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Juanita Inspired Her Son as she Gave Up Cola and Became a Runner

Juanita’s story:

“In July 2007 I weighed 74 kg and had never run so much as once around an oval. When Brad put me on a treadmill I managed barely 2 minutes at 7.5 km/hr, then had to stop, panting for breath.

In August 2008, weighing in at under 60 kg, I ran the Lake Macquarie Half Marathon: 21.1 km at an average speed of 8.5 km/h in 2 hours 25 minutes of non-stop running!

This was a complete transformation. How did Brad do it?

Juanita and Johann - Mother and Son Team | Running | Le Parkour

For a start, he is a very encouraging and positive person.

In July 2007 he got me thinking about running as a means of weight loss and put the idea of the Pub2Pub fun run before me. This is a 13 km run from Dee Why to Newport that takes place in late August each year, and getting myself into a position to undertake a 13 km run in a matter of weeks certainly looked like a steep challenge from where I was at that time! But I set about it, and each time I reached a mile-stone in my training, I would text Brad to tell him about it. No matter how small and insignificant it really was the first time I ran 20 minutes non-stop, the first time I ran at 9 km/hr, the first time I ran for an hour, the first time I ran 7 km non-stop he would reply with a super-enthusiastic text that made me feel like I had just conquered Everest.

I set out on the morning of the Pub2Pub not really sure if I would make it to the other end, but fired up to give it a go, and found myself in Newport 1 hour and 47 minutes later, having run almost all the way. This was a major achievement for me and gave me an enormous boost in self-confidence in a year when I was going through a very difficult time in my personal life. When I saw Brad at our next training session he laughed and said that next thing I knew, I would be wanting to run a half marathon. Then he added:  I’m not joking. I’ve seen it happen more than once.

So the idea was sown and it germinated there for the next few months until by January 2008 I knew that I wanted to give the half marathon a go. Brad was wonderful in my training, especially in the last couple of months before the run in August 2008. He came running with me twice a week, making me run up hills (yuk!), making me run sprints (ditto!), and generally giving me the core strength and conditioning I would need to make it through 21 km. The day before the run Brad texted me to wish me luck – I think of all the clients that he has, and yet he still remembers when there’s something special happening in the life of each one of them. That’s the kind of guy he is.

I was so impressed with the coaching I was getting from Brad that in January 2008 I started my son (then aged 14) with him as well. Whatever activity my son is into at any given time (mountain-biking, parkour, surfing), Brad tailors his coaching sessions to focus on the specific sort of fitness and strength exercises that my son will need for that sport. It has been wonderful to see my son develop from Brad’s coaching, not only in terms of strength and fitness, but in terms of an interest in health and lifestyle issues as well. I call my son a mini-Brad, as he now thinks (and talks!) constantly about diet and exercise, is studying Exercise and Sport Science at uni, and has enrolled in a Certificate III in Fitness course in order to become a personal trainer himself. I could not ask for a better mentor for my son than Brad!

Nutrition is a big part of Brad’s coaching ethos, and was a major factor in my ability to lose weight and gain fitness. Doing the metabolic typing questionnaire was really important, as it showed that I was a mixed type, but leaning towards protein. This meant that I could focus on getting protein at each meal, but still enjoy a slice of toast now and then, which is something that I do crave.

Brad’s major achievement in terms of altering my diet, however, has been in ending my long-term addiction to Coca Cola. I don’t drink alcohol, smoke, or drink tea or coffee, but I used to get through a 1.25L bottle or more of Coke a day. By late afternoon I would be feeling tired and irritable, would often have a bad headache across my forehead and behind my eyes that made it difficult for me to concentrate, and some days I would descend from there into a debilitating migraine. Brad wouldn’t even let me switch to Coke Zero (all those lectures on artificial sweeteners!!): there was no choice but cold turkey! So I started drinking mineral water. What a difference! The afternoon headaches have now gone, my skin is so much clearer, and I feel much more energetic than I did before!

Brad’s coaching has also changed my lifestyle. I travel quite a lot for both work and pleasure, and now when I book accommodation interstate or overseas, I always try to make sure it’s near somewhere I can run such as a park, or a riverfront or seaside esplanade. I love getting up in the cool of dawn (6-7am depending on the season), putting on my running gear, and going for a morning run in a new and invigorating environment. It really makes me feel happy and sets me up for the day ahead.

My body confidence has also been boosted significantly. When I first started with Brad, I wouldn’t let him coach me outdoors as I was terrified of what passing traffic would think of my ‘enormous’ body as I ran down Harbord Rd. Now I love exercising outdoors to the point where the gym is really only a last resort in very cold and wet weather or in the dark of evening. Otherwise, I’m out running along Pittwater Rd, totally focused on times and distances, and not giving a second thought to what anyone might think of me as they drive past.

The biggest benefit I have received from my coaching, however, is psychological. Ever since Brad helped me realise just what I am able to achieve (far beyond what I thought I was capable of!), I feel like there is a big capital-letter ‘I CAN’ in my brain. It’s there, and I know I can call on it whenever I need it. Whatever the challenge facing me (work, personal, sporting), I know I can deal with it.

I’m now training for my second half marathon, and actively out there running hills for fun! (Still hate sprints though).

Brad is an awesome trainer and a great human being. I hope you enjoy working with him.

 

Words from Johann, Juanita’s son:

I started working with Brad at the beginning of 2008. I was fairly fit, and fairly strong but after just the first session, they had given me many new things to think about, such as posture, breathing, water, organic food. Immediately my lifestyle improved in quality!

I completed Brad’s initial education sessions, and then it was onto strength training. At the time I was very interested in Mountain Biking, so my program was suited to improving my overall strength, my weak core muscles (which I thought was already quite good!), and my muscular endurance. After working with him for about 3 months I had another measurement session and I had:
– lost more body fat;
– phenomenally improved my core strength;
– increased my fitness level;
– and markedly improved my diet and overall health.

I’ve continued his coaching over the years, and my weight has steadily increased (only by muscle though!) and my flexibility, fitness, muscular endurance, back problems, headaches and many other problems apparent at the start of the 1st year have all gone!

Brad was also excellent in the way that he suited my program to what I was doing, such as Mountain Biking, MTB Racing, Parkour and fun-running, and surfing.

I highly recommend working with Brad, if you wish to improve, well, everything!

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