Read Laura's inspirational story

The beginning
" I started to struggle with my weight during pregnancy in 2014. Everything was 'normal' until I started experiencing pains which resulted in being diagnosed with server SPD at 27 week meaning I was finding it very difficult to walk which continued for the remainder of my pregnancy. Due to complications during birth I was heavily stitched which left unable to move. This with the mix of strong painkillers the weight piled on.

In the following years I tried Slimming World and Weight Watchers. I managed to loose a stone, but the rest wouldn't budge. When I sore the competition to win 3 months free gym membership and personal training I though this was my last shot. I'm not one for entering competitions but this one really spoke to me.
Three months free membership and personal training sessions, I kept reading the same line over and over again "How will winning this amazing prize help achieve your goals?" So I wrote in, one last shot. One last shot to change everything I hated, everything I was frightened about. I bared all and pressed the send button.

Around two weeks later as I was getting ready for work, stretching my work shirt to make it look baggier, my phone rang from a number I didn't know. A number I didn't know was going to change my life and mentality in the space of five minutes. I'd won.

The day had come to actually get started on my first session with a personal trainer. I felt nervous, self conscious and yet excited as I walked in to the gym. There was the first time I met Mike. He was going to be my trainer and I instantly felt at ease. Mike started me off nice and steady after he took my measurements, Mike got me pushing a weighted sleigh up and down and working with medicine balls. It hurt I'm not going to lie, I also wasn't sure whether I was going to pass out, be sick, die or all three! But after those feelings faded I was feeling pretty awesome!

I was ready for my second session. I felt motivated and couldn't wait to get started. I didn't feel self conscious walking in to the gym this time, I felt determined, I walked in with my head held high because I was getting help, I was doing something about changing me, not just physically but mentally too. This session was the one that hurt the most, but was so rewarding. I was taught stretches for my hips and completed a circuit of kettlebell squats, crunches, weighted walking lunges and step ups. I found that I could catch my breath quicker than week 1 and was taking less breaks. I ached for days but it was worth it! In between sessions I haven't been able to get to the gym with my son starting his first week at nursery and work - so I completed my own mummy exercised using washing and doing lunges! I've even been for jogs as well as eating loads of chicken and veg. So far I haven't noticed much difference in weight, but I will soon enough!

So today was my final day as a competition winner, I have survived 3 months of personal training, gained new confidence, a new ever changing body, a gym buddy and a great trainer and friend.
This session was a hard one and I was wet through by the end, I did medicine ball throws, sleigh pushes, sumo squats, box jumps, burpees, step ups, thrusters, planking and dead lifts.
After was my full MOT, from the very first day of walking in to the gym, feeling self conscious, nervous and pretty terrified of what's in store, the changes to now are incredible. I have lost inches off my arms, chest, I've gained a bum! I've lost 17 inches off off of my waist and my heart rate is now at 116/79 coming down from 113/89.

I feel like a whole new person, I cannot thank places gym enough for giving me a chance and allowing me to take this journey. I don't think I will ever find the words to express how thankful I am to Mike, how much I appreciate each session he puts together for me every week and how he constantly supports, motivates and makes me laugh.

I'm not going to lie, it's been a hard journey, but it has been the most incredible one. It's opened up so many possibilities for me and it's not only made me stronger and fitter in body, but also in mind. Everyone has noticed the old Laura shining back through, and it would not ever have been possible if it wasn't for Places Gym or Mike.

This is the best experience I have ever done for myself I finally believe in myself.
This has saved me from antidepressants and a lifetime of feeling helpless.
Again, thank you Places Gym and Mike for giving me back. But my journey isn't complete, I'll be back next week, ready to smash it and open some more doors of possibilities."

Well done Laura! You have done amazingly - a true inspiration.