Success Story: Couch Potato to 5K, And Then Some!

Kayleigh Hawkins went from indulging in takeaways on the sofa and struggling to keep up with her children, to trialling a couple of training sessions and going on to taking part in various 5k sporting events!


Kayleigh on her Wedding Day

What inspired you to make a change?

I’ve always disliked the way I look in my wedding photos but never did anything about it. After having my two children and experiencing an illness whilst pregnant, I was actually smaller than I’d ever been, but the weight quickly piled back on again. On the day of my youngest child’s Naming Ceremony I couldn’t fit into a dress that I had worn pre pregnancy and literally had nothing else special enough in my wardrobe, I was devastated and embarrassed, and knew that I couldn’t continue in this way.

What were your original goals when you started?

To be honest my main goal was to try and stick at it longer than I had any diets or gym memberships, and my aim was to attend one exercise class per week. I wanted to be able to shop and buy clothes from “normal” clothes shops where all my friends shopped, rather than specialist websites. I also wanted to be able to run more than a flight of stairs without getting out of breath!

Can you describe your old self before your transformation?

Unhappy, lethargic, lazy. I had no motivation to go about changing why I was unhappy, I was too lazy and full of excuses. I much preferred sitting on the sofa eating a takeaway rather than “wasting” time cooking fresh meals or going out to exercise. I always found an excuse to not change my ways! I was unfit and extremely unhealthy.

Kayleigh Prior to her Transformation

Kayleigh Prior to her Transformation

How did you go about your transformation?

I’d tried different diets and gyms in the past but never stuck at it very long, quickly coming up with excuses such as “I’m fit enough” or “I don’t have enough time”. This time I decided that I needed to be more focused and determined so that I could be fit enough to run round after my children, so I asked around for recommendations for some exercise classes and went from there. My sister had recently started running using a couch to 5K training app, so I decided to give that a go as well.

Did you seek advice from anyone or anywhere?

When I asked around for recommendations I got three or four for the same company, MK Trainer. I spent a few days looking at their website and Facebook page and reading other people’s comments before I plucked up the courage to get in touch. Andy from MK Trainer offered me a trial session and then Emma, another MK Trainer instructor, encouraged me to come along to Buggy Bootcamp. This fitted my needs perfectly as it meant I didn’t need childcare and had one less excuse to not go! Everyone was so friendly and encouraging that for the first time I didn’t feel self-conscious or embarrassed about what I could or couldn’t do, and was able to open up to them about what my goals were so that they could help me achieve them.

How has your fitness regime changed over time?

I have gone from doing nothing and finding a walk to the local shop a chore, to doing up to ten sessions a week! I started off just doing one Buggy Bootcamp for a few weeks alongside the 5k running plan, but as I grew to love it I started trying out all the other sessions MK Trainer had to offer, and as I enjoyed each one I began to go more often. These sessions include high intensity cardio circuits, boxercise classes, outdoor boot camp, and weekend stair sessions. I also have one on one and small group PT sessions. For a former couch potato, this is quite an achievement!

Have you participated in any sporting/fitness events recently?

I had completed a couple of 5k runs on my own, but my first event was a really muddy wild 5k obstacle course back in November 2015. I then took part in the MK Festival of Running earlier this year which I really enjoyed, leading to me signing up for the Sport Relief 3 mile event. Last weekend I took part in a 5k obstacle course with a friend and we enjoyed it so much we’ve immediately signed up for more!

If yes to the above, how did you train for it/them?

I trained by running by myself or with family and friends, and told my trainer Andy so that he was best able to advise me and help me with the right exercises during my PT sessions, Andy is great at being able to focus on core exercises within his varied sessions, so I know that no matter which session I go to I will be getting a good work out. To make it harder, there are lots of hill runs also featured in the training plan!

Where do you get your motivation from?

My motivation comes from how great I feel about myself now, and from the comments and praise I get from family and friends when they see how far I’ve come. I get such a buzz from working out (even if I do moan quite a lot during the workout itself!) that I really miss if I don’t make a few sessions. I have also made such a great group of like-minded friends from the sessions, and we spur each other on all the time to keep achieving. Being able to look in the mirror and be proud of what I see is the biggest motivation of all.

What’s next for you?

I still have more to lose to get to my ideal weight, and then I’d like to work at getting even stronger and fitter too. I’m currently toying with the idea of upping my running distance to 10k, and have a few shorter runs alongside three or four more obstacle courses planned for later in the year.

Kayleigh's Incredible Progress So Far

Kayleigh’s Incredible Progress So Far

Do YOU have a fitness success story?

Have you transformed your health and fitness like Kayleigh, or perhaps you’re super fit and training for a new goal? If you’d like to shout about your success, please comment below, email the Editor or get in touch via Twitter or Facebook.

Please ensure you consult your doctor and receive the relevant advice before making a radical change to your diet and exercise. View diet and calorie advice from the NHS.

Find out more about MK Trainer.

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A "Bricks & Mortar" retailer founded in 1994, Fitness Superstore is the largest supplier of specialist fitness equipment in the UK, with eleven stores nationwide.
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