It’s been a while since I wrote a blog, so here’s an update…

As I write this, I’m listening to myself speak on UCB2 Christian radio – a very strange experience!  It’s a rebroadcast of the  interview I did live in the studio back in Sept 2017, just a few weeks after my heart attack.  I was talking about my journey with emotional eating, weightloss, behaviour change and healing.

Heart health: since my last update, my heart has been getting stronger.  My walks are getting longer and more frequent – thanks to a good friend who has often come with me for support! My cardiologist discharged me just before Dec, saying my recovery was amazing.  Last week, my heart failure nurse reduced one of my heart tablets.  I’ve started my Phase 3 Cardiac rehab exercise classes, and have now been promoted to the Circuit Training classes!

As a Personal Trainer, I’ve found it incredibly hard and frustrating to be on the ‘other side’ as a patient / client.  I’ve had to bite my tongue several times when I’ve wanted to intervene with my ‘Instructor’ head on.  My cardiac physio Glynn has been very patient with me throughout all my questioning and frustrations.  I haven’t got my L4 Cardiac Rehab qualification (yet!), so it’s a good on-the-job chance to learn about how my heart now responds to the rigours of daily activity and exercise.

Following my heart attack (due to a complete blockage in one of my small arteries) and a subsequent cardiac arrest (where my heart stopped beating for 10 minutes, and I needed 5 shocks from a defibrillator to get it restarted ), my left ventricle’s action has weakened.  This creates a slower rate & strength in pumping blood around the body, which in turn leaves me fatigued and lacking energy.

From an exercise perspective, I’m having to learn to pace myself better, and work at a low to medium intensity (none of my beloved HIIT training for the moment!).  This involves a longer 15-min warm up and a steady 15-min cool down.  My first four weeks of exercise classes consisted of 30 mins on a treadmill, followed by 30 mins on a static bike.  I was bored silly!!!  The problem was that my blood pressure dropped during this exercise (showing that my heart was struggling to cope with the extra pressure placed on it), because I was attacking it at too high an intensity.  I had to learn to slow down – boy, it was a tough lesson to learn.

However, by Week 4 I’d found my ‘sweet spot’ of intensity, and my blood pressure started rising slightly, as it should in response to exercise.  I was then ‘promoted’ to the Circuit Training class – yay!  This consisted of four minutes on each ‘station’ of exercise: rowing, treadmill, bike, lateral raises with dumbbells, wall press ups, bicep curls with dumbbells, upright row with dumbbells. step ups, and sit-to-stand.  The class lasted for an hour. I was enjoying the classes much better, and had built up a rapport with some of the other (much older) clients, so the in-class banter was taking off too.

Work: I am also building up my workload again as my strength increases.  Since leaving the exercise referral scheme ‘Active for Health’ in Rotherham (I was an Instructor on the Back Pain, COPD / Asthma, and Falls Prevention pathways), I’ve increased my speaking engagements, research involvement, and have cracked on with writing my first book: a biography & healthy living guide – watch this space for a release date.

I am also organising & speaking at Day Conferences around the UK and internationally, speaking on a variety of topics (these can be adapted to suit the specific audience) including: health conditions & specific evidence-based exercises; behaviour change; my life story and journey with emotional eating; a practical exercise class; barriers to change; who we are in Christ and our identity & purpose; a time of prayer and meditation; and anything else requested, within my scope of expertise!

If you would like to organise and/or request a conference in your area, please do get in touch with me through the Contact Form.

Faith: for me this is the most important part of my life.  I am a Christian, and my personal relationship with Jesus Christ is what gets me through the tough times and the good bits of life.  I know He has a plan & a purpose for my life – even more so since my ‘death’ and recovery from the heart attack last year.  As I’m recovering from my emotional eating, I’m learning to take all my hopes & fears to God – He is longing to be a part of EVERY area of my life, both big and small.  Any relationship takes time to develop: learning to trust each other; finding out likes & dislikes; doing things together; meeting friends & family etc.  So to develop my Christian relationship, I start every day with a coffee and a chat with God while reading the Bible.  I journal my thoughts, hopes, dreams, and struggles.  It’s amazing to see & read back later the wonderful times when God has intervened, supported, and provided for me.  So be encouraged: you are not alone, there is always hope, love… and a good cup of coffee!  #BlackWithASplash

Until the next time… stay active & healthy! God bless 🙂