Liz E, Brighton, England

I’m pear shaped and probably have done just about everything in an effort to lose that last 10 (or so) pounds off my lower half. I’ve experienced every fad diet since the early 80's. I've run 10K’s, done regular ashtanga yoga, spent hours hunched over Stair Masters; I’ve aerobicised with Jane Fonda tapes, rowed, taken spin classes, boxed, kick boxed, biked the London to Brighton, hiked mountains and pretty much stayed the same shape—small on top and bigger on the bottom. In fact, if I lost weight, it would pretty much be off my upper half leaving my lower half the same. By the time I hit forty I had pretty much given up and had stopped all workouts that were going nowhere and exhausting me. I then decided I've either got to find something that works or accept my pear shaped fate.

After a bit of research I was intrigued by the idea of ‘shaping’ my body through weight training. This caught my interest for two reasons:

One: I was beginning to feel the niggles of my age with shoulder pain I developed from an old yoga injury, and persistent lower back pain. This was really bothering me because I found myself constantly warning my kids not to pull my arm or jump on me in fear of them injuring me further. When your kids are so excited to see you after school that they want to leap on you, the last thing you want to do is say, “Don’t do that, you’ll hurt me.” I hated feeling old and fragile so gaining strength seemed like a positive step forward.

Two: Strength training was the only way where women with my shape were able to transform their bodies to a more proportional shape and look utterly amazing- strong and sexy. I also had read a number of studies that showed that problems with ageing such as weight gain, injuries and pain are attributed to muscle loss.
Maintaining muscle is hugely important as we age. Muscle was also essential with increasing metabolism. I had also read a number of studies questioning the value of constant cardio. I had friends that wanted to try group fitness programs (where you get yelled at through drills) but I didn’t want to do another cookie cutter workout. I wanted something tailored to me and my shape. I thought I would give strength training a try.

With my concerns of my back and shoulder I decided to use a personal trainer so that I would know what I was doing, develop some confidence, and prevent myself from getting hurt. I must admit that despite having been in gyms for decades, I was nervous. This was all very new for me and I wasn't sure what to expect. Personal trainers I had many years ago just sat by the machines and counted ‘reps’ in a bored voice. I was afraid I would not be taken seriously or that I would be horribly embarrassed by my lack of strength. What I wanted was both to learn what to do to shape my body and be motivated to continue.

Livia was recommended to me by a woman who said, “If you do what Livia says, you’re body will change as you want.” She had done all the things I did in the past and Livia had helped her change her figure for the first time. So I scheduled training sessions with Livia.

Livia has been amazing. She provides a personalised program that she shows you how to do with a lovely mix of kindness and motivation. She is detail oriented, focused and passionate. She teaches you to keep excellent form and listen to your body to prevent injury and create optimal results. During sessions she is constantly working you to push to a level you can handle while keeping it safe and enjoyable. Everything is ‘doable’ and everything can be modified.

Strength training is hard work but also addictive because you quickly see your body re-shaping. It may not for some be seen immediately as a number loss on the scale, but there are so many non scale progress areas that the scale doesn't even matter. As a result of working with her, my figure is changing for the first time since I was a teenager. I have muscle definition where I’ve never had it before. This isn’t bulk at all. In fact, I’ve not increased in size at all but replaced fat with muscle and become more solid and lean. My husband is constantly saying how my shape is changing like he’s never seen before. My thighs are strong, solid and getting smaller and my hips are even shrinking. My upper body is not becoming emaciated but instead is becoming strong and defined creating a more proportional figure.

Having strength has done more for me than just adjusted my shape. I’ve become more confident in myself and I have absolutely no lower back pain or shoulder pain. My kids, even my 10 year old son, can now do a running leap onto me and I have no worries about being injured. Additionally, having strength has given me so much more energy. In the past I always believed doing loads of cardio gave you energy, but cardio used to tire me out. I wished I found strength training years ago. I’m still working on transforming my figure, but for the first time I actually don’t mind that this is a process that takes time even though I still have farther to go to reach my goal. What I have gained so far is so wonderful and I’m happy to be where I’m at and excited to continue on this path toward my goal.

I work with Livia every 8 weeks to get a new plan so that I continue to progress. I look forward to these sessions since she is non-judgemental and solution oriented. Livia is always available for questions and is genuinely interested in my progress which helps keep me motivated. If you are looking for a plan that ‘works’, I would highly recommend giving Livia a chance to help you. You won’t regret it. Liz E., Brighton

4th April 2013

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