We caught up with Focus Training student and Personal Trainer Danielle Benson, as she was about to complete her Level 4 Obesity and Diabetes qualification, and asked her to tell us her life-changing story.
Danielle, 30, has reinvented herself over the past few years. She has completely reset her lifestyle and career, and is now loving her job as a self employed Personal Trainer, inspiring others to make changes for the better.
Having managed to shed an incredible 9 stone, almost half her body weight, she was inevitably frequently asked how she did it. The answer is no surprise; it was her commitment to reaching her goals through hard work at the gym.
Danielle had enjoyed her job as a travel rep after leaving school but then settled into a humdrum and pretty sedentary office job. When she reached 17 ½ stones she decided that it was time to act. She joined her local gym and was soon encouraged to join a team who signed up to complete the Born Survivor obstacle course. This provided a goal to work towards. It took Danielle 2 ½ hours to complete the course on her first attempt. It was gruelling, but she had got the bug. She told us:
“It was a 10k obstacle course, it was really hard work but I did it. 12 months later I did it again. This time I had entered the Elite wave which is a competitive race. I did the course in just 1hour 10 minutes.”
“As a result of my progress, my friends were asking me to help them. It was at this point that I first thought about a career in fitness however, I soon realised that I would need the proper qualifications. A family friend had previously worked for Focus Training so I knew that they were reputable and that the qualification and training would be good. It also suited me at the time to do my Personal Training Diploma from home so I could work it around my day job.
“The tutor support that I received from Focus was excellent, it was so easy to get any information that I needed. I attended David Lloyd at Trafford Park, Manchester on a couple of weekends to do the practical elements of the course.”
Danielle successfully applied for an Advanced Learning Loan to fund her Personal Trainer course. This Government funding scheme is currently available on eligible courses to anyone aged over 19 living in England.
Danielle’s career then took another significant turn. She was made redundant from her office job. With her foot already on the fitness career ladder she decided to invest her redundancy money in further fitness qualifications. Through her contacts she had noticed various gaps in the fitness provision in her local area. A number of gyms were crying out for qualified Aqua class tutors and she had also realised there would be opportunities for her to run aerobics classes. During the space of just a few weeks she added two more Level 2 qualifications to her portfolio, Exercise to Music and Aqua Instructor. She is also a qualified swimming instructor.
So now, Danielle has swapped the mundane, predictable 9 to 5 routine for a career that is full of variety and includes 10 hours at Endure Health and Fitness, two hours of aqua classes at Pure Leisure, some private personal training clients in the mornings and 3-5 hours as a swimming instructor during term time. She says:
“When you are doing something that you love it really doesn’t feel like work at all, and I prefer being self-employed because I can work the hours that I want to work. My PT business continues to grow, I have a range of clients, and some of them particularly identify with me because they recognise that I have been on the same journey that they are taking.”
It’s her own personal journey of weight loss that has driven her to study at the highest level for her Level 4 Obesity and Diabetes qualification. She believes she will be able to help many more people. At first she wasn’t sure that she could study at this level but after talking about the course content to one of Focus training’s tutors she was reassured and decided to go for it. She has this advice for anyone who feels the same:
“Before I started this qualification I thought it would be very difficult, but once I got into it, and thought about it, it was ok. You have support from Focus when you need it and it really isn’t as hard as I imagined it might be.”
Our thanks to Danielle for sharing her amazing story and we wish her continued success in her new career. If you would like more information on how to get started on a fitness career, just call our team on 0800 999 6664.
Wordsmithery by Louise | Focus Training Ltd.