Faye Stevens

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If someone told me that I would be South Australia’s Strongest women one day I would have laughed at them. But to my surprise I won that title in 2013. So how did I get there? With F!T F!X of course!

The story starts with my job, I run a small business in Gawler. I would struggle at work with the day to day activities due to my weight and lack of fitness. Aching all over after a day at work in retail and to be honest most of the day I would have to sit down. My back would just ache all day. I would feel like falling asleep at around three in the afternoon. When I got home I would be exhausted and just tell my hubby Scott to get take away on the way home cause I just couldn’t be bothered cooking.  I decided enough was enough I couldn’t go on like this any longer. I just had no energy and was in a downward spiral. I was very unhappy and new the only thing stopping me from being happy was to lose weight and get healthy. I was 33 and 126.5kg.

I decided to join Weight Watches and for a while it was great losing weight bit by bit, but I was still not happy and lacked motivation to exercise or still enjoy my life. I felt like I was missing something. I wanted to be fit and healthy and have energy. My Weight Watches leader Sarah Robinson kept going on about this F!T F!X, she use to buzz around full of beans at WW. So I wanted to try this thing at the park. Sarah mentioned it was great fitness and outdoors in the fresh air and was just fantastic. I though what have I got to loose. I wanted her energy she had. Imagined to my self how great it would be to have a smile on my face and full of beans at work and when I got home. It would be amazing I thought, lets hope this works!

1094827 642918265759482 1944020463 n Faye StevensI rocked up and met the trainer / owner Adam Fowler, I was made to feel welcome and meet a few other people (much thinner than me) and naturally felt a bit scared. I would just give it a go the first session was free and I just thought I owed it to myself to try it. I could hardly run was out of breathe and felt sick probably like 20 min in. The session went for an hour and it was a full hour of exercise. What I found surprising was that everyone there finished together even if you were last. Everyone encouraged me. Made me feel like I could do it! It was like they all knew what I was going though and got around me to help to show I could do it!

Well 45 min in and I could feel myself getting really sick. I said to Adam I don’t feel well I think I am going to be sick. Just be sick then he said. (this hes use to people saying it, so thats his answer now) No, oh are you ok or maybe you should stop. I ended up throwing up with the last set of this exercise I was doing, to run up the hill. Adam was like you finished. No I said I have one more set to go. He looked very surprised I didn’t give up and sit down after being sick. I will never  forget what he said to me. That right there you not stopping proved to me and yourself you are ready to be here, work hard and get results!!!!! I got a big clap from everyone for finishing my first session. I felt like I could take on the world, I had proven myself, I didn’t give up, I finished and it felt amazing! You need the right attitude to get results, they are giving to you, you have to work for them. Adam will help you get them results!

I went home feeling sick but fantastic at the same time. I felt like I had done something I never thought I would do. Not just do a F!T F!X session but actually finish something I started even though   I was telling myself to quit. It was like I had a switch go off inside me.  The next few days I could hardly walk as I was un use to any form of exercise. My muscles ached but I knew this would happen form years of neglecting my body, I just keep thinking if I keep at it I will get better. The soreness was short term compared to the pain I was in from being overweight.

 Faye Stevens

When you are just starting each session you really have to dig deep and pull strength from within to finish. It is sometimes the hardest thing to do, To tell yourself you can do it!!!. Your body aches and can still be raw from the session the night before but you just have to tell yourself to keep going. You need to prove it to yourself, you need to want to make a change.

I decided to keep going doing boxing on a Wednesday (my favorite session) and Sunday’s sessions. I was soon hooked. Once you start this level of exercise it’s like a drug your body needs it more and more to feel alive.  I started to go at least four times a week. I was starting to feel great, every session was different and challenging every time. I was always encouraged every session by people who had been going for a while they always made me feel like I was doing really well. Well done Faye!!! Keep going you are doing great!!!. People have always been at my side since I started to finish each session off and now I help others finish. It was great to have positive people at the sessions, it would inspire me. My energy levels really are amazing now. I have more energy both at home and at work. I get all these things done that before where just too hard too even start.

I started to meet new people and start of friendships that are now lifelong. Kelly, Deb, Belinda Karen and Tanya are just a few of my closest friends now. Come to think of it most of those who go to F!T F!X  I would class as friends. Everyone has their own story on why they started and keep going !!!! It felt amazing for me to help other new people on their first session, I become inspiration for others.

I am always constantly inspired by people at every session.  Its amazing the things you see people do and the results they get. Some come to a session with little confidence, lack strength and scared to start a convo, give them a month, they are buzzing with energy, fitter and sharing stories.

1794818 724901950894446 438632456 n Faye StevensSomeone mentioned I should try doing a Personal Training session with Adam. No way I would said I am not ready for that. I guess I knew it would be really tough and I wasn’t ready to see if I could do it. I think it was the unknown and had nowhere to hide, it was just me and Adam. Once I started it was like OMG why did I sign up for this. I couldn’t get my breath, ached from my other sessions but with Adams encouragement I Just kept going. It was tough!!! But I did it !!!  I knew it would help me getting results faster, and I could learn so much more, he could focus on me! Sure the PTs are a bit easier now as I am stronger, fitter, faster etc but Adam just steps you up and makes them more challenging every time so your always getting better and always learning. He is there to get you results, to keep you on track for your goals!

Adam is a tough trainer and to the point, but you know he is right (he has the experience, qualifications, knowledge), it’s just a shock to have someone actually be honest to you. How many people can say that?  It’s just like no one says to you your getting to big or you eat too much, But once you exercise they want to put you down, say you exercise too much.  I guess he sees potential in ever client and he helps you to achieve your true potential. Many times I have wanted to just walk out on a training session when I’m having a bad day. Why am I bothering, this is too hard. I just want to give up. These thoughts sure go through your mind during training. Adam always reminds me of my goals why I am there. Not to give up, keep going!!! Focus on the positives in your life. It’s amazing how you feel after a group session or PT session. I might have had a bad day at the shop or just a bad day in general you just for that one hour can switch off and f

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Adam mentioned about a strength class he did after group sessions lifting weights at the studio. Sounded like something else I might like to try I was a bit worried I would hurt my back. But Adam said you will train to lift correctly. I could see at this point in my life my attitude was changing. I was trying new things, going out more being happier at home. It was like I was feeling like a new me a confident Faye instead of someone never wanting to go out of my comfort zone.  I loved my F!T F!X sessions after work ( yes after work when I would usually want to fall asleep or laze on the couch watching tv).ocus on you. You finish on a high! The anger or issues are gone and you are working on getting results no matter what they are.

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Strength sessions were fantastic it made me feel alive to lift weights. I was on such a high after each session.  Each session my lifts were bigger and I could feel all those nagging pains going away. Was great to learn correct form as I had tried a gym before but was never taught correctly, I was just put on a machine, but with Adam and strength training I learnt heaps, started with basics like squat, press, deadlift and leads up to Olympic lifts. The best thing of lifting weights it always helps with weight lose. Sure I was sore sometimes but it was showing me I was getting stronger and the training was working. I use to look at it as the soreness was from exercising all of the muscles that had been asleep all these years. Hence why I started to feel alive. It was great value for money Ten week block for only $120.00. Each week saw myself getting more and more Personal Bests. You can’t really put in to words what it’s like getting a PB it’s a great achievement and shows you, your hard work pays off. It’s great to track your progression too.  I would want to go home and brag to other people what I could do now. I felt amazing at work my energy was amazing, clients wondered how I had changed so much. I started to share my F!T F!X secret with them, and then they too would give it a go.
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Strength quest (strongman/women grading) was coming up and Adam thought it would be a good idea for some of us to enter. I guess he could see I was ready step it up again to a new level. It was my first comp like situation. I was never an athlete at school and always though I wasn’t good enough to do sports being overweight.  I am sure a lot of people had this problem or still do. The day had arrived I was so nervous. I was never a person who liked to be out in front of people.  But the Strongman community is amazing. The crowd really gets behind you and pushes you through each lift. I was so proud of what I did I faced my fears. It was an amazing day I did great lifts and it made me feel on top of the world. There was mention of a comp for SA Strongest woman in February that year and some of us should give it a go. OMG that was like the big time for me!!! Serious stuff!!!! I wanted to do more, I felt alive and ready to prove myself again.

With Adam we adapted my training to build up for the strongwomen comp. I had trained hard and the time had come for the comp. I pushed myself to the limit that day and took out the title OMG!!! I knew at the last event I had to push myself if I wanted to win. I was in pain and even though the crowd were really loud I sort of zoned out and could only hear myself breathing. It was a weird experience. I felt like I was in the zone and nothing else mattered, I wanted to win this! Winners were announced and I was SA STONGWOMAN for 2013. I was handed an amazing trophy. I treasure my trophy. I have never had one in my life before because as a kid I didn’t do any sports due to my weight and it means so much to me. It’s a sign of how hard I have worked and that I can do more with my life if I actually put my mind to it. Winning SA Strongest Title showed me I could do these things, I was so proud of myself, Ii even got a tattoo.

Over the past two years I have gone from being a couch potato to Winning SA Strong Woman 2013 then third in the National Strongwoman comp 2013 in QLD. That was an amazing experience. Traveling interstate for a comp was unheard of for m. I was so nervous on the day. Looking around the room at all these amazing athletes and couldn’t believe I was among them. I almost had to pinch myself.  I was lucky to have another F!T F!X client with me Bel.  I was so proud of myself. I lifted 70kg stone on the day and got a PB in my dead lift 170kg. The training I had done paid off.  The cheers from everyone got me through my deadlift. I really dug deep gritted my teeth and dug my heels in to get that up. It was an emotional experience being away from family, friends and work to go lift heavy weights with some of the strongest in Australia!

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My next comp was the F!T F!X Strength comp in Gawler as part of the Gawler Village Fair. I ended up coming 3rd in this comp, I was a bit disappointed as it was in my local town and I was very sick for this comp but still competed and very happy with what I came as some very strong ladies had entered this comp and I had to work hard. A lot of events really spread out the field and different equipment made it very interesting. It was tough to compete when you’re not 100% but it was great to see so many other girls compete on the day. I could see from this comp my competition just got harder. More girls competing now!!! I had to step up more and train even harder!!

 

Earlier in the year I decided to try something more adventurous, True Grit an obstacle race. Wow that was one amazing day 12kms of sand, mud and obstacles. A group of F!T F!X girls all stuck together as a team, helping each other over every obstacle. I remember Belinda saying to me “You are going to get over that wall if it kills me.” This wall was bloody high. But with the help of all the girls I did it. It was a great feeling to think they wanted it so bad for me. I walked away and remember looking back at the wall and thinking OMG that was amazing. It took us a while to finish but we finished. It’s not something I ever thought I would do. But it shows with supportive people around you anything is possible, and now I have people telling me they are inspired by what I have done.

New year meant new comps and new goals had to be set. At F!T F!X Adam and Bel are all about goals!!!! Set your goals and when you want to achieve them by and stick to them!!!
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No one would tell me, Faye your unfit or Faye you eat too much, but it’s funny how they say Faye you exercise too much, Everyone has an opinion on what you are doing. But really the results speak for themselves. I was SA strongwoman 2013 and hard work got me that title!! That’s why these goals are so important. I had a drive for something, I wanted to train, I was not that person who sat on the couch eating no more, I was up and active.
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2014 SA strongwoman title up for grabs! I was excited about the comp but I hadn’t been able to train as hard as I would have liked. I fell off my bike late in 2013 and hurt my knee and really left it a bit late to get looked at. I still trained with both Adam and Bel, yet my training sessions where changed to make sure I didn’t aggravate my injury. I was happy they were able to do this for me and still encouraged me to train just as hard. Yet on the day of the comp I was very cautious that I didn’t hurt my knee again. I wore a support and thought just do you best. I just love all the strongman community. Everyone just yells and cheers you on even if you are their competition. I came third this year’s SA Strongwoman event. I was disappointed yet I know what level I have to train at now to get to my goals for next year’s comp. I have to step up to the next level as these ladies are getting stronger too.

I have just recently started doing the WOD (workout of the day) sessions after boxing and Adam is really pushing me to the next level in my training. I have and still do struggle with my cardio. I feel stepping up and doing more cardio will help me improve even more in the long run. I really enjoy this session!

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Next up for me is Stampede an Obstacle race in April and then in May I am off to Sydney to compete in a Strongwoman comp. I am confident that with the help of Adam and Bell at F!T F!X I will do awesome in these events.

I guess you are never too old or unfit to give anything ago. You just need supportive people around you and the attitude that you want something more. I always look for something new to try and challenge myself, it keeps you feeling alive!

F!T F!X is a great supportive group of people who help encourage you to do this. Adam and Bel are fantastic trainers always encouraging you to reach for your goals and be better than you were yesterday.
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I started at F!T F!X two and a half years ago. I feel so much fitter than I have ever been. I have never stuck at any exercise as long as this and been as consistent in my attendance. I get emotional at the things I can do in my life now, I never thought I would or could do these things, it’s amazing just what fitness can help you with, I eat better, I have more energy, I sleep better, my skins better and generally everything is better when your healthier and fitter. When I started F!T F!X it was also a good way to meet new people and cope with some tough times I was going through . I suffer Depression and high blood pressure and through exercise I have been able to have something positive to focus on and my blood pressure is much better. My hubby Scott has said in the past two years I have become a much more positive person. He is always very supportive of my fitness. He can see it has helped me both physically and emotionally. Think I even find cleaning the house easier.

My fitness journey has been far from perfect. I have had some really challenging days, days when you just want to give up due to the depression. Some days are better than others.  At group fitness the night before you feel great but two days later you are like why do you do this, the self doubt comes in and questions yourself and your goals. I have asked myself this a lot on my fitness journey.  My answer to myself is always the same.  Keep going, this is working, I am a better person! I look back at my life before. My depression felt like it was getting worse. I would smile at work serving people and then lock the door and cry out the back. I would have sever migraines that would have me go to bed as soon as I got home from work. On better days I would go home from work and just hide away. I had no friends. I never wanted to socialise. No enthusiasm for life. It was like ground hog day. I would cry myself to sleep. Sure I was depressed but somehow I gained the courage to make a change in my life for the better.  So I don’t want this stuff to happen again I don’t want my depression to take over my life, so this is why I continue to exercise.  I want to go forwards not backwards anymore! From me wanting to success lead to my business picking up.

Scott is an amazing husband and my best friend but this has always been something I have had to do for myself. Not even his support could help me. I had to help myself. I had to want to make a change. I have such amazing friends around me now. We are all a shoulder to cry on and kick up the arse when we need it.  I think if F!T F!X wasn’t a place of constant support and encouragement I would have quit years ago!!  It’s amazing at my age I never had a trophy from anything, now I have lots!
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I just love my F!T F!X family  It’s always different, I never feel judged, no session is ever the same and its always a challenge.  Whether you are a beginner or have been going for two years your work out is suited for you, it can be tough but that’s what gets results!! More reps, longer distances are given for those who have been training longer. You all finish the same exhausted but happy that you have finished another session. You wonder what’s on in tomorrow’s training session???  Only Adam knows and that’s what keeps you going back! It’s not a boring gym with the same class, it’s always different and that’s what hooks you, you feel like you don’t want to miss a session. I get a sense of empowerment when Adam uses me as example to new clients, “This lady Faye, couldn’t get off the ground her first session without help, and was sick, but now look what she can do.” I feel like I am a role model sometimes.

So as I write this I do get emotional, as I wipe away a tear, looking back at how far I have come, I am not the best with words. I wonder where I would be if I never made a change in my life? This is the scariest thing I can think of and drives me to push forward. It makes me so proud of the things I can do now, it’s not just the fitness side of things it’s the rest of my life has changed for the better. I am a better person, I am a better wife, I am a better daughter, I am a better business owner, I am a better friend, I am better all round for what I have done.  I feel like I owe it to all the other people out there to share my story of what I went through, in hope you make a change. So what are you waiting for? Stop doubting yourself and give it a go but stick with it, you will thank yourself for it!

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