and pinch-tested me. I was starting to get a bit worried in case he had a side line in white slavery and I would end up on a slow boat to Morocco, and I thought if he checks my teeth I’m outta here.

Once these were documented the training started. “I tend to take it a bit easier on the first session” he said. Well he could have fooled me - my stomach felt like I had internal injuries by end. And to make matters worse the next night I went to a comedy club and ohh the pain when I laughed.

However I survived the first session, and then the second. By the third I thought my luck had changed, ‘cause I’m sure Richard said, “let’s go for a rum”, and whilst I don’t drink rum, I thought a scotch might be nice or perhaps he might spring for one of those fancy cocktails. So while I was in a dreamland wondering if they still decorate the drinks with those fancy umbrellas, he said “ a run”. WHAT!!!

I stated flatly that I don’t run, and Richard - who I discovered suffers from SD (Selective Deafness) - completely ignored me and said, “lets go”. So with eyebrows lowered so far they were obscuring my vision and mouth like a cat’s bum, we set off.

After a while my legs are like lead and my lungs are collapsing. Meanwhile Richard continues to run and chat, while I can only grunt in reply. I also discovered that Richard has an innate sense of self -preservation and instinctively knew to run far enough away from me, so my hand couldn’t ‘accidently’ hit him, so he would feel a tiny bit of the pain I was going through.

The benchmark had been set, and now I started to get up early a few mornings a week and went running. Since I’ve never run, and am not a natural runner I had a routine and would stop at a certain phone box. This phone box became my promised land, and once I reached it I would stop and walk the rest of the way home. Thus next time we ran I, as usual, stopped at the phone box. “What’s the matter”, Richard asked. “The phone box”, I gasped, “this is where I stop”. He then prodded me in the back and said to keep going.
Eyebrows lowered, mouth like a cat’s bum, again, I kept running. Now he had increased what I had to achieve each time I ran.

Next came the hill sprints with the GIANT RUBBER BAND attached. Now this was nasty stuff, and Richard, with a bit more sensitivity than I gave him credit for, realises I’m not happy and kindly offers to carry my house keys. Gee, thanks Richard. That one sixteenth of a kilo I don’t have to lug up the hill is going to make all the difference. However it is an olive branch and I grunt quite kindly to him.

Then one day while reading a magazine (I mean you’ve gotta keep up with the Hollywood gossip), I saw a picture of Kate Moss in a bikini - and she looked really good, even though it was probably only a week after she had her baby. So I said to Richard “can I look like her”, and to give the man credit he didn’t guffaw and slap his thigh laughing out loud, but considered it and said yes, it would be possible. Hard work, but possible.

I had 10 weeks in order to achieve this goal, and so the training intensified with lunges, rowing, cycling, stomach crunches, tricep work and that bloody white fitball of his. I would often scream at Richard, “Nooooo, I don’t want to look like Kate Moss - I changed my mind I wanna look like Kirsty Alley after an eating binge. However Richard uses his SD to good effect and just says “ 8 more, and slowly”.

But along the way my weight dropped off, I started to develop muscle and my clothes were getting looser, then people started to comment. Not only family and friends but also a lot of my customers and even Steve my hairdresser said “ooh, haven’t you lost weight” - which is pretty good considering I was sitting there with a big black sheet covering my body. Onya Steve, you’re now officially on my Christmas card list.

And on to Richard who helped me achieve this. I find him to be one of the most positive, motivated, upbeat people I know. At first I thought he was taking a truckload of Prozac, but now think that’s just his personality.

He has pushed me, motivated me and been with me every step of the way. And whilst what I have achieved is not Everest, I think for me personally it’s pretty damn close, and I think we are all very, very lucky to have Richard as a trainer.

Norma Oxley

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