Ruth Watkinson Personal Training: Combating 'gymtimidation' to shrink Preston waistlines

A woman who was bullied because of her weight is now using her own lived experience to take charge and help others shed the pounds.

By James Holt
Monday, 5th August 2019, 4:07 pm
Updated Monday, 5th August 2019, 5:07 pm
Ruth Watkinson.
Ruth Watkinson.

Ruth Watkinson, 46, from Ashton, lost a commendable six stone in 2017 after a long battle with her weight and is now setting up Ruth Watkinson Personal Training to inspire others to do the same in as friendly an environment as possible

As part of her journey, she has now qualified in gym instructing and training and hopes to offer a unique service in a UK fitness marketplace which is worth in excess of £5bn.

“People kept telling me I was an inspiration and I didn’t believe it,” she said. “I was always asked for advice from people. Everyone wanted to know how I lost the weight and maintained my diet. I overcame so many barriers throughout my life and really just wanted to help others to do the same.

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Ruth was previously bullied for her weight.

“I was always told that I wouldn’t succeed growing up, so I wanted to prove to myself and everyone else that I could achieve something,” Ruth continued.

An administrator for the NHS, Ruth hopes that the new business venture will provide a safe space for people who find themselves in a battle with the scales. Despite one in seven people in the UK being members of a local gym, waistlines are showing few signs of diminishing in circumference.

Part of that could possibly be chalked down to ‘Gymtimidation’, the concept of having the crucial motivation to embark on the quest to ge fitter but being reluctant to actually start a workout regime due to a fear of not fitting in at the gym. For those who are in most need of improved fitness, the lack of tailor provision is proving a frustrating road block.

And with ‘Gymtimidation’ becoming more and more of an issue as people take their first steps on their journeys to get in better shape, the need for a welcoming environment which not only promotes beneficial exercise but does so in a welcoming atmosphere is booming.

Ruth lost six stone in 2017 whilst preparing for the London Marathon.

“It is all about personal training,” explained Ruth. “I didn’t want all my classes to be at the gym, as people are often scared of the equipment and the unknown. I want people to feel comfortable with exercising.”

As part of the business, Ruth wants to use her newly-awarded diploma teach others to slim down. She has set up group training sessions, which are already gaining a lot of interest, at Galloways in Penwortham from the 7th August.

“I want to offer boot camps, group training and also one on one sessions with people. Now I have my qualification, it feels good to be able to help other people,” she said. “It’s great getting so much interest. It’s not about the money and it’s much more than just a qualification. If I can inspire anyone along the way then I’ve done my job.”

Ruth, now a member of the Red Rose Road Runners running club, believes that it was her training for the London Marathon in 2018 that pushed her to take a leap to the final step of her journey.

Ruth after completing the London Marathon.

After a tough start in childhood, it was an important lifestyle change that she had to make.

“Taking part in the London Marathon really showed me what I can achieve,” she said. “It helped me realise that I can overcome things. I had to deal with a lot of bullying in school and sadly, my dad passed away when I was 11 years old.

“It sounds silly, but people are now starting to treat me differently,” she added. “It’s been so good for my mental wellbeing and of course, my fitness.”

A beacon of the things one can do if they put their mind to it and have the right targets, help, and attitude, Ruth is now on a mission to enable more people to change their own lives too.

“My final goal was studying for the diploma and setting up my own business,” she said, with her new page available on Facebook and Instagram at Ruth Watkinson Personal Training. “I’ve learnt that if you work hard enough, you really can achieve whatever you want.”