Hannah is one of my longest standing trainers, having been in the industry 10 years, working both in gyms and the great outdoor green spaces of London.
Q. What made you decide to become a trainer?
A. I always loved fitness and I also really wanted to help people so it seemed like a good fit!
Q. You were a GB triathlete a few years ago – can you tell me more about that?
A. I had always been a keen cyclist and runner so I gave triathlon a go…and it turned out I was quite good at it! I was on the GB amateur team back in 2010. Running was probably my strongest discipline.
Q. How has your own personal training evolved over the years?
A. I used to do a lot of strength and conditioning and long-distance cardio for triathlon. I have cut down on the long-distance running/cycling a lot, and my strength and conditioning has changed too. Now I mainly focus on mobility and use body weight training a lot more. My training style is a lot lower intensity which is kinder on my body.
Q. You’ve recently really got into mobility training. Can you tell me more about your expertise in that area?
A. At the beginning of the year I did an FRC course (Functional Range Conditioning) because I felt like my body was hurting a lot and I wanted to refine the way I train further, as well as the way I train others suffering with pain or mobility related issues. The course taught me a lot about active flexibility and strength at the end ranges. It gives me more scope for doing things like gymnastic and dance moves which I love. Functional mobility work focuses on moving the body more fluidly, whilst weight training can be very static. There’s a very different mindset to this training. I have found that for those clients that come to me in pain this is such a helpful style of workout to use with them.
Q. In your early career as a trainer you suffered with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. What do you think was the trigger for this, and what lessons did this experience teach you both personally and that you can use with clients?
A. It’s hard to pinpoint what started it, and back when I was suffering with CFS it was a much less well defined or understood illness. I had to seek private help to get a diagnosis so it was a long road. At the time I was doing a lot of triathlon training, as well as working very long hours at an indoor gym. I was constantly pushing through exhaustion to keep going.
As a result of this I have really learnt to listen to my body, and I encourage clients to do the same. If someone turns up to a session utterly exhausted, I might need to adapt the session, making sure it’s what their body really needs to be doing, as opposed to layering into that exhaustion.
Q. What do you like the best about being a PT?
A. I love all my clients. I love the relationships that you build. It’s also incredibly rewarding when you see people achieving the goals they’re looking for, and seeing what a positive impact that has on their lives. I love working with people who really take on board the advice they’re given and take that forwards into the week as well.
Q. As someone who has come back from both illness and injury, what advice would you give others in the same boat?
A. Take is slowly but don’t be scared. Take small steps every day and give yourself time.
Q. What makes you feel the healthiest version of yourself?
A. I try to eat well and exercise sensibly when I can, doing the kinds of activities that my body needs. I also let my body rest – it’s such a mindset change but I’ve really learnt how important this is.
Q. And finally, when you’re not in the great outdoor spaces of SW London, what do you like to do?
A. I’m a musician. I love playing guitar. I also love watching films!