Social media is a wonderful thing, it's a great platform for the health and fitness industry as we can find out what 'Abbi' 28 from Melbourne had on her 'Super Dragon Fruit Acai Bowl' this morning for breakfast or what Jordan from Dubai's favourite time to work out is. 

People mostly focus on the negative of social media and how low it makes them feel, but what about those stories that inspires us and motivates us to lead happy and healthier lives?

That's just happened when we stumbled across an old social media picture of one of our Rise Instructors, who decided to share with you all a negative that turned her life in to a much happier and healthier one. 

Everybody meet Cathy .....

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Cath, 36 absolutely love my job as a freelance instructor... especially at Rise’s fantastic studio! And most of all my favourite job of being Mum to Luca age 7. 

I fell into Fitness straight from school as from a young girl of 5 I danced up until I turned 15, left school not really knowing what I wanted to do other than dance so went to college and got my PT and Fitness class qualifications. Up until 2 years ago I always had a regular full/ part time job and worked classes around my work and now am a fully fledged independent woman teaching and PT-ing freelance.

Describe your weight loss journey?

Although I worked in Fitness in my late teens I was in a frame of mind were it wasn’t important to think about my health, and weight. I was in a relationship with someone for 9 years who pretty much felt the same, we just partied with friends, ate take out or frozen meals and mixed that with sugary alco-pops and fizzy drinks week in week out.

Don’t get me wrong that was all a lot of fun and was during a time when exercise, diet and lifestyle wasn’t so publicly advertised. I went with the flow and lost control of my weight, my confidence and my career goal too! Around 10 years ago I made some very big decisions in my personal life and one of them was to completely turn my life around to be the best me. 

I knew I wanted to inspire and motivate others in my job and more importantly I wanted a family. I wanted to be a mum to kids who would be proud, not embarrassed of me and to actually be around for them aslong as was possible! I stepped up my training with a morning swim before work, made healthy prep meals for myself to take along and joined in classes of an evening. I began to cook a fresh meal of an evening and found alternatives to the sugary drinks. 

What did you weigh at your heaviest?

I wouldn’t have dared weigh myself I would have been ashamed and to be fair I generally don’t now I use how I feel and my clothes as a measure. I was a size 14 at my biggest, I wasn’t massively strict with myself I wanted it to be a forever lifestyle change so It took me about a year to steadily get down to a 8. No strict meal plan just a manageable diet and regular exercise that I enjoyed. Doing something you enjoy makes a massive difference as it’s not such a chore, so the classes and the company of the lovely friends I have made it all the more pleasurable!

Where you a fan of drastic diets?

I couldn’t face following a strict plan or cut something out completely like carbs, I would want that forbidden item more and more.. I’d end up seeing myself as a failure and the whole journey should be a positive one. Simple healthy changes/ alternatives and a hunger for change is key and once you start seeing the benefits it’s an amazing feeling you owe it to yourself to succeed.

What are your eating habits then compared to now?

I eat more fruit and veg. I eat small and often during the day healthy snacks as that fits around my classes much better. Evening I will have a main meal always including veg or salad, a portion of meat or fish and wholewheat pasta or rice. I still allow myself the odd desert and glass of wine as it’s only fair I work hard training all week long. I don’t use any frozen food, don’t drink alcopops and do manage to fit in take away once a week ‘treat night ‘

Whats more important to you, health or fitness?

Hard question my job and passion is Fitness and I absolutely love it, when it comes to both teaching and training I’m a massive fan! Health is a biggy though especially now I am a mum I am much more aware of what healthy involves and the media is on it constantly.

Diet is the game changer!

Whats the one piece of advice you could give your younger self?

It’s never to late to be the best you, but it’s better to get in there sooner as you get to live it more! I actually feel 10 years younger than I did then which is incredible as that was 10 years ago!

You can catch Cathy every Monday at 9.45am RIDE45  

Alishia Thomas