From Sheffield gym haters to gym bunnies - how to make a new start

Chelsea Leigh and Geoff Forrest train at the Source Gym with gym manager Andy Ward. Picture: Andrew Roe
Chelsea Leigh and Geoff Forrest train at the Source Gym with gym manager Andy Ward. Picture: Andrew Roe

As a New Year dawns, so does the reality...

It isn’t only a week of Christmas excess you need to shift from your belly, but a lifetime of bad habits.

Embarking on a diet and taking up exercise will be top of the New Year Resolutions list, along with quitting smoking and cutting back on booze.

The arrival of a fresh new year feels like the perfect time to make a fresh start.

But promises made are easily broken…

“It’s all about mindset,” says Andy Ward, fitness site manager at The Source Gym at Meadowhall.

“In South Yorkshire the average amount of time people engage in activity which makes them slightly breathless is just 30 minutes a month - a shocking one minute a day.

“To get fitter, healthier and slimmer you need to retrain your brain as well as your body and find your motivation to stick at that New Year Resolution. Do that and you can transform yourself in as little as four months.

“It’s so rewarding when our new members learn to enjoy healthy food and to love cardio exercise, which is strengthening the heart, lungs and blood vessels and improving circulation, and their resistance training, which works muscles and strengthens bone.

“We see them get leaner, slimmer and healthier before our eyes and then stay with us, keeping that new-found fitness long-term.”

Chelsea Leigh trains at the Source Gym. Picture: Andrew Roe

Chelsea Leigh trains at the Source Gym. Picture: Andrew Roe

Here two members share their inspirational stories.

Meet the poster girl for committing to a healthy diet and regular exercise…

Chelsea Leigh is the living proof that you can transform your shape - and lifestyle - in just 16 weeks.

She has dropped two dress sizes and gone from gym-hater to Gym Bunny, changing her whole routine to fit in fitness sessions five times a week.

The Source Gym member Chelsea Leigh,  has lost two dress sizes and embraced a new, healthier way of living in just 16 weeks'Picture Dean Atkins

The Source Gym member Chelsea Leigh, has lost two dress sizes and embraced a new, healthier way of living in just 16 weeks'Picture Dean Atkins

“I could never understand people who said they loved the gym. But now I’ve been bitten by the fitness bug and I hate to miss a single session,” says Chelsea, 23, who now turns down nights out, preferring to skip off early to bed just so she can be at the gym for 6.30am.

Says Chelsea: “Just four months of my life has changed me physically and mentally. I’ve gone from size 16 to a 12 and feel in control of my body for the first time.”

After gaining weight at 18 she tried slimming clubs, gyms, carb-free diets and even an exercise bootcamp. She would lose weight, then lose determination and put the pounds back on.

“My mum is a keep fit fan and had tried many times to get me to the gym. But I always gave up after a few sessions,” explains Chelsea, of Parson Cross. “I expected to see a big change straight away, then got disheartened. Plus I hated feeling out of breath.”

The big shift came in August; “It finally clicked with me that if I didn’t commit to a healthier diet and a gym, I was always going to battle with my weight,” she says.

“I joined the gym at The Source. Personal trainer and class teacher Clare Ward’s one to one tuition with my diet and exercise programme made all the difference. She made me stick at it. I’d get texts from her, encouraging me to show up at the gym. “At first I didn’t follow her diet to the letter. I didn’t weigh my food and cheated occasionally and I was literally dragging myself to the gym three times a week.”

Geoff Forrest trains at the Source Gym. Picture: Andrew Roe

Geoff Forrest trains at the Source Gym. Picture: Andrew Roe

But then Chelsea, operations co-ordinator for a company running holiday lodges, found she had lost inches off her hips. Even though she wasn’t fully committed, she was getting results.

“That spurred me on. I realised that if I really tried, I would get even better results. I did everything Clare told me to do, I’m comfortably a size 12 for the first time in years and I’m hooked on the gym. If I go two days without it I don’t feel good,” she says.

“I’ve changed my life to fit around exercise. I work out before heading to work and I’m full of energy all day long.”

Chelsea will have to fit another activity around her gym sessions though. She needs a whole new wardrobe and plans to exercise her debit card in the January sales.

Verdict from The Source Team:

The hardest work Chelsea had to go through was changing her mindset,” commented fitness suite manager Andy Ward. “She hated exercise and ate unhealthily but we helped her find the willpower to switch by introducing small changes bit by bit.

“She has seen amazing results in just four months and changed her lifestyle. We know these changes have a snowball effect. If she becomes a mum she will teach her kids to eat healthily and exercise. They in turn will pass those habits on.”

Clare Ward, who runs New Healthy Body Limited and is a personal trainer, Pilates and group instructor, HIIT class teacher, added: “I knew Chelsea was the type of exerciser who needs to see improvement in order to stay motivated and progress. I helped to keep her on track, and once she saw her efforts were paying off she was able to motivate herself.”

Sport had been Geoff Forrest’s passion from childhood.

He began martial arts training aged 12 and was a black belt by 18.

At 26, he was a 2nd Dan with his own dojo, teaching martial arts to others. But after a couple of years his interest waned and he quit.

As a result, he started to gain weight and his social drinking increased.

Admits the self-employed joiner: “I have an addictive personality and after giving up the discipline of my sport, it had led me down the wrong path. I was drinking wine and strong lager every night and my life started to run off-course.”

He ended up divorced, drinking even more and, within a few years, weighing 22.5 stones.

“As a black belt my waistline had been 32-34 inches. I was wearing size 46 waist trousers I knew I had to do something about it,” he says.

He joined The Source gym, began weight-training and lost a stone in a couple of months, but refused to cut back on his alcohol intake.

It was only after waking up in hospital with a head injury after a boozy work night out that he realised he needed to quit.

“That was four years ago and I haven’t touched a drop since,” he says proudly. “I threw myself into my gym workouts instead - I used my addictive personality to make myself healthier and fitter.”

Geoff, now 42, is one of the Source Gym’s most dedicated members with a build and fitness level nearing athlete status.

He trains for an hour five days a week, alternating cardio work with weight-training, and sets himself constant challenges to keep his motivation high. He trains against the clock, has done a rowing half marathon and pushed himself to row 2,000 metres in under seven minutes.

He has transformed his body shape - that 34-inch waistline is back, he weighs 15st11 and plans to lose another stone in 2016. And he’s a happy man.

“My only vices are coffee and ice cream,” says Geoff. “I’ve turned my life around by putting fitness at the core of it.

“Other people can too if they find their determination and commitment. In the first few weeks of the New Year this gym will be full of new members wanting to change through exercise. But a large percentage will have given up by February.

“My advice is not to listen to that little inner voice telling you the gym isn’t making a difference, or you can’t hack it. Tell yourself you can, and you will succeed.”

Verdict from The Source team:

“Our muscles have memory and Geoff, who has done exercise throughout his life, was able to get back his former tone quickly. He has lost weight and lowered his body fat and is now extremely fit,” says Andy Ward.

“We get to know how our customers’ minds work as well as their bodies and we recognised Geoff was also looking to transform habits and channel his ‘all or nothing’ personality. We help him find new challenges and goals to work to so his mind stays focussed.”


Situated adjacent to Meadowhall Shopping Centre, The Source Gym is a community-focused fitness suite with around 300 members.

It offers personalised training and a range of fitness classes - including Zumba, Street Dancing, Kettlebells and Pilates, High Intensity Interval Training, Step & Tone.Tone & Sculpt.

Its team of six instructors has over 70 years of industry experience. Several hold qualifications in Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) which increases their coaching skills.

A unique Wellness System stores gym members’ personal training programme information on a small, portable key. It automatically starts up the equipment, selects the ideal load for you and monitors how you’ve improved during your training programme.

An all-inclusive £26 per month membership includes gym induction, a personalised exercise programme and regular reviews, motivator sessions with a personal trainer,

sports-specific or event-specific programmes, Body Composition Analysis, Power Plate, nutritional guidance and access to 30 weekly classes.

Call The Source Gym 0114 263 5600 or email