Tina with her first full headstand
I was prompted to join Phoenix Strength 12 months ago for various reasons but mostly because I was doing a lot of boot camp style training and wanted something to complement that but which focused on skill and strength training. The bonus for me was the convenience of having the classes on my door step but also committing to a monthly payment scheme (because this ensures I will always go….) but also the nutritional part of the training Natalie was offering. However, up until 5 weeks ago I had paid little attention to the nutrition side and thought training alone would be enough…
As a group or individually we talk about food – a lot! I had a good chat with Natalie about my goals and whether Natalie genuinely thought I could achieve the lean look I was looking for….she said absolutely right but you need to commit to it…commit I did and I have followed regular training sessions with eating clean and this has made a significant difference to my shape and I am further forward in reaching my goals than I have ever been – despite regularly working out for the last 10 years (plus some!).
Without Natalie’s confidence and encouragement I would not be as far ahead as I am now but also the support of fellow Phoenix members makes it a fun and supportive environment – I love it!
Over the past year I have enjoyed a combination of group and PT training. I enjoy the group training as I am motivated by others in the group (we all perform better at different things) and it is genuinely fun. I enjoy the PT because it pushes the training to the next level and I have been able to work on weight work. I also love the mixture of indoor/outdoor classes.
I have benefited both in improving general fitness and strength and my improved confidence and energy has been noted at work at a very senior level.
In terms of results – I have toned up, changed body shape, shed fat, improved core strength and improved mobility massively.
If anyone was in doubt about whether the time and financial investment is worth it – I’d say give it a go for a minimum of 2-3 months to get a true reflection.
My lifestyle has completely changed (although it’s still a work in progress) and I have made great friends along the way.
I had always thought that I was a fairly fit and healthy person. I regularly played football and used the local council gym for activities like running on treadmills and cross training machines. I also felt that therefore I would continue to eat what I like when I like. But with the pressures of work and age catching up on me, now heading into 30s, I definitely fell into the trap of convenience eating and shopping. I was getting far too close to 14 stone and a BMI reading in high 20s.
My partner had joined up with a local class within the Woolwich Arsenal. She would come home telling me about the experience of training outdoors with a group of ladies all with completely different levels of fitness. All coached through Natalie. I noticed how my partner was starting to shift lbs and I thought that if she is seeing success so quick it’s about time I did this for myself.
Fortunately for me Natalie had just opened up a second location at the Fitness First Strand. I decided to take a complimentary session and instantly the realisation I wasn’t nearly as fit as I thought hit me hard. The classes seemed well organised with Natalie coaching everyone through the techniques required to complete the various work outs of the day. It didn’t matter that I was clearly at a novice level of understanding. I was very quickly brought up to speed and digging in with the class but guided by Natalie what weight I should be working with etc. I never thought I’d be performing head and handstands as part of a routine but it certainly opened my eyes to how weak my core is. And yet a few weeks on I’m already feeling stronger. I’ve lost over a stone in about 6 weeks and several inches of body fat.
Although the cost at first seemed a little higher than what I was paying for my council gym I soon realised I was getting huge benefits with the fit and functional class and therefore worth every penny more. What’s more is Natalie has opened up even more classes between The Strand and Woolwich which has made it possible for my partner and I to train more than just twice a week. The best thing about this class hasn’t just been the coaching and techniques learnt but the opinions and motivation from people within the group too. We all discuss lessons learnt from different sessions, different foods or recipes, cookbooks and writers etc. For me this hasn’t just been a change of gym scenery but a completely new healthier lifestyle.
As soon as I moved to Royal Arsenal, I wanted to get involved in some sort of fitness group. I lack motivation by myself in the gym, so wanted to join a group where I would be pushed to work hard and hopefully see some results. I tried some of the other health and fitness groups around which were fun and different, but it wasn’t until I went along to Phoenix Strength that I knew where I wanted to commit my time regularly. Nat was (and is!) so knowledgable and interested in coaching that it really made me want to attend as many sessions as I could. I’ve made some really good friends and feel well supported and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to get fit and make a lifestyle change.
I wanted to get out of bad habits in weight training and also lose weight in the process. Starting from scratch with my posture when lifting weights has shown me greater results and highlighted how little benefit I was getting before. Fairly new to the training but already seeing greater strength and some definition. I have taken the sessions and used them in my own personal training time. Less intimidated by free weights. It will radically change perceptions you have about how to achieve your goals. Sometimes less is more with weights if doing them properly, with the correct form and Natalie is eradicating bad habits.
I started my journey with Natalie at Phoenix Strength at the end of January. My goal was to achieve a certain amount of weight loss in time for my holiday in August and my sisters wedding in September. My weight at the start was 198lbs. At first I started attending the Sunday morning class at Woolwich Arsenal. As I was a beginner and had very limited experience on training but I found Natalie was very patient and very encouraging. She started me off with movement and strength exercises to see how far I could push myself. Although each week I came away from class feeling stronger, I still felt I wasn’t shifting the kind of weight I wanted. After a chat with Natalie and a few of the ladies in the class, it was brought to my attention that maybe I was not eating the right things. I would regularly skip breakfast and lunch then have a big meal for dinner thinking it was ok as I hadn’t consumed that many calories during the day. So it was put to me to try and ‘Clean Eat’ for 2 weeks, breakfast, lunch and dinner and to plan ahead. I was encouraged to read up on certain authors with different perspectives but the same goal in mind. I was now telling myself that food is simply fuel for my body. Eating this way instantly helped me see just how unhealthy skipping meals was and really importantly to me, how poor my child ate too. I prepared all our meals so there was no thinking about what I was going to eat and when. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders as I no longer needed to worry. The food I was eating tasted fresh and light compared to what I ate before. After the 2 weeks was up I discovered with both the class and food choices I had shifted more weight than I had the previous 5 weeks combined. I have continued to make this my life style. I feel so much better and the weight continues to fall off me.
I now attend 2-3 classes a week and with this I feel my fitness has improved massively. Each class we do opens my eyes to something different. It’s never the same work out. Each part of the body is being worked differently with every routine. I’ve tried exercises that I never believed I would attempt. I had been conscious about lifting weights before but now it feels incredible. The direction and energy Natalie brings to the class each time is simply amazing. The format of the class is incredibly fun too. She coaches us as a group and individually, identifying our specific capabilities and pushing us at the right time. She has brought all of us together so we can talk about what we find challenging or fun etc. We have become little community, helping each other achieve our goals. Now we look forward to meeting the next crop of people coming through.
Currently I proudly weigh 173lbs and I am continuing to lose while gaining strength and confidence too. I joined this class to achieve a weight loss goal for August, I can honestly say it will not stop there with Phoenix Strength classes. Natalie has helped change my life style for the better and feel amazing for it. Why wouldn’t I continue?