How Gina Found Her Thing
Name: Gina Robinson
Home club: Chermside
Gina lost her husband to cancer and became a single mother to her nine children, overnight. His death made her realise, that as the sole carer for her large family, her health needed to take priority. Two weeks after her husband’s passing, Gina walked into Goodlife Chermside, signed up and has never looked back. Here’s how Gina found her ‘thing’ at Goodlife Health Clubs
When did you first sign up at Goodlife?
2 years ago.
What motivated you to join a gym, and Goodlife in particular?
I have been on a journey all my life to find a solution to losing my weight and having a fit and healthy body. Joining a gym seemed like a practical step in finding that place. It was very important for me to find a club that had a variety of facilities, a friendly environment and a diverse selection of members. Somewhere that I could walk in to with a degree of comfort in a very overweight body and not feel judged or humiliated. Goodlife Chermside ticked all of the boxes. There is such a variety of members all with their own goals and agendas and the staff and trainers are so welcoming and meet you where you’re at both mentally and physically. Goodlife Chermside possesses all of the facilities that cater for my whole family which was a very big draw card.
Tell us a bit about your personal story and how training at Goodlife helps you in your day-to-day life?
I was widowed after 30 years of marriage around 2 years ago. I have 9 children aged from 26 to 5-year-old twins. For the first time since I was 17, I found myself completely responsible for all of the decisions in my family’s life. My actions would dictate the future of my children and of course, myself. At this point in my life it was crucial to make some decisions for my family's future, including our health and quality of life. I realised how important it was for me to focus on my health – my children now only had their mum to rely on. Managing their grief and loss was challenging and I found myself ignoring my own not dealing with own health was very high on the agenda. Since I was married, giving of myself to my family was all I did. This was a choice I made but in immersing myself in it all, I lost my sense of self. I became very unimportant to myself and my own value was not something I ever considered. So long as I was taking care of my family, I considered myself to be complete. For the sake of my children and my own longevity, getting out of my comfort zone was the most significant and paramount choice of my entire life. Training at Goodlife has not only given me an outlet for my hectic life but it has been the catalyst in finding my life, a sense of self and a place of healing. In the previous state of health I was in, I couldn’t get through my long and demanding days without feeling completely exhausted and started experiencing a state of despondency. My days are still long and demanding but my ability to get things done has improved 100 percent. My overall state of happiness is at an all time high and enjoying life is something that comes naturally. Life is precious and so are the people around us. I attribute this to the belief and encouragement to keep on track with my awesome friends at Goodlife Chermside.
Why do you exercise?
I exercise to relieve stress, improve my strength, fitness and overall health. It’s not only the physical benefits that come from exercise but my mind and belief in myself has become strong! I don’t limit myself in anything that I do. My new-found love for powerlifting has challenged me as I move into being competitive in the sport. The most important reason I exercise is to be a positive and powerful role model in my children’s lives. I want them to understand that life throws curve balls but they can empower themselves to rise above the circumstances and become the best they can be.
What do you love about it?
I love how exercise gives me a focus for life. I have a lot going on with the care needs of my children and making sure as a single parent I have all bases covered. My focus is now not just on weight loss and fitness but personal growth through both my mind and body.
What’s your favourite type of training? Why?
I love resistance training, the heavier the better! Lifting weights creates focus physically, psychologically and emotionally. This transfers into every area of my life and it gives me a strong mind and body.
Have you had to overcome any big hurdles in life and at the gym? Tell us about them…
The biggest hurdle I have overcome in my life is doing life by myself. Watching my husband being overcome by cancer and then passing away was by far the single biggest event of my life to deal with. Walking in to the gym two weeks after he passed and having the focus of just doing something positive to give my children a positive role model was daunting. I was 144 kilos and very unfit. With the help and support of my trainer Michael Adams, I began my journey.
Have you experienced weight loss during your time with Goodlife? If so, how much and what was your starting weight?
My starting weight was 144 kilos and I’m now at 110kgs and my health and fitness journey continues!
What have been the biggest physical and mental changes you have noticed since joining Goodlife and discovering your love of exercise?
The biggest physical change I have noticed since joining Goodlife is my general size. When I started I was wearing size 26 and now I am in a size 16. I have become quite strong. Mentally, I have gained enormous strength especially living as a single mum and taking care of my large family. I don’t get very tired anymore and manage to go forwards each day achieving new things and making new goals to achieve. I train six mornings a week and love it. If I miss a day, I struggle to focus and get to the end of the day. Exercising at Goodlife is paramount in my everyday functioning. I see exercising as the very biggest investment in my family’s everyday life and future.
Who has had the biggest influence on your gym experience?
Without argument, my personal trainer Michael Adams has had and continues to have the biggest influence in my gym experience. He is my pinnacle of strength, motivation, kindness, comfort and acceptance, an authentic friend. He is the reason, on bad days and through all of my self doubt moments, I keep going on my journey. He continues to give me hope and self belief that I can achieve my goal of being a healthy mum and a powerlifter!
How does training at Goodlife, and the experience you have in club, help you outside of the gym?
Training at Goodlife, as well as the overall club experience has transformed me. I am refreshed after 6-7 hours sleep, I manage my large family’s day-to-day lives and activities. I homeschool four of my children, I powerlift 6 days a week, I socialise, I study, I travel 800 kms per week for my family’s needs, I am a happy, motivated person who loves to invest in others lives.
What has been the reaction from partner, family, friends, colleagues on your results from the gym?
Overwhelming. I don’t notice or even look for the day-to-day changes but when friends and family see me after a long time, they are so amazed and encouraging. It’s not only the physical changes they notice but are puzzled by the emotional and mental changes I have been able to achieve after losing my husband. I have chosen to rise above and swim rather than sink.
What drives or motivates you to achieve your health and fitness goals?
The main motivator and driver of my health and fitness goals are my children. I want them to see a mum who is committed and successful in her pursuits. On a personal note, my main driver and motivator is to strive to compete at a higher level with powerlifting.
Have you made a circle of friends at the gym?
From reception staff to the personal trainers and members, I consider them all to be friends, from hugs to simple smiles and words of mutual encouragement, these people have become my gym family. In a world full of negativity and hostility, the gym is a place of positivity, encouragement and acceptance.
Tell us something interesting or unusual that most people don’t know about you!
I have fostered over 120 children in the past twelve years. I have had the honour of raising five long-term children that came to me when they were only a few weeks old. Oddly enough, amongst them I have two sets of twins. I am now the legal guardian of three of them.