Focus Training student Dana Huggins has just competed in the UK BFF Finals in Nottingham last weekend. She is, undeniably, in fantastic shape and has worked incredibly hard to achieve outstanding results.
However, for Dana this has not always been the case and she wants to use her story to inspire others to adopt more fit and healthy lifestyles. Here’s what she says.
“I weighed 15 stone at 5 foot 3 inches, a size 20. My diet was poor and I drank alcopops, too many of them. I worked in an office and didn’t move much at all. As a child I had suffered bullying. My mum was a great cook, which also had its downsides and unfortunately my mum had lots of medical issues herself. It got to the point where I looked at mum and thought, that’s going to be me in the not too distant future if I don’t do something about it.
“Taking the first step was daunting. My preconception of the gym was that it was going to be full of muscly men and uber fit women. Once I got through the door I realised that just wasn’t the case. I was soon encouraged by my progress. I lost 3.5 stone in the first 2 years, attending the gym 3 times a week at first. I noticed how much my breathing improved and stepped it up to 4 – 5 times a week. Initially I was totally into cardio training and I went on to lose another 4 stone in a year.
“I decided I’d like to do more weights and worked with the Personal Trainer at the gym, that’s when I saw real changes to my body, so much so that I set myself a goal of entering the UK BFF (Body Building and Fitness Federation) North West qualifiers in Warrington.
“I couldn’t believe it when I achieved 3rd place and gained one of just 30 invitations to compete in the national finals in Nottingham. I never set out with any of this in mind, and would never have imagined I could have achieved this, it just became a challenge that I knew I could meet. My passion for fitness is now so strong that I want to help others. I’d like to become a fitness blogger and hopefully become a full time Personal Trainer. That’s why I’ve started training with Focus to gain the knowledge to underpin my career. I’ve completed the Level 2 Gym Instructor and plan to do the Level 3 after Christmas. Having previously
been a member at David Lloyd I’d seen groups of Focus students in the gym there and so I approach them to find out more. I qualified for an Advanced Learner Loan to fund the qualification, which is great, but the main benefit about Focus Training is the style of learning they offer. The blended learning approach really works for me, I loved the practical days and found that suited me best. I’m a kinesthetic learner, I prefer to learn by seeing and doing and the weekends give you the chance to really practice your skills and talk to tutors on a one to one basis.”
Alongside dramatic improvements to her health and fitness levels, Dana has discovered a new zest for life and a real ‘can do’ attitude. She promotes self-love and believes wholeheartedly in a healthy body and healthy mind. Despite the sad loss of both her parents within 4 years of each other Dana is determined to continue to reach her goals. Dana shared a love of motorbikes with her Dad but when he tragically died in a bike accident she couldn’t face the prospect of being around a bike again. Her solution was to overcome that fear by taking the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course, which she passed earlier this year.
For the past 12 weeks Dana’s been sticking to a strict training regime in preparation for the UKBFF Finals. 5am starts with HIIT cardio training before her 9 to 5 job and then back in the gym in the evening. She’s been consuming 6 meals a day, carefully planned with macros weighed and measured to the gram.
Dana competed in the Body Fitness class at the championships and hoped to impress the judges with a series of mandatory poses to demonstrate muscle separation, symmetry, poise and elegance. Despite being in great form, unfortunately she didn’t get placed. She commented:
“The journey has been fantastic. I’ve made some fantastic friends and I’m going to continue. There were 30 women in my class and unfortunately it overran which then meant it was all a bit too rushed. After I’ve enjoyed a bit of downtime, I’m going to continue to train in the off season, build my legs and gluts and then I’ll be back, probably trying a different Federation next year.”
Before then, however, Dana’s next challenge is to climb Kilimanjaro and she’ll be setting off on Boxing Day with a view to summit on New Year’s Day. She’s raising money for an anti-bullying charity and if you would like to support her you can visit her Just giving page here.
If Dana has inspired you to take your fitness career to the next level, contact us to discuss Personal Trainer courses coming to a venue near you…