In the latest of our Fitness Formation features news editor INGRID KENT talks to a mum-of-two who is now back to her pre-baby weight thanks to the help of personal trainer Ryan Donohue.
IN the field of personal training some people are prepared to push themselves to the outer limits of endurance.
One such person is Sheryl Coultas who has been training with Ryan Donohue of Fitness Formation for more than a year and is now taking part in gruelling ‘Total Warrior’ challenges.
Sheryl is also planning to do the Great North Run in Newcastle and The Witches Revenge 10k challenge in Lancaster this year.
Since I joined Fitness Formation Sheryl has been one of many people to inspire me to work harder and stick with the training sessions at VVV gym in Hest Bank.
Sheryl, who lives in Halton with her husband Dave, daughter Harriet, eight, and son Joseph, four, is always keen to push herself so Ryan uses every technique in the book to help her get even fitter.
Some of the techniques are quite wacky. For example, Ryan gets Sheryl to power a treadmill with only her hands or feet – the machine isn’t even plugged into the mains! He also gets Sheryl to clean the floor with her feet on a towel whilst walking around on her hands.
These quirky techniques are just a small part of her training regime and Sheryl said she thrives on the variety. A friendly, determined and caring person, Sheryl told me she has several reasons for training so hard: “My cousin passed away not long ago. I was very close to her and she was only a year or two older than I am.
“I realised that life is too short to let things pass by. I decided that if there is something you really want you should just go and get it.
“When I turned 40 last year I decided that I didn’t want to start my 40s the way I was. I’d put a large amount of weight on after my son was born. I was stuck at 11-and-a-half stone and could not seem to get rid of the weight.” Sheryl tried diets, went to various fitness classes and worked out in gyms, but it was training with Ryan that helped to finally get her down to her target weight of just over nine stone.
“I was one of Ryan’s first clients,” explained Sheryl. “He started training me with a friend about a year ago. I had six weeks until my 40th and I was determined that I would lose the weight before my birthday. I dropped down to nine stone 13.
“It felt fantastic. My confidence started to come back and I went out and bought a beautiful red dress for my birthday.
“After that we increased the sessions to three times a week and I have continued to lose weight.
“I like the fact that Ryan pushes me so hard because I wouldn’t necessarily do it myself.” Sheryl, who was born in England and lived in Africa until she was 12, said she is also doing it for her family.
“I want to be a good role model for my kids,” she explained. “It’s lovely when my husband, kids and other family members say they are proud of me.”
A former pupil of Central Lancaster High School, Sheryl said she had always been reasonably fit but until recently had never pushed herself to the extreme.
Doing the Total Warrior military-style 10-mile race and obstacle course at Shap in Cumbria gave her the opportunity she needed to see what she was made of.
A team from VVV entered the challenge. “It was a great goal to work towards,” she said. We had to run through fire, swim down rivers, climb 8ft walls and even got electrocuted. People were fainting all around me after the event. It was a huge adrenaline rush.”
Sheryl came fourth in the over 40s women’s category and this year her target is to come first in that category. To anyone who hasn’t experienced the personal training approach to fitness, Sheryl said it is well worth trying: “It’s like being part of a big family because we encourage each other.
“I have made incredible friendships out of it. I am quite competitive and we have a great laugh trying to out-do each other in the group sessions.
It’s lovely to see new people’s confidence developing. It’s also amazing to know that I have got back to the weight I was before I had my children and I have Ryan’s encouragement, enthusiasm and continuous motivation to thank for this.”