Bangor woman becomes personal trainer after shedding the pounds at local women-only gym

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A Bangor woman who lost two and a half stone after joining a women-only gym has now become a personal trainer helping other women to change their lives.

illian Cousins (44) gave up her job as a primary school classroom assistant to work as a trainer at Body Success Fitness, the gym that helped her lose weight and regain her confidence.

“I was overweight and sluggish and needed a lifestyle change but ended up with a career change too,” she says.

“It took me some time but I lost more than two stone and felt fabulous. Then Jim Gordon, the owner of Body Success Fitness, asked me if I’d join his team as a personal trainer.

“He thought I was ideal as I had done the journey into fitness and knew all the pitfalls. I did a lot of training online during the lockdowns and then took the leap into this new career and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Body Success Fitness, which has gyms in Bangor and Holywood, has recently opened its third gym at Ards Business Hub.

Owner Jim Gordon had been in the strength training industry for 26 years and saw that many women were put off gyms because of the mainly male environment. He wanted to create a non-intimidating environment where women could work out and enjoy the experience.

“I was so glad when Gillian agreed to join us as she has such passion and determination,” he says.

“She has been through all of the trials and tribulations and understands how looking after your fitness and nutrition can really help your mental health and improve your quality of life.

“Our message to all women is that no matter your circumstances you can improve your personal fitness and lifestyle. With our third gym at Ards Business Hub we are looking forward to helping even more women achieve a healthier life.”

Ards Business Hub CEO Nichola Lockhart says: “We are delighted to welcome this company which is going from strength to strength.

“When we hear of the success of Gillian and their other clients we know that Body Success is a great addition to our community.”

Gillian was 11st 11lb when she decided to make a change and went to the Body Success Gym. That decision changed her life. She is now 9.5 stone and her body shape and energy levels have been transformed.

“Three years ago my confidence and mood were really low. My friend and I decided to try Body Success and at first I wouldn’t get out of the car I was so nervous,” explains Gillian.

“I finally plucked up the courage to go in and the trainers were so welcoming. When I looked around the room I saw it wasn’t a typical gym. There were lots of women like me and it was all about personal interaction with a trainer.”

Gillian expected the weight to just fall off and was disappointed when that didn’t happen.

“It was a gradual process. I found that although my mood was getting better my weight wouldn’t shift at first and Jim suggested I look at my diet.

“I was shocked at what was in certain foods I thought were healthy and began focusing on what I eat as well as my fitness training.”

Although Gillian is now training other women to improve their fitness, she still takes classes at the gym.

“I have just come back from holiday in Rome and have gained five pounds so I’m focused on getting rid of it.

“At five foot two, five pounds is quite a lot! Although I’ m personal trainer I still participate in the classes because I love the banter with the girls and it is easier working out with them than doing it on your own.”

Gillian says a lot of people who join the gym ask how long it will take to lose the pounds.

“I was very impatient myself but I try not to focus on what the scales say. When I started I got my daughter to take photographs of me and when I saw the differences the exercise made, that really motivated me.

“It is better to lose a steady half a pound a week than to try a drastic reduction. When the weight gradually starts to come off that’s when the motivation kicks in.”

A single parent, Gillian’s two teenage children are also into their fitness. Her 19-year-old son Jack is studying sports science and will doing his job placement at the Body Success Bangor branch, while her 14-year-old daughter Sophie also loves working out.

Gillian has some advice to other women who might be reluctant to take the first steps to joining a gym.

“I would say the first day is the hardest. Get your foot in the door and don’t give up. You will have difficult days when you don’t want to go but just keep at it.”

Gillian derives a lot of satisfaction from helping other women and understand those times when it might be difficult to keep going.

“I love it when a client wants to work on strength and is now lifting a weight she thought she could never manage and starting to lose weight and you see her confidence improving. I get 100% satisfaction from that because I know I was in that very same position.”

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