Laura Jones discovered her love of fitness after losing 4 stone and transforming her own lifestyle, she reviews her journey to become a Personal Trainer with our online YMCA Awards Level 2 and 3 Combined Course.
I've been overweight and avoiding exercise my entire life. At school I was the girl who always forgot her kit or forged a note to get out of PE.
I tried every single diet possible... always managing to lose a few stone but then inevitably regaining the weight I'd lost plus a bit more.
By the time I reached my early thirties I'd had three babies and gained three cumulative lots of baby weight. I was struggling to fit into size 20 clothes and weighed in excess of 18 stone.
The turning point came for me one afternoon playing badminton on the lawn with my family. I was out of breath within seconds and realised that I was less fit and able than my 85-year-old Grandma. I was 33.
I started the next day. Reduced my calories and stopped mindlessly consuming chocolate and biscuits.
Within 6 months I'd lost 4 stone and a friend asked me if I'd like to go for a run. I went and only managed 200 metres before I needed to walk. But I'm stubborn and I wanted to run, so I kept practising, making myself run a bit further each time before I let myself walk.
Eventually I could manage 5km, then 10km, then a half marathon...
After that I joined a gym and started lifting weights. I completely fell in love with exercise and the way it makes me feel. I'm proud to be setting a positive example to my children and as a result of my lifestyle change, they are much more active too.
Until I fell pregnant with my youngest daughter, I had a successful career in the travel industry. I enjoyed elements of it but the thought of going back to a desk job filled me with horror...
I started thinking whether I had the courage to make a huge change.
One of the things that brings me most joy whilst I've been on this journey is when people tell me they feel inspired to make a change to their own lifestyle; to download couch to 5k and start running, to go along to a class at the gym or just to blow the dust off an exercise DVD and get moving!
The idea that I might be able to make motivating and inspiring other people part of my job makes me incredibly happy.
After deciding I wanted to retrain as a Personal Trainer I started researching my options. My girls are still very young and I needed something that I could fit around being a Mum and helping to run my husband's building business.
ICS Learn ticked every single box for me and from the very first call I made I felt confident that they genuinely wanted to help me succeed.
Studying from home means I can literally do it whenever suits - I've even taken an exam in the early hours of the morning before my children were awake because that's what suited me.
My tutor Craig is on hand if I have any queries and my work is always marked and returned to me promptly.
I'd wholeheartedly recommend ICS Learn to anyone wanting the flexibility of learning from home but with a fantastic network of support behind them.
Inspired by Laura's story? Find out more about our online Personal Fitness courses.