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These days everyone is striving for perfection, perfect life and perfect body. Is that even possible I ask myself?! Well according to the media, it is. Everywhere you look, magazines or celebrities are endorsing diet shakes, or fad diets that promise to drop 10lbs in two weeks. However, the new cool is working out with a personal trainer and posting it on social media, with the likes of Kayla Itsines, Lucy Mecklenburgh and Emily Skye paving the way.

Although I am not an advocate for striving to compete with others, I did want to see if a normal woman such as myself would be able to emulate the amazing results that the celebrities have had. With that in mind, after doing some research, I contacted Nathan at Sussex Performance Centre. They have an amazing reputation and seemed like a perfect place to begin my personal challenge.


Sussex Performance Centre was started by Nathan Da Costa, Tom Austin and Michelle Davidson, there are six personal trainers delivering strength & conditioning training and HIIT classes. So, after years of dieting and having the standard gym membership, I thought I knew my way around a gym, oh how wrong I was. With not a treadmill in sight, everything is based around workouts using barbells, sleds, kettle bells, slam balls, battle ropes, assault bikes, TRX and tyres. This gym is not for the faint-hearted, it is a case or go hard or go home. This was completely new to me, as previously stated, my ‘standard’ Gym membership enabled me to ‘run’, I say that lightly because usually after fifteen minutes I would get bored and make excuses to get home or get back to work, etc. That way my gym life before SPC, which wasn’t fool proof and clearly had not helped shift any of my baby weight from the autumn before.

I met with Nathan who made me feel completely at ease, the gym itself has a vast array of equipment and was nothing like some of the showy gyms that I have been to before. Nathan then tested my fitness and based on the results he gave me a tailor-made plan.  We agreed that I would have two personal training sessions a week, and then use their PT Hub App twice a week at home as I decided that I wanted to not only lose weight, but get fitter. I then went through my current diet, which isn’t that unhealthy and explained that due to my job, I do have the odd wine or Gin & Tonic at events. Wanting to get the best results, without upsetting my lifestyle too much, I agreed to only drinking on the nights that I had events and limiting it to a couple. This seemed like a realistic approach.

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Now I am not one for lying, so to say that the plan was hard to start with, was an understatement. I don’t think that I have ever done that many squats in one go, and I felt aged beyond my years the day after the first session. However, after the first week things got easier and I found myself enjoying the sessions. Usually this would have been unheard of as I am not a gym bunny, I am more likely to be out enjoying the complimentary champagne.

During my second training session – oh yes, I went back for more – Nathan assessed my dead-lifting, I couldn’t believe that someone had managed to get me lifting weights or pulling a sled. Now call me naive, however, I had always been under the impression that weights would make me bulk out like Fatima Whitbread, again I had been mis-informed. I am told that this is a sure way of sculpting your figure and dropping pounds, and it is much better than doing just cardio.  As you can imagine, the sessions continued, and I was slowly coming away from my comfort zone.


The sessions are focused; however, I am sure that the trainers have cloudy memories as it is always a few more repetitions than previously advised. A sneaky way to get you pushing yourself, although it always works. What I really liked about the sessions is that the trainers work on perfecting your form before you commence with any new exercises and should you be unable to complete the exercise, Nathan or one of the trainers will modify them for you. Allowing people of all abilities and ages to feel the benefit and have adaptive programmes.

After the first ten days, I started to see the results, which only spurred me on even more. In fact, the experience had such an impact on me that I have even sent my husband along to follow their twelve-week plan. After five weeks of personal training sessions I was completely amazed at the results, not only have I lost just over a stone, I had done it without faddy diets or giving up my social life. I felt fitter and more energised and even found that I was sleeping better. The whole experience has made me feel more productive, especially in the sense of Stress management.


At the start, I looked at this as an experiment, with the intention to going back to normal after it ended, but I soon realised that I had caught the bug. I didn’t want to stop exercising as I felt good and it had now become a change of lifestyle. Despite managing a busy work schedule, and a one-year old baby, I stay committed because I like feeling healthy and strong.

Luckily, Sussex Performance Centre offer twelve-week courses for £220, so I signed up. The woman’s courses are run by Michelle on both Tuesday and Thursdays, you can either go during the day at 10.30 or at 6pm. All the classes are challenging; however, the groups are fun, fast paced and the ladies make you feel incredibly welcome. Each week you will do the workouts, and the goal is to aim for more reps or a higher weight as you feel yourself becoming stronger. For the adventurous among us, there is even an extra HITT class at 8am on a Saturday morning, which will test even the fittest person.

To go to a personal trainer and say ‘I want to drop a stone in a month’ so that I can look good for an event or holiday, can be done, however this lesson has taught me that a goal like that is unrealistic. I have realised that the whole process should be about a lifestyle change and continuing with exercise and good nutrition. Now don’t get me wrong, I will not be giving up the wine or forgoing a sugar laden pudding during a meal out. That said, I am now conscious of the amount that I drink or eat. The new rule is that if I am bad, I try to make up for it with exercise.

For enquiries on personal training sessions, 12 week programmes or HIIT classes head to the website  

Sussex Performance Centre Ltd