My love of health and fitness spans many years; as a single parent to my two children -Millisent 12yrs and Gabriele 7yrs- I proudly achieved my first sixpack after the birth of my second child by working out from home whilst studying, working and raising my young family single handed.
Fast forward to today and I’ve absolutely thrived on adding to my skillset; I’m a fitness journalist for fitness events, exhibitions and magazines worldwide, I’ve qualified as a level 3 personal trainer, nutrition advisor, studied sports massage therapy and mindfulness, achieved my PRO card in natural bodybuilding as a vegan and am looking to specialise in helping carnivores to transition from eating meat to a plant-based diet.
Longterm, my goal is to share my love of fitness and nutrition with the world, motivating others along the way with my journey and helping those near and far to lead healthier, happier, higher-quality more-fulfilling lives. Ultimately living longer, feeling stronger and spending more happier moments with loved ones because good health and a higher quality of life are key.
I’ve daydreamed of holding fitness retreats around the world, in sunny remote locations from rustic whitewashed villas nestled into beachfronts, greeting clients with morning yoga followed by a healthy superfood breakfast, afternoon meditations and daily workouts teamed with positive mindset practices; basically pushing pause on the stress, hustle and bustle of life, finding balance and peace and then moving forwards with a collective body mind and soul plan to properly enjoy life, recognise and love every day for the blessing that it is.
I’ve toyed with the idea of becoming a yoga instructor for some years now, ever since my doctor first referred me to a yoga class as as a young student when I developed high blood pressure during exams. I found the calmness, control and freedom of yoga so empowering and uplifting, not only was it a great way to reduce my stress levels but it also taught me so much about myself and what I needed in life to feel calm and at peace.
So a couple of children under my belt later, a successfully hectic work life and never-ending stream of chores, obstacles and challenges to face and my dreams of instructing yoga classes to stressed out fellow city-workers in paradise has seemed to be a million miles away. That was until a sudden worldwide pandemic caused mankind to be forced into lockdown to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus which has taken the lives of thousands worldwide and continues at an alarming rate.
After many hours debating my future plans, hopes and dreams, followed by just as many hours spent researching course providers and study material I’ve just taken my first step towards my next goal and enrolled in a yoga instructing home study course. So here I’ll be keeping a blog of my plans, progress, tips, advice and hopeful success in gaining my qualifications in the hope that I may motivate you to pursue your dreams too.
I welcome you to join me on my journey and leave any thoughts, feelings or feedback in the comments box below; wish me luck and I hope you find my blog helpful!
Coronavirus / Covid19 Quarantine
Whilst many binge on boxsets and movies, trapped inside craving freedom, I’ve never been one to sit and do nothing. My diary is now spookily clear for the first time ever, my home immaculate, my children three weeks into the routine of home schooling and the time feels right for me to begin the next step towards my life goals. For once I have time on my hands and the opportunity to spend it wisely, so I excitedly began my research into online study courses to make my dream a reality.
Where online study courses were once seen as secondary to attending University in adolescence, adult education is now a booming business as it combines the practicality of learning new skills and gaining qualifications at any age with the convenience of home study – afterall, we all lead such busy lives it can be almost impossible to fit in a full time career, commuting and raising a family whilst travelling to out of hours evening courses at local, or not so local, venues.
With quarantine set to last a minimum of twelve weeks, some suggesting eighteen months, now is the perfect time to begin an online study course for which I have an entire year to complete my course followed by a couple of classroom weekends and examinations once social distancing measures are eventually lifted.
Mental health is something at the forefront of society right now as routines are thrown into chaos and many are left isolated, alone and with little more than time and uncertainty on their hands than usual. Therefore, setting positive goals, having focus and spending this time constructively not only helps to restore a little normality to otherwise unstructured days, but it also keeps the mind busy away from the fear and negativity of the press and media.
After looking at a range of different course providers online I chose to study with Train Fitness and was able to speak to a really helpful advisor via telephone prior to enrolment to ensure that I can complete this course (within the twelve month online timescale) even if quarantine isn’t lifted, as they have put in place measures to postpone exams where necessary without having to re-enrol or courses expiring which I found very reassuring.
Why Home Study Yoga?
Whilst my children’s schools are frantically scrambling to now create online classrooms and set homework in study sessions via email, online courses are already in full flow, well established and able to handle the sudden influx in students worldwide as this is already their area of expertise. Therefore for support and qualifications home study is more practical and beneficial than ever.
Interest in yoga also continues to grow worldwide as we recognise the importance of reducing stress and keeping active, not to mentioning maintaining flexibility with coming age. Not only is yoga something that I already thoroughly enjoy to supplement my active lifestyle, but from a business perspective, qualifying as a yoga instructor gives me greater scope to work around my young family and help others whilst striving towards achieving my own longterm lifestyle-intervention dreams.
This yoga instructor course focuses on yoga training approaches and techniques, health and safety considerations, the philosophy and fundamentals of yoga as well as how to plan and teach your own yoga classes which is something I’m really looking forward to.
Accredited by YMCA Awards, once the course is completed I’ll hopefully be awarded my Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Yoga. This qualification is recognised by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) in the UK, ICREPS Global Portability Matrix, European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPS), as well as internationally with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) – something many other courses may not provide.
My home studies can fit into my existing lifestyle whilst giving me access to tutors and online support should I need them. The online application was quick and easy to complete and after processing I was able to gain access to all of my course material to get going right away.
My Course Breakdown
My home study Yoga Instructor course consists of the following modules:/
Introduction to Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Yoga
Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Yoga Learner Achievement Portfolio
Unit 3.1 – Anatomy & Physiology For Exercise and Health
Unit 2.2 – Know How to Support Clients Who Take Part in Exercise & Physical Activity
Unit 2.3 – Health, Safety & Welfare in a Fitness Environment
Unit 2.4 – Principles of Exercise, Fitness & Health
Unit 3.5 – Philosophy and Fundamentals of Yoga
Unit 3.6 – Programming a Yoga Session
Unit 3.7 – Delivering a Yoga Session Practicum
Unit 3.7.1 – Delivering a Yoga Session Stage 1 Training Weekend
Unit 3.7.2 – Delivering a Yoga Session Stage 2 Training Weekend
Unit 3.1 – Anatomy & Physiology for Exercise and Health Theory Assessment
Unit 2.2 – Know How to Support Clients Who Take Part in Exercise & Physical Activity Portfolio Assessment
Unit 2.3 – Health, Safety & Welfare in a Fitness Environment Portfolio Assessment
Unit 2.4 – Principles of Exercise, Fitness & Health Theory Assessment
Unit 3.5 – Philosophy and Fundamentals of Yoga Portfolio Assessment
Unit 3.6 – Programming a Yoga Session Portfolio Assessment
Unit 3.7 – Delivering a Yoga Session Practical Assessment
Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Yoga
20 CPD POINTS are spread across Anatomy & Physiology for Exercise & Health, Supporting Clients in Exercise & Physical Activity Health, Safety & Welfare in a Fitness Environment, Principles of Exercise, Fitness & Health Philosophy, Fundamentals of Yoga, Programming a Yoga Session and Delivering a Yoga Session.
My course provider, Train Fitness, are the first training provider in the UK to have an app allowing me to study the online component of my course on a mobile device so that I can study on the go without being limited to a laptop or desktop.
They conveniently have training and assessment centres across the UK including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ipswich, Chelmsford, Southampton, Liverpool, Nottingham, Leicester, Leeds and Newcastle which my nearest centre being in London.
I can now begin working my through the online course material from home which involves completes the practicum which is 30 hours and a portfolio consisting of worksheets, a journal evidencing 60 hours of yoga practice and also session planning. I can then book onto the relevant scheduled course days and assessment day in London and submit my practicum evidence as well as hand in your portfolio on the assessment day in order to complete my course and gain my qualifications.
With courses starting from £1199 I found this to be excellent value for money for the high quality content and respected qualifications that I can achieve, as well as incredibly affordable with a family as you can break the total into three payments, pay upfront in full or utilise a finance plan of up to five years which is nice to know. They also accept Paypal as well as credit and debit cards and can handle everything over the phone or online – personally I like to speak to an advisor on the phone to ensure everything is accurate and processed in realtime.
My home study course is managed via an online learning portal where I can view my online course material, book onto the course, training and assessment days, as well as watch and participate in eClasses – all of which I can do from either my laptop and mobile app to fit in with my day. I particularly like that they allow you to e-sit theory assessments free of charge on relevant scheduled assessment days, with practical re-assessments and missed practical assessments being subject to a re-booking fee.
Whilst the online course doesn’t include printed material, all static course material is printable and all forms accessible from the Student Desktop.
There are four classroom days in total which are held over two weekends split into stage 1 and stage 2 and can be booked onto at a time to suit via the portal. The classroom days are usually scheduled a month apart followed by the assessment day when students hand in their portfolios and perform practical assessments; you need to bring three participants along with you on the day for this or you can submit a video with six participants online.
A basic level of English and Maths is deemed necessary to understand all content and if you, like I do, already hold a level 2 certificate in Fitness Instructing then you may be eligible for exemption from certain parts of the course.
This course is physically exerting and participation in activity is essential so it’s helpful to already have some degree of physical fitness before starting out. Prior attendance at yoga classes is also very helpful, but not compulsory – all in all I find this course a perfect fit for my lifestyle and goals and I feel fit and ready to begin the next step in my career.
Home Study Support
What really sold me on this course was the access to the Learner Support team who assist with all study sessions and queries as well as the tutors who lead the classroom days. There’s nothing more frustrating than being stuck on something and left in the dark, when having a question answered promptly and professionally by a tutor can solve the confusion and keep the flow of learning on track.
The team is available via telephone, email and on the help desk which is ideal and I aim to assign 2-3hrs at a time throughout Monday to Friday to undertake my course which also allows me to work from home as I presently do, tend to my family and keep up on the extra quarantine housework, chores and DIY sprees – essentially switching time I would have spent commuting for studying my course material instead!
There are also online eClasses which can be booked or viewed at just the click of a button and all eClasses are recorded and then added to on online library so if I ever fail to attend a class I can go back and watch them again without missing out or falling behind.
I love how this course utilises peer-to-peer help with the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn profiles encouraging students to join in social media conversations and share their experience of the course as well as encouragement for others and personal progress – I’m all for fitness families!
Studying with a provider who has over 17yrs of experience tutoring thousands of students, is fully accredited with courses awarded by YMCA Awards, Active IQ or SkillsActive and internationally recognised by REPs and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) I’m looking forward to being educated by some of the fitness industry’s best tutors from the comfort of my home.
I’ve really been playing catch-up on lockdown working full-time and home schooling my children. Being self-employed I sometimes get a whole wave of work all at once which fills my every day and then other weeks it may just be 3-4hrs per day and I have weekends off. I’m certainly hectic at the moment without childcare.
Something that I’ve really found helpful is the Introduction module to this course because it outlines everything that is necessary as well as helping you to plan how and when to study and what works best for you as an individual. Being able to set goals and deadlines for course module completions helps to keep you on track and motivated by having something to answer to, and whilst I have an entire year to complete this course I’m hoping on finishing far sooner!
Each module comes with text, graphs, diagrams, videos and audio to help you to grasp the content in a variety of ways, before you then move onto the module questions in the form of a worksheet. What I particularly like about the worksheet gradings is that the results are immediate to say whether you have passed or need to retry and it highlights in red and green which questions are right or wrong so that you know what to improve on.
I’ve been kept fully up to date as a student concerning the Coronavirus handling of online study courses with Train Fitness and was informed that their face-to-face gradings for exams will now take place online, meaning I no longer have to travel to a classroom weekend because of social distancing. This means I can compete my entire course from the comfort of my own home and not worry about childcare, transport or juggling work for time off to sit my exams. It also opens up their material to students studying from across the world as they do not have to attend a classroom in England.
All in all, whilst there are advantages and disadvantages to being in lockdown, I’m thrilled to be using this time wisely, enjoying spending time with my children, working hard and structuring my studies around my new normal in order to achieve a career in Yoga Instructing for a bright and beautiful future.
This weekend was the bank holiday with beautiful weather and plenty to keep me busy around the house. What with the children being off off school and catching up on work between doing chores and trying to study, I decided to take some time out to be with my children and live in the moment – no phones or electrical’s!
We had the most wonderful time cooking, eating, playing and walking and I feel so relaxed, if not exhausted, by using the time to be so active and make home improvements. Now that it’s the start of a new (shorter) week following the bank holiday I’m back to my studies with a positive mindset and can-do attitude.
It can easily become overwhelming to have so much on your plate work wise, whilst still wanting to progress career wise through extended studying. But it’s important to develop a healthy balance between your home/work and study life so that you don’t burn the candle at both ends and become exhausted.
Set yourself goals, have a deadline in mind to pass each module to keep motivated, but don’t beat yourself up if you do not make each milestone in time – it’s best that you take it at your own pace and ensure that you learn however is best for you.
What I really love is how the student Learner Study Plan (LSP) helps you to plan your study time to fit around your lifestyle so that you can predict how long the course will take depending on the amount of hours needed per module. This is a way of realistically understanding the pace of your progress and giving you an end-point to aim towards.
I found that when I was a student, many moons ago now or so it seems, I used to make notes on paper cards, use coloured highlighters, draw diagrams and doodles and keep images and text layouts as a visual in my mind to refer back to when my physical notes weren’t available. I would spend hours re-writing text from study material into my handwriting to say it outloud, read it in silence and write down what I’m thinking.
Now that it’s more than several years since I’ve been at school, my life is far more hectic than when I had the luxury of being a snoozing student with little responsibility and the forgetfulness of being a busy single parent and I’ve noticed how my study pattern has changed.
Making pages and pages of long-winded hand-written notes no longer cements the information into my memory, but instead keeping shorter bulletpoints with detailed diagrams in notebooks to refer back to works wonders. I must have filled up my internal memory space years ago and can recall the majority and jist of what I know, but the finer facts need fine-tuning with a prompt or memory jog which I put down to age and a hectic lifestyle.
However you choose to study, learn and absorb information is down to what works best for you as an individual. I’ve come to realise that revision methods which used to work well for me as a young adult have now changed with time, which is why it’s important to always return to your notes, to keep the mind active and jog your memory on previous topics and past qualifications whilst adding to your knowledge. We are forever learning and knowledge is such a powerful thing! Now, onto my next module…!
Today I’m off to a flying start, I woke up an hour early to catch up on chores, make the breakfast and sort through my emails, which has given me a morning to dedicate to studying for my yoga course; I’m brimming with enthusiasm and positivity!
Some of the worksheets are smaller, more bite-sized sections focusing on the origins, insertions and actions of different muscle groups around the body and they’re a real morale-booster when you can whizz through them and achieve progress!
Others are much longer and include more questions, videos and audio files which are a great help – the variety in size and content really keeps me on my toes and stops the process of studying being too overwhelming and repetitive.
Whilst the gyms here are still closed as we enter week 11 of lockdown, there is talk of them potentially reopening in a months time. I make sure I keep m children active with me by taking daily walks and getting them involved in homemade foods as they would usually be at school with dinner magically appearing on the table once they come home.
Fitness is very much a lifestyle and something that is incorporated into everything that we do, from eating well to keeping active in the body, mind and soul. That means working hard and pushing boundaries whilst ensuring time is taken to relax and unwind, bringing balance to both progress and de-stress when necessary.
I’m nicely into my quarantine flow now with the children, the house, work and studies and whilst it feels like it’s already been an eternity of change, I’m ready and able for even more change to come. One step at a time we come ever closer to achieving our goals, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you, what’s most important is that you keep on moving forwards in direction!
I’ve found that in times of chaos and uncertainty in life, having a goal and turning to fitness helps to bring me focus and peace and for that reason I’m looking forward to helping others across the world to feel the same way.
Just as I had found my flow with my studies I went through a really painful breakup during Covid lockdown as my longterm relationship came to an abrupt end and the news reported an all time high in relationships ending, divorces on the rise and single-parent families because of the stresses of the pandemic and loss of freedom and routine.
It hit me so hard as the world as I knew it fell to pieces around me as I was entirely helpless to do anything to change it. Home schooling my two children, working from home full time and studying teamed with running a home and suffering from a broken heart proved too much for me to maintain and as a result I took a step back from my studies in order to heal and balance myself; the first task was to focus on eating and sleeping again in order to function properly.
Five months have passed in what seems to be the blink of an eye. I’m ahead on my work, have fully redecorated my home, the children are back to school full time and I am physically, emotionally and mentally in such a positive place in life, which has given me the ability to peacefully return to my studies.
We all face times of hardship and struggle and life is a series of tasks and obstacles one after the other. Rather than burn out and break, it’s healthy to take a step back when necessary, realign yourself and come back stronger and more prepared. I’m feeling so refreshed and enthusiastic to pick up where I left off with my course and am incredibly thankful that I am able to study from home in my own time whilst the children are at school working just as hard.
Today I’ve been focusing on muscles of the core post-pregnancy and it’s bringing back fond memories of regaining my sixpack after having my two children. I’m so excited to be able to put my skills and future-qualifications to good use one day and help others to look and feel their best. Keeping the end goal in sight, focusing on setting aside quiet study sessions between parenting and socialising and knowing that each day is one step closer to achieving my dreams has really got me buzzing to progress through this course. Covid may have a lot to answer for for the suffering it has caused to so many, but it’s also proven that the comeback is always far greater than any set back!
It’s been a bit of a hectic week or so what with my daughter celebrating her 13th birthday and I my 33rd! I’ve had lots of friends and family to catch up with, playing catch-up with work as always when the children go to bed and nipping from appointment to appointment as I transition my hair from redhead back to blonde, undertake 7-9hr sessions at a time on my sleeve tattoo for my entire arm to be inked, attend grooming appointments for the dogs and I for my lashes, and hit the gym for 2hrs per day everyday to both unwind and progress.
It’s a fine art finding balance but something that I’m really enjoying, even though life is so busy! It keeps me on my toes and means there’s never a dull day. Progress is progress, no matter how big or small, it’s important that we continue to move forward towards our goals without burning out.
Seeing as I’ve now completed the Endocrine and Nervous Systems I have unlocked the Energy Systems as my final section to complete before I can take my Mock Theory Paper which I’m both excited and nervous about. I’m excited to make progress, yet nervous to think that I began this course a around six months ago before taking a break for personal reasons and now I wonder if it will all be as fresh in my mind as it needs to be in order to recall the necessary information for the test!
Only time will tell and I’ll be sure to do my revision and skim over my many notes in preparation. If we look at anything as a whole it may seem daunting and monumental at first, but when you break it down into bitesize chunks and take it one step at a time it’s surprisingly manageable; I shall keep calm and carry on!
With my course deadline approaching I have just over 6 weeks left to complete my studies and whilst I’ve had a lot to contend with throughout lockdown I am finally on track for completion! It seems a million and one obstacles have fallen into my path recently from my car battery dying in the snow and getting stranded to my home gas supply being cut off from the sub-zero temperates and a water leak then destroying my kitchen ceiling.
Not only am I home schooling the children again but also raising a litter of four beautiful bouncing puppies who all need round-the-clock care and attention before they are old enough to find their forever homes. It’s therefore safe to say that studying during a pandemic whilst overcoming a broken heart and working whilst raising two children alone without childcare is quite a task that I didn’t intend to deal with all at once whilst undergoing a study course, but hey ho, I shall keep calm and carry on!
I’ve managed to dedicate a good block of study time recently to my course by juggling my work and feel extremely motivated by the progress that I have made. It’s easy for life to get in the way and for things to crop up to throw us off of schedule, but whether we take small steps or giant leaps, all progress is progress and we shouldn’t feel disheartened!
I am super excited to have completed all of my online theory and worksheets for my course now which includes personal training and yoga as my previous qualifications had expired so I have to resit them all. Today I moved onto my online theory assessments and was shocked to realise that it has almost been a year since I started the earlier part of my course, out of morbid curiosity I wanted to know if I could actually remember any of the course without having to revise, so I took a practice test first before sitting the live test and to my elation I passed with a mark of 24/30 for the practice Principles of Fitness which was dead on the overall pass mark. I then took the live test and passed again with the exact same mark, despite the questions being different as they are generated for each exam to avoid cheating.
Being able to sit a practice test, much like the mock at the end of the unit, is a great way to see which areas need more work and where best to direct your attention during revision. Being a busy mum I find that my short term memory can be rather questionable at times from so many tasks and the sheer volume of responsibilities, but my longterm recollection isn’t too bad. Needless to say, it is always useful to have a quick re-read of course material which is so quick and easy to access online as it’s broken into sections in the learner portal so that you can instantly find what you’re looking for.
Next up I’ve booked in for my Unit 3.7.1 – Delivering a Yoga Session Stage 1 Training Weekend via zoom in March which is a few weeks away now and ticks off part of my course criteria for a 9am-5pm session. I’ve also revisited my LAP (Learner Achievement Portfolio) which I’m presently working my way through as it covers part of my assessment which in hindsight I should have been filling out with each section of the course that I completed, but it’s no bother to go back over it all and revise for my exams as I complete the necessary paperwork.
Seeing as we’re still in lockdown because of the pandemic until at least this summer, I haven’t been able to attend any local yoga classes in person but have been using online yoga videos and DVD’s to practise from home. In order to be assessed I also need to have observed a live yoga instructor for 30hrs to shadow their lessons which again is proving quite a struggle for me in lockdown. I’ve reached out to some instructors to see if I may observe their online lessons but am yet to hear back from any of them as I’m sure this whole procedure of online training is new for so many and student confidentiality may prevent them from wanting a stranger present, let alone a student.
I’ve been informed that after the deadline for my course passes I can apply for an extension at an additional cost if I’m unable to complete all of the criteria’s in time. I’m hoping that it won’t come to needing an extension and I can find a suitable instructor to shadow before then, but only time will tell. If we weren’t currently in the midst of a pandemic I don’t doubt that this whole process would be a whole lot easier, but it’s reassuring to know that there are online adaptations available to make sitting my exams possible rather than delaying.
Remember to check back soon to see how I’m getting on!