THE UNI LIFE IS USUALLY FILLED WITH PLENTY OF HEDONISM, AS STUDENTS GRADUATE FROM SCHOOL AND THE WATCHFUL EYES OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS TO BEING A LOT MORE INDEPENDENT AND IN CHARGE OF THEIR OWN DECISIONS. LATE NIGHT DRINKING AND DANCING, A LOT MORE EATING OUT (AND OFTEN ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET) AND LESS STRUCTURED EXERCISE (GOODBYE DAILY PE CLASSES!) MEAN GOOD HEALTH IS THE LAST THING CONSIDERED. OUR GORGEOUS 18-YEAR-OLD MEMBER CLAIRE PRESTON WAS CAUGHT UP IN THE UNI LIFE UNTIL SHE REALISED HOW UNHEALTHY SHE WAS BECOMING. CLAIRE SHARED HER INCREDIBLE STORY WITH US ON HOW SHE DECIDED TO MAKE HER HEALTH AND HAPPINESS HER PRIORITY, AND WENT ON TO FIND THEM FIRSTLY THROUGH PERSONAL TRAINING WITH OUR SUPERSTAR COACH GENE BUCHANAN AND NOW, HERE AT BODIES BY RYAN.
Above: The before and after transformation to the healthy, happy and super strong Claire we know and love at the BBR gym today (or the Zoom version right now!).
What was the state of your health and fitness prior to joining Bodies By Ryan? Tell us about your fitness/sport history?
I joined BBR mid-2019 when I was in my first year of uni and also my first year out of school. In school, I played a lot of netball and was fairly good at sport, but I never went to the gym or imagined myself as the sort of person that would go to a gym. I’d definitely picked up some unhealthy habits after leaving school, such as going out and drinking every weekend, and thinking very little about the food I was putting into my body. To be honest, this was, and still is, seen to be pretty normal for someone of my age and something I see a lot of my friends doing. However, it was not something that was making me happy or a better person and my health was definitely not a priority.
What was the motivation to join BBR?
It is actually thanks to Gene that I ended up joining BBR. My ‘health journey’ essentially started when I started doing PT a couple of days a week with Gene before he got a job with BBR and I then began doing classes on top of this (huge shout out to Gene for all his help over the past year).
What was your first impression of the gym?
I became addicted straight away and loved everything about it! From the adrenaline kick after finishing a session, the constant motivation and support from the trainers who actually want to see you improve and succeed, the feeling of community and the encouragement every single member offers each other, it was impossible not to want to keep coming back!
How quickly did you see and feel progress?
Looking back, I definitely felt progress because I saw it. In the first couple of months, my main motivators were how much stronger and fitter I was getting on a weekly basis. I felt the mental benefits of training really fast. I felt happier, healthier, had more energy and soon wanted to become the healthiest version of myself. Physically, I ended up losing quite a lot of weight. However, this did not happen overnight. I would say this occurred over approximately a six-month period so the physical results weren’t instantaneous or daily, as I wanted to achieve results in the most sustainable way possible. Overall, it is the passion for nutrition and fitness I gained in the process and how happy BBR makes me that kept me coming back each day, not the weight that I was losing.
What challenged you the most in your early days?
I would say the most challenging aspect was getting used to how mentally hard some sessions can be. As most of the members know, at BBR you need to be prepared to work hard and the trainers do not let you slack off. In the long run, this has amazing mental benefits, but pushing through a tough session, especially if you’re not having the best day, definitely was a shock!
What’s different about your training with BBR compared to past gym/fitness experiences?
I don’t really have any past gym experiences that go past running on a treadmill for a bit, which says something in itself. However, the level of support and encouragement offered by the trainers and member alike is something I’ve never experienced in a sporting environment. Prior to BBR, I could never imagine exercise would be something I would enjoy doing and I can safely say that I love it now.
What’s the biggest health or fitness challenge you have ever overcome or achieved?
I wouldn’t say there were any ‘challenges’ as such, but my biggest achievement has got to be the fact that I lost around 22kg, which is pretty insane to think about now. However, I do want to emphasise that the healthy lifestyle I’ve gained means so much more than the weight I lost.
Tell us about any of your daily health routines that help you achieve your goals outside of the gym?
This is definitely something I’m now super passionate about. I love the quote that says “the secret of your success is found in your daily routine”. In terms of exercise, a couple of daily non-negotiables for me include training once a day and going for a walk by the ocean. I find moving my body and being as active as I can throughout the day puts me mentally in the best place possible to achieve as much as I can in my day. I also make sure I am fuelling my body with the best foods possible and I’m always trying new healthy recipes. I always make sure I have a good breakfast to set my day up well; a couple of my go-to breakfasts include protein oats or a green smoothie.
What are some of the goals you are currently working towards?
Honestly, I’m just trying to work towards becoming the healthiest and fittest version of myself. I’m going to continue to stay adherent to a solid nutrition plan and really want to continue to gain more strength and see what my body is capable of. I love hitting new strength PBs and the feeling of being able to rep out one extra burpee.
Tell us something special/surprising about yourself that we wouldn’t know?!
A fun fact about me is that I do not like the taste of chocolate (weird, I know).
Fast five favourites
Fave HIIT/Strength station? Any deadlift variation
Least fave? Froggers!!!
Fave café and your order there? Bib & Tucker: egg white omelette & a large almond flat white
Fave cheat meal? Ooh tough one, but probably a burger & chips from Grill’d or any sort of Italian dish.
Fave holiday destination? Definitely Paris!