Bev Short is Gorgeous Me's fabulous photographer
So, how did an overweight, non exercising, middle-aged woman become a personal trainer at the age of 49? Well, let’s start nearer the beginning….
I’ve had a few jobs in my time. In fact I could be called the Madonna of the employment world – reinventing myself every few years! I didn’t go to University. I’ve been a nurse, cared for disabled kids and adults, worked in bars and restaurants, been a legal secretary, a PA in the music industry, a full-time mum and a self-taught professional photographer.
Whilst finishing off my All Woman book/exhibition project (see images below), I saw a couple of photographs of myself in the local newspaper. I’d been unhappy about my weight for a long time. My clothes sizes had increased over the years and I was reduced to wearing shirts that covered my muffin top and dresses with sleeves because my arms seemed to have lost all definition. I felt old and unattractive, like I was disappearing. I had been attractive and slim for most of my life, but when I hit my forties things just seemed to go downhill and, although I didn’t like the way I felt, I had previously been too lazy to get on and do something about it. It was much easier to stay in my comfort zone and do nothing. I had never been sporty and the most exercise I ever took was walking from the front door to the car. But when I saw those pictures it was the final straw to get me motivated to hit the gym.
Holidaying with hubby
The gym was big and scary and, although I had done weight training in the past when I lived in London, I really had no clue what to do to make sure I reached my goals, so I hired a personal trainer to help me understand what to do. I also realised that I needed to change how I ate and that I needed to educate myself around nutrition, so I researched on the net and attended a couple of seminars to improve my knowledge.
By the time my All Woman exhibition opened 6 months later I had dropped two dress sizes and I was looking and feeling fabulous. I was fitter than I had ever been; I was toned from all my workouts with weights and I was looking younger. I felt gorgeous and sexy at the opening night and I feel even better now over one year on. My fitness, strength and overall energy seems to increase all the time. I’m 50 now and can out burpee (squat, thrust exercise) many a 20 year old!
In six months, Bev lost 12kgs through exercise and healthier eating and was feeling great
Promotional photo for launch of Bev's 'All Woman' Exhibition, 2012
When the All Woman exhibition came to an end and, after many attempts to get funding and/or publishers to publish the book, I decided to give up my art photography. It was a hard decision to make but it was the right one financially for my family. Then one day, whilst wondering what the heck to do with my life, my daughter suggested that I consider a career in the health and fitness industry. The gym and healthy eating had become such a huge part of my life that it actually seemed natural for me to be involved in it somehow. My friends laughed heartily! Although they were proud of me for losing my weight and keeping it off, I was still the woman who just one year earlier had scorned exercise and was regularly eating date scones with lashings of butter!
I thought I might be too old. I was six months off my 50th birthday and I knew from being in the gym that most of the trainers were young enough to be my kids. But then I remembered how I had felt when I wanted to lose weight but didn’t know how. I remembered how it felt to worry about the summer approaching and how I was going to look nice in my clothes but still cover up the bits I didn’t like. And then I realised that to go into Personal Training would be to help women of any age to feel better about themselves.
It’s now nearly a year on since I made the decision to begin a new career as a Personal Trainer. I love the fact that I go out every day to work with women of all ages – making them stronger, healthier and, consequently, happier.
It’s always hard to change, whether you are embarking on a new career or making a decision to lose weight and get fit, but sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith. We only have this life once so let’s enjoy it to the max and live the longest we can by eating nourishing foods and exercising regularly. And if you’re sitting on the fence right now thinking that you’d like to get fit and lean but that it’s too hard - look at my pictures and believe in yourself.
If I can lose weight and do what I’ve done – anybody can!
Until next time…..
Bev Short's 'All Woman' Exhibition
Two years in the making... here are some of the many wonderful photographs Bev took of inspiring New Zealand women.
Elena the violinist. She is Maori and we were depicting the fact that most people who go to the theatre, and who work in theatre, orchestras, etc. are pakeha.
Venus Star - burlesque artist and circus performer with her chichuaua - Rocket.
Barbara Kendall (multi Olympic board sailing champion) in her kitchen representing every 'super Mum' in the world - juggling family, work and life.
Marlene Henderson, 52 year old champion bodybuilder. Taken at her home in Taupo with her family.
Ruth Herbert - Director of Family Violence (not anymore) and domestic violence survivor. Image represents the women who have died through domestic violence. The two women on the left of Ruth each lost a family member. The shorter woman lost her daughter and the dark haired younger female lost an Aunty.
Do you have an inspiring story to tell and share? We'd love to hear from you.