It started in 2012 when I was in my honours year at uni. I was writing my thesis, faced with empty days to fill with words. They weren’t coming but the due date was and I was getting increasingly anxious. I needed a hobby, an outlet to clear my head. I’ve always been athletic, and had just seen Million Dollar Baby so decided to take up boxing. I joined the Regenesis bootcamp run by Nick Whiteway. I immediately saw the benefits and started doing one on one sessions. Before this I’d done no resistance training. My gym routine consisted of 10-15 minutes of futzing on the treadmill, followed by half on hour of awkwardly using machines that weren’t occupied by the “real weight lifters”. Nick fixed this. He taught me the proper technique and ordering of exercises.  I was getting stronger and feeling great. I was a “gym bro” and could do more unassisted chin-ups than most of the muscle men on the floor.  

Then Nick moved to Ireland. I was devastated. Who would help me now? Enter Jarrat Wood. I’ll admit I was a bit disheartened when I finished my first submax test, sweaty and speechless, only to be told I scored “above average”. “Above average”?! That wouldn’t do. There was a much needed area of improvement. So the cardio training began. I was an avid runner as a child. In fact I set records in both 100 & 200 m sprints at school level. Then I hit high school and this became less and less of a priority. I stopped competing and ran intermittently when I went through “healthy phases”. These lasted a month at best. 

But this was different. I had structure! I’m a very goal-oriented person, so with all the numbers and targets Jarrat was throwing at me, I was hooked! I got so excited for my sessions. I knew they’d give me the achievement and catharsis I needed. But I wanted this high more than once a week. So I started running in the park. Jarrat warned me to only increase my workouts by 10% per week, “so if you run 30 minutes this week, run 33 minutes next week”. Of course I ignored this, went out too hard and came back to him with ITB (or runner’s knee). I’ve since learned the power of patience, listening to your body and most importantly professional advice. 

So I stuck with the plan and started seeing results in every aspect of my life. I ran the City2Surf in 78 minutes, putting me in the top 11% of my age group. Pretty good considering I’d only been training for six months. I lost a healthy 8kgs. This was a happy outcome of the training despite it not being a specific goal, but now it means I can wear whatever I want and feel confident that it will “fit right”. However the most pivotal change was happening to my mental health.  My concentration was improving and consequently so were my grades. I was feeling energised and just really content throughout the day. This is because, most importantly, my sleep had improved. I’ve struggled with sleep my whole life and can honestly say no treatment has been more beneficial than a strong exercise regime. 

I was sold. I wanted to prescribe exercise as medicine. So I completed my Certificate IV and was lucky enough to do my trainer experience with Jarrat which has now turned into this job I absolutely love. I still train with Jarrat for my own personal health because I know he challenges me in ways I couldn’t challenge myself.  I also believe no-one can be truly objective when it comes to their own health. You need a trusted expert opinion. That’s why when Jarrat says “switch to the bike, you’re getting shin splits”, I listen (finally). And that is what I utilise now when I work with clients, providing them with a clear, objective structure that I now know personal training can deliver because I’ve experienced it from both sides of the client/trainer dichotomy. 

I realise not everyone will jump into fitness as emphatically as I have. But I’m here to help more people make it a priority. It’s truly revolutionised my mental and physical well-being. It’s determined my career path. Most importantly, it has helped me become the happiest version of myself!

About the Author:

Rachel Baffsky is a Vert IV Trainer with a B Psych (Honours) and is currently completing a Master of Public Health at Sydney University. 

To book a session with Rachel email: rachel@personaltrainingprograms.com.au

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