Wednesday, 4 April 2012

I would have given up if I did not have Ralph pushing and encouraging me - Peter

Following major surgery on my neck I felt that I needed to build up the muscle in my neck and upper body without putting a major strain on my neck by lifting weights.

Ralph worked out a program for me which I did on a weekly basis for the next six months or so. He used equipment that meant I was not putting excess strain on my neck but at the same time built the muscle up so that my spine had more support where it was needed.

It was very hard work and I would have given up if I did not have Ralph pushing and encouraging me, but it made a huge difference and was definitely worth the effort. My general overall fitness also improved dramatically and I had much more energy.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Ralph's encyclopaedic knowledge of anatomy, skeletal and muscle structure - Rob Dodwell

314159. That is my new gym membership number. I cannot believe I have just said that, but there it is! 314159.

Ralph Hillier, who teaches the Monday exercise class at Springfield Parish Hall in Chelmer Village, talked me into this crazy enterprise! As you have probably guessed, I was somewhat sceptical at first.

Anyway, I admit it… I am weak and I caved! I tried it. I went for the induction. Ralph, also a personal trainer ( and gym instructor at the Brentwood Centre (is there no end to this man’s talents?) introduced me to the equipment, how to use it, what pieces of equipment I should be concentrating on to strengthen the muscles that I have up till now been neglecting, what I would be exercising, the best way to get the most out of each exercise (10 reps, 3 sets, alternating top half and bottom half) what I could expect from doing that particular exercise if I used the machinery correctly (and therefore, by a simple process of extrapolation, what muscles I could wreck by using it incorrectly).

With Ralph’s inimitable pragmatism, his understanding of how and why the body does what it does, its weaknesses and strengths and an individual’s specific limitations (not to mention his encyclopaedic knowledge of anatomy, skeletal and muscle structure and generally anything to do with anything), he adapted and fine-tuned the more ‘conventional’ routine to make the most of my restricted abilities (a fact evident to anyone who has attended his Monday exercise classes in recent months)...

Rob Dodwell

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Ralph is helping me change my life - Barry Scott

I have always been big, maybe not always fat but always the big one in the group of friends.
The young me, always happy to pose for a picture (is that towel pink?)
Unfortunately as I had always been the big one, in my late teens, early 20's when I became the fat one, and then in my mid to late 20's the obese one, I barely noticed.  I did not move about much and I ate, a LOT.
A rare picture of me,  October 2007, obese and no longer happy to pose
Then one day I stood awkwardly on something, I lost my footing and under my immense 22 stone 4 pounds my knee gave way and I heard a loud crack.  I was in so much pain I thought something was broken, I could not get up without help and went to the emergency room that day, I had sprained/ripped a tendon in my knee.  It took awhile to get better but the doctor was clear, my weight was the main contributing factor to what happened.  I had to lose it.
Tootsie, the day she arrived at her new home
On 6th July 2008, we got an exercise machine called Tootsie, a retired greyhound who ran under the name of Mohawk Magic, you can see her running on YouTube.  I had to walk her as she was my dog, so I did and between then and 2010 I dropped down to 19 stone 4 pounds, 3 stone gone!

I stayed around 19 stone 4 pounds for about a year, in March 2011 after some pressure from my brother Ryan, I started running.  I was an on and off runner and thanks to my huge appetite I did not really lose much weight, only getting to about 18 stone 12 pound.  I started running less and crept back up to just over 19 stone in time for my brothers wedding in August 2011.
That's me on the left with the extra chin(s)
In October 2011 I went vegan for ethical reasons and about a month later I was 18 stone, I lost a whole stone in a month (mainly because many biscuits, crisps, cakes plus other snacks and fast food are not vegan).

In January 2012 I joined a gym, after a month I had not really made any progress and was getting bored of my routine.  I decided I would try a personal trainer and having met Ralph at the gym I asked him for a session.  I was later speaking to my cousin and mentioned I was going to have some personal training sessions but I did not say with whom.  My cousin then said her friend who is always down the gym says a guy called Ralph there is really good, what a coincidence, I just booked up with him.

I went to my first session not really knowing what to expect, it went very well.  Ralph was not shouting and screaming at me, he told me what to do, he showed me and he had plenty of patience if I asked him to show me again.  He showed me a whole routine, explained why we were doing a particular exercise and it worked.    The routine he showed me was actually fun as I got to do lots of different things, I enjoyed it so much I went back that evening and did it again.

Over the course of about 4-5 weeks using routines Ralph showed me during our personal training sessions I lost another stone now leaving me at 17 stone, the lightest I have been in years.  In addition to the weight loss I ran my furthest ever, 8km, I had only done about 3km before.  I was also noticing the change in body shape and buying new clothes as I lost about 4 inches from my waist.
17 stone me, still a bit camera shy
This change was all from Ralph's routines as I am still having trouble controlling my food intake (3 large Indian take-aways in 10 days), once I can sort out my food intake the fat should come flying off.  I am by no means done yet, I have a long way to go, but for the first time ever I think I can actually do it.

Update 16/07/2012:  I am now 14 stone 2 pounds so have lost 4 stone since I started with Ralph in February this year, I have complete my first Triathlon.  I have also now taken up climbing, something I have wanted to do for years but did not due to my size.

Update 25/10/2012: I am now 12 stone 2 pounds, that's nearly 6 stone down from the 18 stone I weighed when I started training with Ralph In February 2012.

Lakeside Triathlon 2012
Harlow Climbing Wall 2012
Bit blurry but I am starting to get some definition in my back

Ralph helped me fit into my wedding suit - Caine Cheslin

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ralph for helping me fit into my wedding suit & getting me into shape, Ralphs coaching method has been very effective & 12 months on im very pleased, friendly high intensive & varied work outs. Highly recommended." - Caine Cheslin