Glenda’s story: to the Larapinta Trail
Hey folks, Glenda Nosworthy, a client of Ross’ for a couple of years now, has one of the most amazing stories I’ve had the privilege to listen to. She is about to embark on her latest training goal of a 5-day hike in the wilderness of NT, all in the name of raising over $5,000 for charity. Check out her story below…
I spent some of my teenage years and all of my adult life as an obese and unfit person. Related to a generally abysmal level of self esteem, being grossly overweight was a survival mechanism and insulation against the world.
Eventually I was diagnosed with depression, and in mid 2008 I was diagnosed with uterine cancer (the same disease that had claimed my sister’s life, just 5 years earlier.) While my cancer was cured with a hysterectomy, my weight (at about 172kgs) had been a contributing factor to getting the disease, which acted as a catalyst to make me face up to my obesity.
It got to the point where I was almost constantly puffing and even a walk from one end of my house to the other would cause me to puff. Daily living became exhausting – not just in terms of physical exhaustion but mental exhaustion – as everything I wanted to do had to be planned and strategised in order to minimise the physical effort involved. I started doing things like getting my grocery shopping home delivered and I used to spend a fair amount of time in bed on weekends just recouping some level of energy. I had daily humiliations from being obese which just made trying to tackle the problem even harder. I had the embarrassment of a chair in a restaurant collapsing under my weight, of having a plane stuck on the runway because the airhostess didn’t want me to sit in the exit row and I did fall down my garden path and it took me twenty minutes to work out how to crawl to the fence and haul myself up because I couldn’t get myself off the ground.
Finally by mid 2009 my general state of fitness was so poor that I took long service leave from work. During that long service leave, I faced up to the need to deal with my weight and it was then that I investigated and finally decided on bariatric surgery. As part of deciding on the surgery I knew that I would need to change the way I ate and that I would need to do something about my fitness levels but at that stage I had no idea of who I could get to help me.
In November 2009 I had an operation to create a gastric sleeve which effectively reduces the size of your stomach and it meant that I literally had to go back to baby food and start all over again. I dropped from my pre-surgery weight of 163kgs and by June 2010 I was down to about 117kgs. In early 2010, I started thinking about the next big hurdle – finding some one that would help me with fitness. I was terrified of being judged and that it would just be too hard for me to do anything useful. So it became a painful and scary quest to work out how to find someone who would help me. In the end I was referred to Ross from someone who I trust and respect. I went to talk to Ross in June 2010.
That was one of the scariest conversations of my life. The the thing that I did like was the focus on functional fitness. At that point I viewed fitness as a necessary evil that I somehow had to make a part of my life like taking a lifesaving medication. So the concept that fitness was to focus on improving the quality of my life was a real positive.
I will never know if I could have got myself to front up to working with Ross by myself but in the end I didn’t have to force that issue. After debriefing with my friend Rachel about my scary intro discussion with Ross there was an option of Rachel and I training together. At the time that was an absolute life saver as there were some many things that I wasn’t really prepared for and Rachel became crucial to making it possible for me to train.
There have been all sorts of achievements most of them are individually quite small changes but they have made an amazing difference to the quality of my life.
|Before I Started Training||Now, with training|
|I puffed upon the slightest amount of exertion.||Haven’t quite grown to love puffing but at least when I puff now it is because I have done something strenuous.|
|I couldn’t get myself off the floor without help||I can get up off the floor unassisted|
|Very poor body awareness (ie no idea most of the time as to what Ross was asking me about whether I felt something or not.)||Much better body awareness (ie most of the time I now have a clue when Ross asks me whether I can feel something or not.)|
|The concept of running was off the agenda||I can actually run enough to probably save my life if needed|
|Going up and down stairs was excruciatingly slow and exhausting||Going up and down stairs is no longer a problem|
|My dog Bella never got any exercise||Bella and I almost always have a walk every day and we love long walks on the weekends.|
|My knees used to hurt after any form of exercise||My knees are so much stronger and better than before and they hardly ever hurt anymore|
|I was forever stiff and hobbling after sitting for short periods||I still get stiff after sitting for a while but I quickly loosen up and can get going again without hobbling|
|I needed lots of help to do even simple household chores||My functional fitness means that I can and do feel safe in taking on both small and quite challenging household chores.|
|I didn’t know how fabulous it is to lift heavy shit||Love lifting heavy shit|
|I thought that fitness was a necessary evil||Training for fitness has empowered me and as a result I have grown to love it.|
|I loathed and detested my body||While I don’t love my body at least I don’t loathe it anymore.|
|When I started training my weight was down to about 117kgs (losing about 46kgs)||From changed eating and training I have stabilised with a weight loss of about 65kgs (98kgs)|
|I thought my days of bike riding were long gone||I have rediscovered the joys of bike riding.|
|I would never have had the guts to take on the Larapinta Trek.||I have the confidence to know that I can take this walk on and succeed at it.|
When I started with Ross at B32 I used to loath being at the gym when other people were there. It was torture in general and even worse when people were caring and supportive as I just wanted to be invisible. I have overcome my self consciousness and now can generally cope when other people are around. I don’t think I will ever be a contender for group but in general I am much more comfortable on the edge of the B32 community.
Ross has some very special qualities as a trainer and a human being that I value very highly and I place a lot of trust in him. I am very grateful that Ross has had the patience and persistence to work with me through all the emotional ups and downs that have been the hallmark of my training. Going into training I was expecting the training to be highly demanding on a physical level but what I didn’t expect was the high level of emotional testing that comes with it all.
It has been nearly two years since Rachel and I started training with Ross and in that time I have seen him constantly strive to improve his knowledge and understanding of how to help people achieve their training goals. Until I met Ross my understanding of the phrase ‘continuous improvement’ was, as a hackneyed management concept. Ross gives real meaning to ‘continuous improvement’ and I admire his capacity to be constantly striving for better ways to help people.
I love the way he is never prepared to give up on me – he has much more patience with my limitations than I do. His preparedness to persist with me inspires me to keep going, keep trying and usually to take me into new areas of physical and emotional growth. I almost always need to know why I am doing something and Ross can always explain why he wants you to do something. This is one of his strengths and on the very few occasions where he doesn’t know the answer to one of my questions he is always interested to find out the answer.
I highly value the skill Ross has with programming. I know that what he asks me to do at training is what I need and is not just drawn from some training template that is based on near enough is good enough. I know that his programming is right for me because he is constantly adjusting it during training to respond to how my body and mind is dealing with the training tasks.
The absolute shock for me in training with Ross has been the way it has been become a fundamental component of my life. I went into training thinking that it was a necessary evil and something that I would constantly have to push myself to continue with. So I have been completely surprised by how much I love it and how much it has benefited my life well beyond the physical benefits- which is the only part of the training that I was initially seeking or expecting.
Your latest goal is a 5-day walk of the Larapinta Trail in NT to raise money for the Indigenous Community Volunteers (ICV). What does it entail?
From 8-15 July 2012 I am going to undertake a charity walk called the Walkabout for Change and I will be walking and camping out along the Larapinta Trail in Central Australia. There will be five days of trekking in the amazing West Macdonnell Ranges with a highlight being climbing to the peak of Mount Sonder, the highest point on the Larapinta Trail. This event is to support the charity Indigenous Community Volunteers (ICV) and I have committed to raising $5,400 to support ICVs work.
Why have you chosen this walk & charity? Why is it close to your heart?
Ross has always been keen that I develop some training goals and initially that has not been something that I was very engaged in. Frankly the training goal that I was gaining most benefit from was regular participation in training and improvement in my fitness levels. So I knew that when I decided to take on the Walkabout for Change that Ross would be almost as excited about it as I was. And he was!
When I am asked why I am doing it my response is that it seems so right for me in a number of ways. I have committed to do this walk because now I can do it. It is symbolic of all the changes that I have made in the last few years and how those changes have empowered me to take on something amazing and challenging that I would never have attempted even a year ago.
The fact that this is to support a charity which will assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is also an important element for me. For over six years I have learnt so much about what a struggle it is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to achieve happy, healthy and fulfilling lives in the Australia of today. What excites me about ICV is that they help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by listening to their needs and working with them to provide a skills transfer on projects that Indigenous communities have identified as important to them.
It is a bit simplistic but I see in the work of ICV an echo of what has happened with my training with Ross. He has the skills I need, he listened to me and continues to help me with fitness and in so doing he has empowered me and changed my life for the better.
I want to raise money for ICV so that they can change the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for the better.
How can people contribute?
I am asking people to donate to support me in undertaking this trek of the Larapinta Trail and at the same time support the valuable work of Indigenous Community Volunteers. The easiest way to donate using a credit card through my fundraising page.
As ICV is a registered charity any donations over $2 are tax deductible.
If you are not a credit card person but would still like to donate then please email me and I will sort out another way to donate.
Finally I will be delighted for any contribution that you can make – no matter how big or small.