“After years of inactivity with a failing kidney I had a transplant in 2008. I naively believed this would miraculously change my health and life completely, but the transplant was far from straight forward. To cut a long story short recovery took a long time and 5 months on I had reached my physical and emotional lowest point.
My sister, and incidently my kidney donor, recommended I see a personal trainer her husband was seeing for his bad back.
I was quite nervous of going down the route of having a personal trainer. I suppose I had a typical view that they would have a tough army camp training persona which was a million miles from what I needed or could cope with. The name on Clare’s business card ‘Guardian Angels’ caught my attention and reassurances from my sister and her husband spurred me on to book an appointment.
On our first meeting I knew I had found the right person. I was so weak that I truly felt embarrassed how the simplest of exercise and movements had my muscles shaking and my legs and feet cramping. It would be fair to say I was in a fair old state. Clare put me at ease and reassured me that I could and would improve and most importantly gave me hope. I didn’t realise at the time but this was really a major turning point in my life.
Slowly with Clare’s help I started to engage my body and mind. My lifestyle at the time was very work orientated and busy long hours would continually hamper my physical progress. I had prioritised work over health for years and unfortunately 14 months on I suffered bouts of illness which finally led to another month in hospital.
It was a shock and the wakeup call I really needed. I genuinely thought I was doing the right things but really I was trying to get fit and working just as hard, that my body couldn’t cope. I had to take stock, realising my work lifestyle was not in balance with my health. My new kidney was suffering and my blood results would bounce up and down, to the extent, I could track when levels would drop in relation to what was happening at work.
At the same time Clare would be researching in the background finding information that might support my immune system and kidney. She also identified I was a fast oxidiser and probably had food intolerances which tests later confirmed. I was always a big eater but with Clare’s help we focused on foods that satisfied my big appetite which in turn helped control my food cravings. Although, I have never really been overweight, a year after the transplant I was a stone heavier than I wanted to be 10st 4lbs (5ft 7”). I have now lost the additional stone in weight.
Clare’s professional input, support and guidance has transformed my life. All I can say is when we first met, I suffered with painful feet and struggled to walk or even stand for longer than 20 minutes. A little later it was an achievement to play tennis for more than half an hour. And when I bought a bike I could only cycle a short distance on flat ground and a small hill incline might as well have been Mount Everest.
How do I gauge my improvements now?
Well I can play tennis for 2 hours, I can walk continually in the Dales for 5 hours and the hilly bicycle route that has had me beaten for the last 2 years was finally conquered and easily surpassed this spring. Medically, my Kidney consultant tells me I am the top of his class as my blood results are great!
I have to say Clare has been a revelation and an inspiration. To the extent that I have changed my lifestyle completely and hope in the not too distant future follow a career in health and fitness too. I can’t believe how physically and emotional different I am as a person. I might be 47 this year but I am so lucky that I feel physically stronger than I did in my 20&30’s. A lot of people moan about aging but I have never felt stronger or happier.
I still have a long way to go. My immunity will always be compromised by the daily medication I will have to take for the rest of my life. I have set targets in my mind where I want to be in the next few years and I try to be realistic. It’s not easy to do it all on your own and without Clare’s motivation and expertise I know it would have taken much, much longer time, time my new kidney might not otherwise have. She really is my Guardian Angel and I will always be thankful she came into my and my sister’s life.”