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Helen Hetherington

I run because I never thought I could. But inexplicably, after 3 years of watching BodyFit runners going past my house, I began to wish I was with them and so I signed up for the BodyFit Cumbria Beginner's Running course. It was a shaky beginning as each week my body protested with a new set of orthopaedic ailments, but it was too late, I'd been bitten by the running bug!

I keep going because I'm part of a team who support and encourage and teach me how to run safely. I've learned that there's no such thing as a slow runner; it's okay to be at the front, and it's okay to be at the back. And there's no such thing as an old runner, my post retirement age is irrelevant.

And I keep going because I'm getting better, and each personal best achievement inspires to me carry on and aim higher. I feel great!

Helen Hetherington, April 2017.

Message from Sam: Helen is an excellent role model and her current 5K time is 32:45 minutes (April 2017), having improved from 39:51 minutes when she did her first 5K after completing our Beginner Running Course in December 2016. Well done Helen. Keep at it!

I used to be a pretty good runner. At school I was more of a sprinter, but I could tackle cross-country too, and I enjoyed it. Long-jump, high-jump...egg-and-spoon, I loved athletics, but fitness wasn't really something I ever thought about. I just had fun, and it meant I could avoid playing football.

Ian and Juliet

Well into my twenties I could eat what I wanted, but like a lot of students in the 90s I smoked and drank but didn't exercise. By 2003, following a 2-year European jaunt, I had turned 30 and started a desk-job at the hospital. On-and-off, I managed to sustain a gym membership long enough to see some results, but it bored me and my gains were soon lost. In general, I proceeded to become less fit each year until I found myself at 37 weighing 220 lbs and getting out of breath at the top of the stairs.

I was primed to be inspired and bumped into a colleague from a couple of years earlier. I barely recognised her. She was glowing and slim, she looked incredible. Her secret was running. Her secret was BodyFit Cumbria and Sam Ayers in particular. I still smoked, drank and ate what I wanted, and I knew had to do something to stop me sailing into my forties as a statistic. I sent off my payment and waited nervously for the start date...

I needn't have worried. Except for Coach Sam, no one was a glowing example of fitness. That's why we were there after all; we all had one thing in common, we were motivated, all for different reasons. We wanted to change, and we did...

My clearest memory, from Week 2 of the 10-week course, is wondering how I was ever going to manage to run for 3 minutes without stopping. Needless to say, I did... then 5 minutes, then 10, then 30!

To run a 5-kilometre course after 10 weeks was the original goal, and we all did it. The most important achievement for me is that 6 years later, whilst I'm not breaking any records, I'm still running and I love it. The friends I run with are cheerful and positive. Running class is one of the few places where I feel like myself. I can't ever imagine not running.

The 2010 Spring Term Running for Beginners class changed me. I'm 20lbs lighter and haven't smoked or drank for the last 5 years. Running gave me back my life and helped me to turn a year-on-year decline in fitness on its head.

I still have the odd wobble with my healthy eating, but whether I'm having a good term or a bad term Sam's support is unwavering. She's one of the most patient and inspirational people I know and with her support I'm still getting fitter and quicker. I must mention the other coaches, especially Jo and Rachel, who are awesome and every bit as motivating.

This year my first half-marathon beckons...I'll do that too, with Sam's other secret weapon...a Positive Mental Attitude!

Ian Donnan, April 2017.

In late 2008, I was ready to accept a life of compromises. Then I met Sam! At my first PT session, I barely managed a very easy 5 mile bike ride. My fitness appraisal contained scary words like obese and hypertension. Today, I'm very nearly at a goal weight that only existed in my dreams and training to cycle 150 miles from Seascale to Whitby in a day.

Throughout my journey, I've called on many of the excellent skills and qualities that Sam has in abundance. Her motivational skills are second to none and her holistic approach is a real bonus. Sam's common sense approach and infectious enthusiasm has converted some of my dafter ideas into challenging but achievable goals. A true professional, completely committed to ensuring your success, she really has made the difference.

Sue Templeman, February 2013

Message from Sam: Sue has done brilliantly and is still in training with us at BodyFit. She's continuing to work hard on eating healthily and now follows an achievable exercise routine. It's been great working with you Sue.

Sue before training with BodyFit Sue after training with BodyFit
Alastair Clarke

For some years, I had been trying to get fit again, trying all sorts of plans that can be found on the Internet: Couch potato to 5K in three months, three weeks, even 3 days if you believe the hype. I've bought kit to motivate me. I've set targets. Nothing has worked for me until now. A friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to a group that was starting a Beginners Running Course in January 2015. It would cost me money. I could pay per week, or pay for the full term in one go. I chose to pay up front on the premise that if I'd spent the money, I'd turn up.

January 2015 came - frosty, and I started the course, feeling rather intimidated. I'm not slim and a tracksuit has never been flattering on me. However, Sam and the team were welcoming, and there were quite a number of people who seemed to be just as anxious as I was. The team put our minds at rest and started the program at the perfect pace for a professional couch potato; run for one minute, then walk one minute! The course looked worrying on paper; thoughts of running 10 minutes in one go, without any break, frightened me somewhat. I'd never keep up. They even said we'd be running non-stop for twenty minutes in a couple of months. They said many things that I did't believe for one moment!

In April of that year, I ran in the Keswick ParkRun. I didn't walk, I didn't stop for a rest, I ran it - non-stop! Yes, someone walked past me as I was running, but that didn't matter to me. Since then I have kept with the BodyFit Runners group. Each time I run, someone is there, running alongside me. If I'm flagging someone jogs with me, if I'm on form, someone else challenges me. I was out running with another couple from BodyFit along the Lorton Valley recently. Another of our runners told me later: "I passed you in the car and your face was a picture of determination! I commented to my Other Half: 'See that runner, he did 'beginners' last year and now he's doing Lorton 10k!!'" I never dreamed I'd run 5K non-stop, let alone training for a race. I now have the running bug, and I blame all these new friends I have found in BodyFit!

Alastair Clarke, February 2016.

Physio Workshop

I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and it gave me lots more ideas to be doing with people at different stages of rehab... and some challenges for myself! I found Sam really engaging and enjoyed her style of teaching which was very easy to go with and gave you confidence to challenge yourself. She might be sorry you told us about her 'Ask Sam' page, I'm all for asking them! Please pass on my thanks and appreciation to her and the satisfaction that there are more of us with 'like minds' and we're all trying to aim for the same things.

Feedback from a core stability workshop delivered by Sam to the Cumbria Branch of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, November 2015.

Lynn at the Workington Parkrun 5K

I would like to say thanks Sam for the Beginners Running Course which has been on since the end of April. I enjoyed the course and found the pace okay for me, and I was one of the slowest I wanted to keep on running as I did not want all the hard work to go to waste so booked on to the summer running sessions.

I was not sure how I would cope being with people who had done a lot of running but felt confident in your coaching and knew that you would take my abilities into account. At the Monday night session I found that there were only two others from the beginners group there and they had been in the "faster" group. This could have put me off; but because of the way you structured the session I felt that I was challenged but I did not feel as if I held anyone up because of the way you set me my own tasks which suited my abilities.

On Thursday I attended the next session and was pleased to see more of the beginners running group there so felt in good company, although the hill reps were hard (I was grateful for the rests you built in for us new runners), I felt I got a lot from this session as well. I am just sorry I cannot make all of the sessions you are running over the summer but will get to as many as I can. I feel confident with my running now and I have entered a 10k race in August!

Thanks again Sam

Lynn Trussell, July 2013

Ann Garside

Before starting the Beginner's Class I had always wanted to be able to run. I would see other women out running and think I wish I could do that. I have tried over the last few years but could never really get the hang of it and after a few weeks of ten minute runs I would give up. Then last February half term, my friend Michelle mentioned she was going to sign up for your class so I thought I would join too.

I was really apprehensive on the first night; I am not the most agile of people and I have really, really bad memories of being made to feel absolutely useless during PE at school, (I am 44 now and can still remember them vividly). From that first night and all subsequent weeks I felt really enthused, supported and encouraged by yourself and Hazel. I think the schedule was fantastic - it really seemed to work and was just the right balance of being challenging but achievable. I completed the course with a real sense of achievement, I can now confidently put my trainers on and run 5k.

So a big thank you to BodyFit.

Since the course has finished I have continued to run three times a week and have managed on a few occasions to get to 8k. I am now really looking forward to the Intermediate Class where I hope to learn how to run a little faster and further.

In summary, the course was brilliant and I would recommend it without reservation.

Ann Garside, September 2013

Anne on the Celtman Swim

Congratulations to Anne-Marie who completed the incredible challenge of the Celtman last week. The photos show how rough the conditions were.

Sam coached me remotely for 6 months from the beginning of 2013 to prepare me for the Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon. Much of my training took place in the heat, dust, humidity and flatness of the Saudi-Arabian Peninsula - quite unlike Scotland! Sam was always on hand to review my training, and was responsive and flexible to my changing environment and the challenges it presented, (nutrition changes, weather changes thwarting outside training, and jet lag). I highly recommend Sam as a coach - her professionalism, encouragement and support helped me achieve my triathlon goal. Thank you.

Anne-Marie Frankland, July 2013

Anne on the Celtman Run
Greg ice climbing in Italy

The training programme devised and delivered by Rachel Mellor and Sam Ayers proved immensely effective in helping me to meet the physical and psychological challenges of an ice climbling trip to Cogne in the Italian Alps. Rachel coached me through a progressively demanding programme which included exercises designed to specifically mimic the type of body movement and levels of exertion encountered when climbing, increase my endurance and cope better with my limiting fear of running out of strength. I found Bodyfit Personal Training professional in their approach, to have a comprehensive understanding of sports science, inventive, and that use humour brought enjoyment to the process.

Greg Matteini, February 2013

I have trained with Sam over the past couple of years with running and core fitness classes and more recently personal training advice. Irrespective of the training, Sam's ability to coach me for MY needs and at MY level has always been a constant. Sam is challenging but always supportive, knowledgeable and completely professional.

Sam is not at all daunting or unapproachable. That's why I keep coming back!

Tracy Foster, March 2013

Tracy Foster
Katie Lowles

Congratulations to Katie Lowles on her recent selection to represent England at the 2013 Worlds Schools Orienteering Championships at Monte Gordo in Portugal. This is Katie's first 'National' vest. Katie is a member of our Monday 6pm Running Class.

All in all, a good show for Cockermouth School and the physical training and professional coaching provided by Sam's BodyFit Running Classes.

Proud Dad Ian Lowles, December 2012

I would have no hesitation in recommending Sam as a personal trainer. She is the consummate professional who gives you 100%, is patient, very aware that overcoming life's stumbling blocks are the hardest part to getting fit, is always positive and has every confidence in people's ability. Her enthusiasm is infectious and she is very good at what she does.

Alison on Blake Fell having lost over three stone

I approached Sam with a goal of losing weight in conjunction with getting fit with the hope that my self-worth would improve which at the time was very low. I had, (for more years than I should admit), avoided physical exercise and had used all the excuses in the book and more not to partake in it. I had a target weight loss of 5 stone of which up to press I have lost 3½ stone and still losing. 18 months ago I would have laughed if someone had suggested I could cycle for 10 miles plus, had entered a 10K road race, twisted my body into all sorts of balancing contortions on a gym ball and to top all of that ENJOYS running round the streets of Cockermouth on a Monday night. I am looking forward to doing the Race for Life and when I am 50 (in 2010), with any luck, I'll be doing the Great North Run.

Alison practising agility ladder drills

New Year 1993 I walked up to the top of Blake Fell, with difficulty but I made it. Over Christmas and New Year 2008/9, I walked up Blake Fell 3 times in the week - it has taken me 16 years and I look up at Blake every day through my kitchen window. If it had not been for Sam's help, guidance, encouragement and her belief in my ability I would still only be looking up at Blake rather than down to my house.

Thank you Sam.

Alison Wilson, 2009

In giving Samantha Ayers a reference, I do so in the knowledge that I will be giving my support to a person who is not only on top of her profession, but a person who takes an interest in everyone of her clients with whom she comes in contact. She has the gift of being able to listen and able to put into practise whatever her client requires. She is one of the most dedicated people it has been my pleasure to know.

Dennis Patinson 2006

Since starting a course with Sam this time last year I have regained a level of fitness that I haven't felt since before I had my children. As my youngest is now 21 years old, this is no mean achievement. I have been complemented on my slimmer figure and muscle tone on my legs and arms. I have found Sam to be very patient and supportive, instilling in me confidence and a will to succeed. This is one of my best purchases ever and my monthly session together with my much improved fitness and well being keeps me motivated to continue with the regime.

Olwyn Byrne, 2005