About Claire’s Blog

What Makes Me Tick?

That’s a question and a half and if you’re reading this then you’ll probably be trying to gauge who I am as a Personal Trainer/ Life Coach and if I’m the one for you.

I’m 42, own my own Personal Training (and now Life Coaching) business, and have done so since leaving the military in 2007. I joined the 3rd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment in 1995, initially part time for just over a year, and then transferred to full time. My reasons for joining were simple- I always wanted to join from a young age and I wanted a career that I would enjoy and that would challenge me. I found the discipline easy, pushed myself hard physically and soon was off to Aldershot for my P.T.I (Physical Training Instructor) course. I now had the crossed swords of the PT Corps to add to my uniform and soon progressed to the rank of Corporal, training men and women in all aspects of physical training in the Army.

After 12 years in the R. Irish,  home service battalions were disbanded and I left this part of my life behind. I re-qualified as a civilian Personal Trainer and transferred my self-discipline, strong vales, knowledge and self-motivation to my clients in LA Fitness, Belfast. I found the switch easy and forged a career for myself in the competitive world of PT. I continued my professional development but wanted to move out of the gym to my own studio. This was a risk but I was determined to move ahead, take that risk and believe in myself. I invested in myself and got a website designed and made. Then a studio came up in Malone Rugby Club that was perfect in terms of space, area, car parking etc. So, I took the risk and moved across town. Some clients came with me, other couldn’t due to logistics, and some still train with me to this day.

When I moved to the studio, the credit crash of 2008 happened and no one was taking risks, but I did. I kept believing in myself, knew I was best at what I do and kept delivering fantastic results to my clients.

On a personal note, I had the small issue of being BRCA 1 positive. BRCA 1 is a gene mutation that is inherited from either parent and raises your chances by up to 85% of getting breast cancer. I had a positive genetic test in 2002 (26 years old) and was told to come back to my GP when I was 35, which is 10 years before my mum was first diagnosed with breast cancer. I did this and knew I would be offered yearly screening or risk reducing surgery. My stance was simple- if they’re going to potentially kill you, remove them. My risk of ovarian cancer was also very high and with the small issue of endometriosis, a cyst on my ovary and a dropped womb (none of which I knew about), it was a no brainer. I am a black and white type of person. No frills and no fuss. Let’s move forward.

The surgery went well, I hit some lows but soon regrouped and was back at it in no time. I was fine about changing my training and gave up playing hockey but took up mountain running instead. My mind was as strong as steel, I was determined to move forward and didn’t tell anyone except close friends about the operation details until after. I had a choice, made it, moved forward and didn’t dwell on the negatives. I only thought about the positives.

This is how I approached the Marathon Des Sales in 2016. The MDS as it is known, is a 7 day footrace through the Sahara Desert. You are fully self sufficient, carrying all your food and kit needed to survive in this extreme environment. It was always my dream to race this iconic challenge. I applied, planned my training meticulously, carried it out, went to the desert, believed in myself never once thinking I would fail and came home 9 days later, a lot lighter and with a medal around my neck. It was a dream and I achieved it even though my body didn’t enjoy it and I was sick when I arrived. I stayed mentally strong and robust using my Army training to full effect. Healthy mind…healthy body.

I am also writing my autobiography. My writing is slow but I will get there because I have told myself that I will…

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