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Personal Trainer or Not?

This is quite a personal post.  It’s pretty long, but I think it’s necessary to show how I’ve felt about exercise and my health.  It’s also as a very big thank you to people who have given me some very special time, and have recently been helping me enormously.

Ok, on with it.  None of us are getting any younger, well maybe Demi Moore, Cameron Diaz and Victoria Beckham are, but I’m traditionally ageing forwards, bulldozing my way towards retirement at a frightening speed.  I’m pretty proud of what my body can do these days though.  And that’s a decade and a half after entering menopause.  Yes, I did have the luck to enter mine early, in my thirties, so my worst days flew away with the cuckoo long ago.  It does mean that I’m more at risk of osteoporosis than everyone who hits hot flushes in their late forties or early fifties, so I’ve been desperate to begin taking care of my joints and bones.


With my weight loss, I’m feeling better than I have for at least two decades, with the odd blip of two of a runny nose and sore throat, when those pesky kids of mine take home precious germs from school, just desperate to share them around.

So, the short story is, I can run….  Very slowly, as I keep telling everyone, but that’s so I don’t have to get embarrassed when a ten-year old whizzes past me in public, or I huff and puff my way up a new hill.

Back to what I’d planned talking about.  It’s a simple question isn’t it?  Whether to consult a personal trainer or not!  Or maybe it isn’t.  What do we even mean by a personal trainer anyway?  Shouldn’t it be someone who knows more than how to train us, or someone who knows about how fitness affects overall health?

Honestly though, it’s a potential mind blower…with all the terms and confusion.

I can imagine about a quarter of you who are reading, silently thinking, ‘no brainer,’ yet the other three-quarters might either be sniggering their socks off, or wondering what else the money could be spent on.


All of the above, are actually valid reasons, as is the concern of hitting a gym full of late teens and twenty year olds, either pumped up or perfectly body beautiful.  In reality, few, if any, care about us oldies with wobbly bits, but how we feel, does often stop us from doing things that are good for us.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when I was young, I longed for skinny legs and the smallest clothes I could fit.  I’m eons more sensible now, having realised that being strong is infinitely more attractive to anyone with a bit of sense.  And that’s not on the outside, but on the inside, where it counts. Think about it. What we look like on the outside, isn’t going to help us age gracefully or healthily, if we’re thin but unfit, or overweight and wanting to do something about it, but can’t get up the courage to take the next step, or perhaps don’t know where to start.

That was me.  After I was asked to run the Race for Life, I just kept going, not having a clue what I was doing really, but just putting one foot in front of the other, and building it up slowly.  It was the right way to do it, and I’d read and read about strength training, but just hadn’t figured out how to go about it.  I knew I had a skinny fat type belly, and I knew I wanted to do something about it, but somehow, I still felt embarrassed.  I thought about using the gym, but thought I’d look like a numpty newbie.  Even worse…was that my husband bought himself a home gym in January, but has never used it, so I wanted to, but never felt I was doing anything constructive.

For a while now, one of my secret wishes, was to add strength training as my middle body is weak, and not in good condition.  I look fine, but I haven’t felt fine about it.

I’ve often wondered how to measure body fat percentage over the last year, but a body fat caliper seems to be very far out, as most of the fat I’m left with, is stored in one area.  It could throw those results off.

I had the opportunity to have an InBody test done at Temple Medical, by the lovely Jo, one of their doctors, and the reading pretty much confirmed what I thought.  The test, which measures our body composition, is fairly comprehensive and does far more than simply measure body fat.  I know my body water, protein, mineral and fat mass levels….  It’s an enlightening and very quick test to have done.  It’s also an eye opener.  Lots of people are telling me that I’m soon going to be too thin, yet the InBody test tells me I still have a lot of work to do.

Most of my fat is centered around my abdomen, and it’s not a great thing to have, considering my weight is inside the normal range, but I am only a smidgen under the line for dangerous visceral fat.  Yes, I have UK size 7-8 feet at just over 5 foot 4, so I’m never going to have a skeleton that lets me on the lower side of the weight scale without looking emaciated, and my InBody score came out at 72, which I am assured is fairly good.  Yet it’s not ideal either, considering that my body fat percentage came out at over 30%. That’s despite all the running and weight loss.  In other words, it was staring me front and centre, in black and white, that I’ve done nowhere near enough to be fully healthy.  I’ve had blinkers over my eyes..and stuffed cotton wool in my ears.  I knew this stuff, but whey hey, pretend it doesn’t exist, and I could fool myself that I was more healthy than I was.

Put that BFP into perspective.  In some places, they class people with over 30 BFP as obese!!  Compare that with the fact I take a UK size 8 jean in Next these days.  Usually 8-10 in most other places.

With a few tips from Jo about food, and advising me to eat at the level of 1300-1400 calories a day, with around 130g protein in 24 hours, and how to get that in, I set off to make a few changes, knowing I could ask her for more advice.  I don’t need to diet as such, as that would be daft, but what I do need, is to replace some of that BFP with lean muscle instead.  Yep, I’m back to strength training, aka weights, and lifting…

It’s laughable – lifting weights at my age, isn’t it?

Or is it?

Who doesn’t want to be strong?  I’m sure I do.  When I get to sixty, or seventy, if I make that, or even beyond, I still want to be able to climb stairs, go for walks, maybe even still run, chase around any potential grandchildren, and enjoy life to my potential max.  I’m never going to be ready for my pipe and slippers when I retire.  I’ll be blogging till I’m ninety….

Moving on, and back to the issue of personal trainers.  They’re scary…  Usually perfectly fit and able twenty somethings, who’ve never fought with life, weight, stress, or kids running around their ankles. That’s what I thought.  There are lots of gyms in Aberdeen, yet I wanted to talk to someone who’s had a bit of life struggle.  Someone who would understand that having a dodgy thyroid makes losing weight tricky, someone who had perhaps lost weight themselves in the past, and someone closer to my age. Regular personal trainers don’t seem to have that experience, even if they do have nutritional qualifications.  I can imagine they exist, but I hadn’t found them.

My one and only experience to date, a few years ago, was a very young lad, telling me to go longer and faster on an elliptical, which I hated, then onto a treadmill, where my legs wobbled like jelly and my heart felt like it would burst by the end.  I never went back.


I found what I was looking for when I didn’t expect it at all, and it’s changed my life in a single session.

Tracy is the Health and Fitness Consultant at Temple Medical, and she was my next stop.

I have to admit to being a little anxious when I first met Jo and Tracy.  This isn’t even what I initially went there to review.  I was asked to review treatments, which I naively thought were all based around the face.  On my blog, they’d spotted my weight loss and let me come to talk about the service as part of their aesthetics treatments and weight loss management.  I’ll talk about it in another post, as I’ve begun the body contouring phase of their Alevere Weight Reduction Therapy programme, although I don’t need the weight loss segment.

As an overview, I took advantage of the session with Tracy, secretly hoping she’d be able to help me decide what to do with my pathetically weak belly.

Have a giggle at the wee time-lapse below.

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I felt fine with Tracy.  She’s around my age, has life experience, and knows about the difficulty of being fit, and struggling to find the nerve to do something about it.  In short, it seems I have lazy glutes.  Those backside muscles that seem to have withered away on me.  Honestly, there’s nothing back there these days.  I’ve got strength in my thighs and calves from running, but my mid section, glutes, and almost everywhere else, is pathetically weak.


By the time I left that one hour session, I could have kissed her.  Really.  The introduction to exercise is tailored at our ability to cope, and can be built up slowly.  I don’t think I stopped talking all the way through, asking questions over and over..

In the studio, she introduced me to kettlebells, basic stretch exercises, and has given me a great idea for using the redundant weights machine in my house, by adding an extension to the front instead of needing a cross hook.

I’ve had a mat for years, that I’ve finally unrolled for my home gym (in the pic).  I’ve bought a couple of kettlebells from Amazon and I’m all the bash. I’ve no intention of joining a gym, but I would if I had to. I just can’t get to one often enough to justify the expense, and I like the idea of being able to go to my gym any time I want to.  Whatever we can stick to is what we should do, if we can.

I believe Temple Medical has classes and Tracy has invited me along to see one, so I’ll try to stop my joints popping before I mosey on along.

I’m back to see Jo in a month or so, to see how I’m getting on for a follow on InBody scan, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed I manage to make a little progress. Kettlebells and protein, here I come.

Temple Medical are introducing a new product, which includes everything I experienced, which runs initially until Christmas.

New Temple Body Health Assessment in Aberdeen

  • InBody Scan, ie Body Composition Scan and Results.  Find out your percentage body fat, protein, minerals, body water and more.
  • 30 minute session with Jo, Medical Doctor, to discuss InBody results.
  • 30 minute session with Tracy, Health and Fitness Consultant.

You get all of this for £99, initially until Xmas.  Call: 01224 869997 for current offers.

I’d often wondered how to get a full body scan done, and thought it would cost hundreds and hundreds to have it done.  I had no idea how simply and quickly it could be done and analysed.

Find Temple Medical at:

Temple Medical Ltd
6 West Craibstone Street
AB11 6DL

Thanks to Temple Medical for my consultation and treatments.  All opinions are my own, based on my experience.  Other treatments available include light therapy, wrinkle relaxing treatments, skin rejuvenation, blemish removal, body contouring, ipl laser hair removal, and many more non surgical cosmetic procedures. 

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Tata fine lines & wrinkles…. Not sad to see some of you go…..

nomake-uphiOne of the lovely things about blogging, is the opportunity to do things I would never have thought of beforehand.  Yes, I’m getting to the age where old leather and hide boots has been more apt to describe the surface of my face, but I’ve done not too badly in the grand old scheme of things at my age.

Most of the people I know who are a decade or more, younger than me, haven’t been so lucky, which is surprising, especially since I was a smoker for many a year in my youth. But time marches on for all of us.  If you’re still a spring chicken, don’t worry though, it doesn’t hurt to get older.  We just look wiser to everyone else….apart from our kids – for whom we look like old crocodiles…

Saying that, I do have some sticky points that mean I avoid looking in a mirror…  I think we all do at some point in our lives.  Go on, laugh if you recognise this…  Especially if you need glasses or contacts like me. Pull on clothes, squint in mirror, slap on some foundation and squint some more, before applying squint eyeliner and lippy.  Raise eyebrows and pucker lips – we look awesome in the mirror… The first picture on this post is me, three days after my first treatment, and no make-up on. I’m happy with that.  I don’t look so red already. It seems a good skin clinic is something I’ve been looking for all my life.

Rolling back the years is something I am conscious of these days.  I’m doubtful that any of us want to look old, but neither do most of us want to look like some of the A listers who’ve made some of the biggest mistakes of their lives by going for extreme cosmetic surgery. I’ve thought about having some gentle work sometimes, but as a sandwich carer for 3 adopted kids and 2 dementia parents, one of whom lives with me, as well as finding time to work, I tend to spend my life doing things for other people, and only recently started spending time on me. I should have done it years ago, but none of us are perfect.

When you start looking at the different treatments and salons, it can get quite daunting.  So many different options, and no way to know if it’s safe or not, until you get it done….which was why I decided to accept a lovely offer from a company in Aberdeen, to have a consultation and see if there was anything they could do for me.

The Temple Medical Clinic is based in Aberdeen, and owned by Dr Sam Robson, a GP since 1997, who’s been practicing medical aesthetics since 2004.  With a recognition of how difficult skin, premature ageing and obesity affect morale, she set about finding a new way to tackle this very real issue that affects both men and women.

I fully understand that.  For the years when I was well overweight, I did nothing, avoided gatherings and nights out, even crossing the road to avoid people I knew before the pre busted thyroid weight gain, and absolutely hated looking in the mirror at myself.  I’ve written about how my low points affected me before, and now that I’m back to a more normal weight, life seems much brighter again, but ageing catches up with us all.  I’m not one of those people who pretend they’d have nothing done, so I’m happy to try out some of the procedures at Temple Medical and shout from the rooftops about it.

Feeling good is what it’s all about.  Without feeling good, life is a pretty rough road indeed, and if some pampering can de-stress us and raise the good hormones in our bodies, then I’m all for it. BUT, and this is a big but..  I have to feel comfortable that I’m not entering some back street alley with someone who did a 3 hour course to do my treatments.  Having a medical doctor in control is a hugely reassuring thing indeed.  I’ll write more about Temple Medical itself and the service in another post, as I’m steamrollering my way down the page at a rate of knots, and I haven’t told you anything about my treatments.

My first consultation was with Karen Urquhart, registered nurse, who is an independent prescriber.  She explained the effects of skin and ageing.  I was surprised to find out that as we age, the volume loss in our faces is due to reduction in bone size, which leaves the skin more loose, and ageing of collagen which deflates our supportive soft tissue.  So, instead of tight and plump skin, that’s attractive, and makes us feel good when we’re young, we start to squint in the mirror to avoid seeing the fine lines, or just throw on some slap and go.  I don’t know what I thought, but I realised my slightly saggy skin wasn’t due to something I’d done, but due to my advancing years, and possibly effects of the early menopause I went through in my thirties.


On arrival, I was whisked off for my consultation with the lovely Karen, who took images of my skin to show the sun damage, and where skin could be improved.  I have very little sun damage.  That means my strategy of using factor 50 on my face, in all weathers for the last few decades, has paid off.  I had a low score for that, a fairly low score for wrinkles in my age group, but a higher one for redness in my face.

I’ve always had rosy cheeks, even as a young child.  I suspect it’s a form of Rosacea that us Celts suffer from, but thankfully, mine has never progressed to pimples and acne.  I just have the dreaded red cheeks that get so red in some situations, I look as if someone has burst a bottle of red ink on my face.  I have never, ever, had the need for blusher…  As a red face sufferer, I know I’ve had it fairly easy, but still, it embarrasses me a lot, and when I run, my face is scarlet all the time.  It’s not quite as bad as when I was younger, but it’s still there, taunting me every time I look in the mirror.  I know it’s a first world problem, but if something makes us feel uneasy, it’s worth looking at.

I had no idea something could be done about it.  None at all.  Although I wanted to do something, I’d read years ago that nothing helped, so as time moved on, I just hadn’t done any more research.  When Karen mentioned a course of light treatment would help, as well as help rejuvenate skin, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles, there was no way I would even consider saying no.  That would be like shooting myself in the foot.  The picture above, was taken lying down on a couch at Temple Medical.  Now if only my skin could look so line and blemish free when gravity was working on it, I’d be a happy lady indeed 🙂

I first tried Omnilux, which promotes our own natural healing processes.  It’s a rejuvenant to leave us glowing and looking younger and more radiant, with not a needle in sight.  It also helps acne and eczema. I had my first session, which has us lie under a bank of lights, which are actually very bright and take a little adjusting to.  As someone who rushes around non-stop, I appreciated the relaxing time, and when Karen suggested I go for a course of 8 treatments, with the maximum results showing over time, I was happy to go with that.

As luck would have it, Temple Medical had an open night for a new treatment, which includes a full facial. I couldn’t go as it clashed with parents night, and being a responsible parent, I couldn’t miss that, but Karen suggested I might prefer that to the light treatment alone.  So, although I was going to talk about Omnilux first, I’m going to go more in-depth about the new treatment.

SkinFusion Signature Facial

temple-medical-kim-aMy therapist is Kim, who’s lovely and chatty, but not intrusive.  She’s calming and very relaxing to have a treatment with.  Kim explained the process very well, and talked me through it the whole way.  There are a lot of lovely little bits that go into this facial, and including a hand and shoulder massage was the icing on the cake.  The recommendation is a course of 3 treatments, 1 per month, but to keep the effect, a top up as a core monthly treatment is recommended.

Kim said.

When your skin just isn’t looking its best and you are looking for a rejuvenating treatment that will leave it glowing, looking more youthful and radiant, light therapy promotes your own natural healing processes and works at brightening your skin as well as tackling problems such as acne, rosacea and eczema. Even the most sensitive skin can cope with light therapy. It is quick and has no side effects such as pain, redness or irritation.

Cells within the body contain receptors that naturally absorb light. When the body is exposed to light, these receptors absorb the light waves. This process stimulates normal cellular activity that occurs naturally within the cell; light therapy accelerates these processes making the cell more efficient and able to deliver visible improvements in the skin. It stimulates the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid. This plumps up your skin, resulting in a fresher and more youthful appearance.

We went for a snapshot before the therapy, as Kim assured me results can be instant, with a noticeable difference right away.  This was a nice touch, as I could really see the glow and increased plumpness in my cheeks afterwards, as the faint smile lines beginning to form in my cheeks are noticeable when I laugh.  I have to say though, that it was a full three days afterwards before I noticed a big effect.  My cheeks looked more like they did when I was younger, slightly rounder, and the smile lines were much reduced.  The plumpness smoothed them out.

Honestly, I felt like a Princess during this treatment.  I’ve never had a facial done before.  Ever.  I’d never made time for me.  I can’t believe I’ve got to this age before doing it, but I’m here now.  I think I made a very wise choice indeed.

The treatment is gentle and relaxing and is suitable for most skin types but it also incorporates advanced cosmeceutical ingredients that give instant results to brighten, firm, purify soothe and lift skin.

Kim cleansed my face with Vitage Cleanser, the exfoliated my skin with Vitage C02 Micro Peel.  My skin tingled slightly, but not uncomfortably, more invigorating, with a pleasant aroma.

A very high tech Hydro Mask was next, placed directly onto my face in two parts, before the Light Fusion equipment.  It’s a red light and plus light incorporated into one device, for more powerful results, and is on for 10 minutes.

Kim kindly told me to relax while the light does its magic, as she massaged each of my hands in turn.  I very nearly fell asleep…

After just 10 minutes, the lifting mask was applied, which made my skin feel slightly tight – while Kim carried out a neck and shoulder massage.

At the end, Kim applied a Vitamin C Serum, and massaged it into my skin, before also applying Vitage Eye Cream and Vitage Age Defense Power Repair Moisturiser, and finishing off with Vitage SPF 30.

At the end, we went back to take another picture.  Wow.  My cheeks had popped out a bit.  My skin was brighter and glowed, and not just from the products.  There really was an instant effect.

What Did I Think of SkinFusion Signature Facial?

  • I love the idea of once a month treatments instead of every week for light treatments.
  • I’ve already said how much I loved the effect three days afterwards, when I realised cheek laugh lines weren’t so obvious.
  • I really loved how my cheeks seemed more plump and I felt I looked younger in the mirror.
  • Having all the other little bits as part of the facial made it very special indeed.  Massage, exfoliation, light treatment and face mask, all in one go.  It’s genius.  While I enjoyed the Omnilux, I think SkinFusion is a far more pampering experience.  It’s like a whole course of luxury in one session.
  • I can’t wait to see the final results after three full treatments.  I would never have believed my skin could feel so much better than it does already.  As a skin treatment newbie, I had the best of both experience, and products, in the SkinFusion Signature Facial at Temple Medical, for my first toe dipping into growing older gracefully.

Here are the images of my before and after using the very unforgiving camera in the practice, for close up comparison.  It’s a scary thing for sure.  When I first saw Karen, she said this was the point where you realise how much like your mother you look like.  She was right.  No holds barred here, and frightening to see, but in the interests of blogging honestly, you can see for yourself. I’m going to be very interested to see how my skin is after the three full treatments.  There’s no way I’m going into Xmas without one of these treatments now.  I can see a new hobby coming on…

Shininess from products aside, especially in images 1 and 2, you can see the difference in volume in my cheeks already. The redness didn’t show in the images, due to the lights, and my face was a bit pink from the lovely facial, but the first picture at the top of this post helps to make it obvious that some redness has gone.

before-1 after-1

before-2 after-2

before-3 after-3



Temple Medical Ltd
6 West Craibstone Street
AB11 6DL

Thanks to Temple Medical for my consultation and treatments.  All opinions are my own, based on my experience of red light therapy.  It’s quite interesting that there’s also blue light therapy for acne, as well as wrinkle relaxing treatments, skin rejuvenation, blemish removal, body contouring, ipl laser hair removal, and many more non surgical cosmetic procedures.  I am very much enjoying this.