Makeover revisited: Earlham woman’s quest to get fit

Back in May Life Matters reader Jackie Gooch embarked on an exercise regime to improve her fitness in order to raise money for charity. By August her fitness levels were sky-high, but has she stuck to her regime four months on? Emma Harrowing catches up with her to find out.

Fitness experts say that if you regularly exercise for two weeks you will get into the habit of working out and the challenge of getting fitter will become easier.

Breaking through the two-week threshold is easier said than done. You need to have determination, commitment and the motivation to get out and get fit. You also need to ignore that little voice in your head telling you that it's too cold outside, your favourite programme is on the television or the kids cannot be without you for an hour or so.

Jackie Gooch from West Earlham knows how difficult it can be to even contemplate getting active. This time last year the 36-year-old longed to improve her fitness but didn't have the motivation to get moving.

Says Jackie: 'Running around after my two young children Conor and Lara left me completely exhausted and I knew that I had to do something to improve my fitness levels.

'I would make excuses as to why I couldn't go to the gym or take up a sport such as I didn't have enough time or I needed to look after the children. The comforting thought that I could always exercise tomorrow pushed my fitness goal further away.'

Jackie's turning point came when she won a Life Matters competition to win a three-month gold membership at the Sportspark. Under the watchful eye of personal trainer James Richards, she stretched, ran and pumped her way to fitness.

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'Winning the competition forced me to go to the gym and I managed to work out twice a week, mainly in the morning when Connor was at school and Lara was at nursery.

'There were times when I missed a gym session due to summer trips, PTA events and school concerts, but I managed to keep going back when I could.'

'When I first started my fitness makeover my fitness levels were not the best, but just by working out twice a week I feel a lot stronger and I have more energy. I even managed to lift some furniture at home when decorating – that is something that I would have never managed to do before.

'I also have a lot more energy to keep up with my children!'

Jackie's newfound fitness encouraged her to take part in the Starlight Walk in the city earlier this year to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Jackie stuck to her fitness regime for an impressive three months. In that time she achieved so much, became stronger and healthier and improved her stamina. It would be a shame if all her hard work had gone to waste.

'I enjoyed going to the gym and it never felt like a chore, but I always thought that I would take a break from the gym over the summer holidays, then once the kids went back to school I would start my gym workouts again.

'When my daughter started school on half days in September I had every intention of returning to the gym but I never quite got round to it!

'I definitely want to continue with my exercising after Christmas as I did feel much fitter when I was working out.'

Although Jackie hasn't set foot in the gym after her makeover she hasn't totally given up on her quest to get fit.

'I have started walking a lot more since my fitness makeover and I will definitely be taking part in the Starlight Walk again next year as I thoroughly enjoyed taking part this year. Doing the Starlight Walk in such a short time was one of my greatest achievements to date. I'm definitely going to do it again. I have already enlisted a couple of friends to join me!'

Life Matters also treated Jackie to an image revamp courtesy of Jarrold's.

We showed Jackie how she can look stylish and yet still feel comfortable in her clothes by creating a layered look.

Feeling comfortable was an important factor in Jackie's lifestyle where she would be playing with her children most of the time.

Her hair was given a revamp at Hooloovoo on Pottergate with natural highlights which lifted her complexion, and a cut that was easy to manage and style at home.

Then she was whisked to the Laura Mercier counter in Jarrold's for a makeup lesson.

'My new look was amazing,' says Jackie. 'The clothes were totally different to the type of clothes I usually wear, but they were easy to wear and they made me look so stylish. They were also practical for my lifestyle.

'My hair had never looked and felt so good. I loved the colours, especially as they looked so natural, and the cut was amazing, my hair felt so light and full of body.

'It was great having someone doing your makeup for you as they can do a much better job! I looked so natural, but my features looked brighter and more defined.

'My makeover left me looking and feeling great and I wanted this feeling to continue.

'Therefore I have bought more layered outfits which definitely flatter my figure. I have also had regular trims at the hairdressers to keep my hair in shape as the style is much easier to look after.

'In fact I'm going back to the salon in a couple of weeks to have my hair dyed and styled like before.'