When former catering worker Lucy Nield lost her husband to cancer six years ago, she became so depressed that she couldn’t leave the house. She had put on over four stone while caring for him and wanted to lock herself away. Now, a self-confessed gym addict, she has transformed her physical and mental health thanks to regular sessions with Life Leisure. Watch her short video and find out more about Lucy's inspirational story.

My name is Paul Austin. It was just over 12 months ago that I first heard about the PARiS scheme through word of mouth. I asked my GP about it and was told I was not bad enough to be referred. I may add that I used to walk my dogs for over two hours twice a day before my COPD put a stop to it.

Then one day I spotted a card on the practice notice board, so I asked my GP to refer me. He didn’t know everything about the scheme but he checked it out and agreed it would be good for me. My life changed from here. I met Rocky for my first assessment, he suggested I join the COPD group first and see how I’d progress.

My thoughts were positive because if someone is prepared to help me I really must make an effort. Eight months on, I am now attending the gym to work out as well. All this has changed my mindset (which was bad). In fact, I recently told my therapist I no longer needed to see her! Now, on good days I am able to walk my dogs on long walks which for me is a big change and I also think more about what I eat.

I have also picked up other hobbies thanks to not feeling low or exhausted all the time. Rocky’s big smile and positive approach make everyone around him smile too and gives us, the participants the confidence to improve a little more on each visit. He is quick to offer advice and tips on what to do and exercises that match your disability, long may he continue to do so.

I find it hard to understand why this awesome scheme is not more well known. If nothing more, it is the friendly environment where like-minded people with disabilities (sometimes beyond their control) are able to train/exercise together without competition, where we all help and encourage each other to achieve more. I have my goals for the future, which are far beyond what I could even imagine 12 months ago.

Thanks for the chance to better myself through the scheme I won’t stop and I hope that the scheme never stops! I am so glad I met Rocky.

Paul, PARiS scheme participant at lifeLEISURE Brinnington Park. October '18

I tell everyone I can about the FITCamp course and think more people should know about it. In only four weeks after starting the course, I lost some inches, felt fitter and noticed a great difference in the quality of my sleep. The guys at Life Leisure Cheadle have been amazing and I can't wait for the next fitness course so I can continue my fitness journey!

Alice, FITCamp course participant at lifeLEISURE Cheadle. September '18

"I’m age 48 and I began my journey the first week Brinnington Park Leisure Complex opened; I was overweight; lacking in confidence and struggling with a really bad knee.

The last 18 years my fitness has been up and down and I’ve struggled with keeping the consistency in my exercise.

I recently completed the Weights4Women course and managed to lose 8lbs; and 6 inches from my waist and hips; increasing my fat burning for a good balance.

I’ve built my confidence enough to even sign for the Tough Tribe Obstacle Course in September this year!

All of this is down to the excellent level of instruction and guidance given by the instructors here at Brinnington Park. Not to mention the welcoming smiles and encouragement from the front of house staff.
There's always somebody on hand to give you that confidence boost and offer support where needed.

I can’t thank the team enough here at Brinnington Park for giving me the confidence to make changes to my life that allow me to live a much healthier life style and one that’s achievable.

Thank you Team Brinnington!"

Gaynor, member at lifeLEISURE Brinnington Park. August '18

"Hi my name is Louise Hodkinson and I’m a Brinnington resident. My weight loss journey started 2-3 years ago, when my parents spoke to me about calorie counting as they were concerned about the amount of weight I’d put on after having my daughter. So from that moment on my eating habits changed, as I downloaded a calorie counting app onto my phone and I joined the Life Leisure gym which at the time was at the Lapwing centre.

After a few months of steady gym work I decided to try Zumba which was also at the Lapwing centre on a Thursday evening with the very talented and lovely Siobhan Zumba Batchelor. After combining my diet, gym and Zumba I started seeing fantastic results.

As the weeks/months past, not only did my weight start to come off but also my confidence improved, I started making friends with other gym members and started having a good relationship with the Life Leisure staff especially Mandy who was one of the first members of staff to welcome me.

I would never have thought in a million years I would now be a member of Brinnington Park Leisure centre, and love and enjoy all classes and exercise as a whole like I do. And thanks to what’s now available at the new centre I’m able to continue living a much more healthier life, enjoy my Zumba and just enjoy life in itself.

Anything is possible if you want it enough. I wanted to be healthier and 2-3 years on I’m 4st 12lbs lighter, I’ve gone from a size 18+ to a size 12 and my confidence is 100% better.

Joining Life Leisure was one of the best things I have ever done as it’s helped me change my life not only for me, but also for my family."

Louise Hodkinson, member at lifeLEISURE Brinnington Park. June '18

“When you’re getting frustrated that you’re not losing your baby tum and then you compare a picture to 1 month postpartum (ignore the tired faces), fitting in the gym when I can (difficult with a 6 month old!!) and walking around everywhere with the pram trying to get him to sleep - running round after him and up and downstairs pays off!

The human body is so amazing! It created and looked after my baby boy for 9 months (and stretched beyond belief!) and for that I'm so grateful.

The photos show me 1 month postpartum - 6 month postpartum

Shoutout to Life Leisure for providing gyms with great crèches!”

Katie, member at lifeLEISURE Houldsworth Village. October ’17

“After receiving a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes at the beginning of the year, I made the decision to tackle my diagnosis head on aiming to improve my health so I decided to join the gym. I joined Life Leisure Hazel Grove four months ago, and now take advantage of all the fantastic facilities at the centre, including the gym, swimming pool and wet room. It is a testament to the range of facilities and the support of the wonderful staff that I am pleased to now reveal I have managed to get my weight down to 120kg, 10kg less that when I joined. A hugely important factor in my success is the support I have received from the hugely encouraging professional gym staff”.

Kevin Durcan, member at lifeLEISURE Hazel Grove. September ’17

“I suppose I’m not your ‘average’ gym patron. But like many people, my aim is self-improvement and a desire to get into better shape. I’ve been lucky to have a fair bit of success in my short athletic career, but am always looking for ways to improve.

I was lucky enough to go to Rio 2016 and represent Ireland in Paracycling. I came away with a silver medal in the Time Trial on the road. And for most people this would probably be considered a success. But I had my sights set on gold, and didn’t quite have my best performance on the day, so was a little disappointed.

After Rio, I had to take a couple of months off due to injury, which meant that I wanted to carry on racing I would have a lot of ground to make up. Not only that, but I wanted to find ways to not just come back, but to improve. I decided to start incorporating gym work into my regular routine.

I started off slowly - coming to the gym (Life Leisure Stockport Sports Village) once a week. It wasn’t easy at first. I was overweight and out of shape. But I stuck with it and soon it got a lot easier. To help motivate me and improve faster, I started working with a personal trainer on site and getting regular physio work done. And the improvements started to come a lot faster!

Not everyone needs to be a world-class athlete to get something out of the gym. But the key to improvement (for me and for most people) is consistency. Even if you go just once a week, if you do it regularly, you will get something out of it.

I look forward to continuing to grow and improve, and I hope to once again take back the title of World Champion in the near future!”

Colin Lynch, Paralympic Clyclist and member at lifeLEISURE Stockport Sports Village. June ’17

“Hi, my name is Tamas and I’m a member at Life Leisure Houldsworth Village. I got familiar with a little rusty old school gym in my town when I was around 14. In my childhood, I was the “fatty” guy at school, but always wanted to be strong and muscular. From 18 - 25 years of age I was in and out of bodybuilding because of study, personal issues and work.

I have been training now for around 3 years continuously, however, my first 12-week powerlifting preparation started in November 2016 for my very first competition in the Manchester and Merseyside Championship at the end of January 2017. I finished 3rd in my weight category (-120 kg bodyweight: 116.2 kg) with a 640kg total (squat 210kg/bench 170kg/deadlift 260kg). I was so happy that my dream had come true and that I reached my weight goal. So much work, concentration and will power were needed to achieve it.

My second competition of the year was a Push Pull 2017 North West in Stalybridge. I only competed in the bench element and I won my weight category (-120 kg bodyweight 117.4 kg) with a 165kg result. I also attended a charity deadlift event on 2nd April this year, taking 1st place in my weight category (-120kg bodyweight 116.8 kg).

This September I will be participating at the North West Championship and in October at the British Classic Championship. My aim is to do 710kg in total, and I will do it because I can! Hard work always pays off.

I eat plenty of quality food, I train like a beast and perform 110% on every session. The most important thing is to stay focused on my goals and think positively.

A big thank you to Arnies Powerlifting Club member David Gibson and his coach Roy, I have received so much help and motivation from them throughout my training plan”.

Tamas, member at lifeLEISURE Houldsworth Village. May’17

`I was looking to lose some baby weight (9 years after having my daughter) as I was diagnosed with autism 3 years ago. I was very aware I needed to find the right environment to work out in, or it would be pointless. I have definitely found it at Life Leisure Houldsworth Village! The staff are wonderfully friendly and always happy to help and always encourage me to find the right way to work out. The instructors are very knowledgeable and great at keeping you motivated. I have made lots of friends at the gym and look forward to visiting on every occasion. Overall a great place for people of all shapes and sizes!`

Lisa Koble, member at lifeLEISURE Houldsworth Village. April’17

"Hi, my name is Dan, I've been a Life Leisure member at Hazel Grove since the start of the year and I’m training to enter the RAF. Training is becoming my life as I come to the gym at least 6 times a week, hopefully with a successful outcome!"

Dan, member at lifeLEISURE Hazel Grove. April’17

"Hi, my name is Rebecca, I started visiting Life Leisure Stockport Sports Village last March after not stepping in a gym for the best part of two years. Instantly I signed up for the Lean4Life course as I needed that added motivation, and I have been continuously on the course until present...as cliché as it sounds I genuinely wouldn't look back.

It’s been an amazing journey, I've seen my strength improve, my mental attitude towards weight loss change (I gained weight, yet dropped a dress size), and most importantly my confidence grow. I can now come into the gym and happily use equipment I would have never dreamt of before.

I am now 7 months pregnant and have undertaken Lean4Life throughout my pregnancy, I'm not going to lie, it's been tough, but (despite my 'occasional' whinging) I've had the continued support, motivation and encouragement of Miles throughout, and honestly I couldn't have done it without him. He has made exercising in pregnancy achievable and kept additional weight gain at bay, I am genuinely surprised at how healthy and fit I actually feel...I genuinely look forward to our next session.

My next goal, is to have my baby, recover and then get straight back into the course. Hopefully, build my strength and try to get back to where I was pre-pregnancy and ready for my wedding next year.

I would wholeheartedly recommend the course to anyone, especially if like me, you are looking for a healthy lifestyle change.

Additional thanks to all the trainers, I've had the privilege of training with Lauren, Ryan and Scott too, and all have been exceptional!"

Rebecca Walsh, member at lifeLEISURE Stockport Sports Village. April’17

'I absolutely loved doing the Fit4Life course at Life Leisure Avondale and so pleased with my results! My fitness has improved massively and it's given me the boost I needed. All the fitness trainers have been amazing and all so supportive! Loved every minute of it! Can't wait for the next one! '

Hayley Furey, member at lifeLEISURE Avondale. January’17

‘’Training at Life Leisure Hazel Grove has been really helpful in keeping me fit and healthy while in this transition period of finishing my elite gymnastics career. After training 5-6 days a week for 16 years as a gymnast, I wasn't sure how to train just for myself, rather than for a competition! The trainers were so helpful and took the time to design a programme that was right for me and what I wanted to get out of my sessions. With a fabulous fully equipped gym and studio that provides a range of classes, I have everything I need to keep myself motivated and active’’.

Hannah Whelan, Ex-Olympic gymnast & member at lifeLEISURE Hazel Grove. December ’16

“Hi, my name is Debbie, I have just completed the 6 week course Fit4Life at Life Leisure Avondale and can honestly say I have had the best time exercising ever! Damon, David and Nicole are an inspiration and just the tonic one needs to get out of bed in the morning. We have laughed for the whole 6 weeks, and I’ve have lost around 8lbs, toned up and my energy levels are astounding. I’ve also have made some super friends along the way. Will DEFINITELY be doing it again next time. Thank you so much guys... “

Debbie McEwan, member at lifeLEISURE Avondale. November ‘16