March 15, 2015 at 10:08
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Have you ever wondered what you might accomplish if you had a year of fitness and nutrition coaching to pursue your dream goals?
That’s what Bec Taylor, 38, has experienced for the last 12 months after becoming our Dream Challenger winner in March 2014. This entitled her to ONE YEAR of Fitbitch camps, HiiT sessions and running coaching.
In that time, Bec has changed her body shape (click here for the latest and pictures) weight and fitness from an obese, stay-at-home worker who never exercised, to the kind of woman others now look up to as an inspirational fitness figure.
She still has one more Dream Challenge to go, the Brighton Marathon. But before that final chapter, read Bec’s penultimate despatch about her incredible journey. And how YOU could become our next Dream Challenger 2015-2016…
‘When I won the Dream Challenger competition, I was elated but terrified. It was an amazing opportunity but it was scary to think of a year of fitness training. What if I failed and couldn’t stick to it?
I was 37, 15 stone and my BMI put me in the clinical obese category. I had not exercised for years, suffered from insomnia and daily back ache.
I knew things had to change, but taking that first step was scary.
The negative thoughts, could my body cope, what would it be like training with a bunch of women I’d never met, how would I cope with getting up every morning? All of those thoughts are the kind of things that could have stopped me making that first move, and missing out on what has proved to be life changing.
The first camp was tough. I couldn’t run one kilometre as part of the fitness test and had to walk/run it, and I couldn’t do a single sit up or a push up. But everyone was so friendly, encouraging and supportive, it made it an enjoyable, if challenging experience.
Still, it was all I could do to imagine getting through the year of camps. If you had told me then where I would be now, I would never have believed it.
Week by week, camp by camp, I became fitter and stronger. By the end of that first course, I’d gone from not being able to run 1km to running 5km. Each obstacle I overcame made me more determined and the support from the other Fitbitches and coaches inspired and motivated me to keep working.
Soon, the weight started dropping off and I could see visible changes in my body shape. This wasn’t just due to the exercise but the Fitbitch eating plans.
I work from home, and had been eating microwave ready meals, Pot Noodles, tinned soups and takeaways because it was easy and I couldn’t cook. Add to that the fact that I had access to the kitchen and temptations.
Having a simple eating plan with a clear list of what I could and couldn’t eat took away any indecision over what to put in my shopping basket. Most significantly of all, I learned to cook by following the Fitbitch recipes.
I now realise that the key to healthy eating is to plan ahead. I eat eggs for breakfast with asparagus or spinach which keeps me full until lunch. And I’ve learned to no longer eat diet or low fat products, which contain hidden sugars and leave me feeling unsatisfied.
Not only did my body shape begin to change in those first few months but the healthy eating and exercise cured me of insomnia, my backache improved, my skin glowed and I was full of energy.
I’d felt so self conscious of my body when I started, I wore baggy tracksuit bottoms. Soon, I swapped these for running tights and I became less concerned about my body image as becoming the fittest and strongest I could become.
Then in April, Rachael the founder of Fitbitch, asked me to take on my first Dream Challenge, to be the swimmer in a relay triathlon team. I decided to challenge myself further and take on the entire thing on my own.
And so for four Saturdays, Fitbitch ran free triathlon training and a group of between 10-20 women met to swim, bike and run the distance. Looking back now, I realise it was a monumental thing to take on so early in my fitness journey. But crossing the finish line of the triathlon on June 1st 2014 was one of my proudest moments.
I’d got the bug and couldn’t wait to sign up to more Dream Challenges. Now, they felt exciting not daunting. I knew that if I just committed to them and trained, I could do anything.
I became part of a Fitbitch Dream Challenge team taking on the Kamikaze obstacle race in May 2014, and Nuts in August, 2014. Being part of a team, and the encouragement and feedback I got from friends and colleagues gave me such a confidence boost. And it was amazing to realise that I was beginning to inspire those around me.
My parents signed up to their local gym, and now regularly test their 5k running times, and my brother has entered his first marathon, the Brighton Marathon.
It’s also created an entirely new circle of amazing friends and helped me connect with family.
When I ran the Great North Run, a half marathon in September last year, I stayed with my aunt who I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. I would never have met her again had it not been for this and our relationship has stayed strong.
It’s amazing to be able to think of myself as a runner, something I would never have dreamed was possible. Two weeks ago, I ran the Brighton Half Marathon and took 25 minutes off my time from September. And this weekend, I ran 18 miles for my marathon training. A year ago, I couldn’t even run 1km.
My lowest point this year? NOT being able to exercise when I got a hamstring tear.
And my real standout moment of the year was taking part in the Advanced Body Athletic Camp (coming in May 2015) alongside the fastest and strongest women at Fitbitch. After 16 weeks of consistent training, I was able to keep up and hold my own.
This year has changed the trajectory of my life. I’ve transformed my health, body shape and fitness, made amazing friends and raised over £1000 for charity. Most of all, it’s changed my idea of myself and what I can achieve.
My fitness journey is an ongoing adventure with lots more Dream Challenges in line for the year ahead, including London to Paris bike ride and the Great North Run.
I know other women reading this probably think, ‘I could never do that.’ But you can. You really can.
It does feel hard and it does hurt at first, but from that challenge comes an incredible sense of achievement.
I started from a very unfit, unhealthy place and look what I’ve managed to achieve in one year? I’m no different than anyone else.
My motto? Be brave. And get support. Training with the Fitbitch coaches and the other women within the camps and running club, has been the key to keeping me motivated and has been vital in my success.
Bec’s Dream Challenge Achievements 2014 – 2015
- Hove Parkrun 5km, April 2014
- Kamikaze Obstacle Race, May 2014
- Sprint Triathlon, June 2014
- Phoenix Seafront 10km, July 2014
- Nuts Obstacle Race, August 2014
- Great North Run, Half Marathon, September 2014
- Brooks 10km, November 2014
- Brighton Half Marathon, February 2015
- Brighton Marathon, April 2015
If YOU would like to be our Dream Challenger 2015 – 2016, enter our competition HERE. Closing date 29th March, 2015.
Alternatively, if you would like to join us in training for one of our Dream Challenger events this year, please indicate which events HERE
Terms & Conditions: Our Dream Challenger competition is only open to new members. Please read our list of terms BEFORE entering.