Fighting fit and helping others

DONNA-LEE BIDDLE
Last updated 05:00 23/08/2014
Denise Erb
NICK REED/Fairfax NZ

LOSING TO GAIN: Personal trainer Denise Erb lost 50 kilograms in six months and is helping Meriana Tamati, 21, to compete in the Waikato bodybuilding championships next month.

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Denise Erb has transformed herself from an overweight mother of five to a fit and healthy personal trainer.

In 2011, at her heaviest, Erb weighed 130 kilograms. For the previous 10 years, she was in the 120kg range and had either been pregnant or breast-feeding.

"I've always had a child at home with me and I felt lost and needed something to do," Erb said. "Realistically, there were only so [many] times you could clean the house and it was clean. So I decided to join a gym. I needed something for me."

The stay-at-home mum joined Hamilton's Anytime Fitness Gym and in her first week she lost 5kg. Erb signed up to a 12-week transformation programme and, on completion, for the first time since high school, she was back in double digits, weighing in at 98kg.

She swapped her addiction to food to become a gym junkie. "I had found me a new addiction to replace the old ones. It was all about mind over matter and I wasn't going to give in. I was finally in control of my life and my body."

In March 2012, six months after she entered the gym, Erb's weight loss totalled 50kg.

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In May of that year, she started work as the gym's cleaner and the in-house trainer offered to weight-train her.

The 30-year-old said the introduction inspired her to train others and last year she qualified as a personal trainer (PT) and secured a PT job at Anytime Fitness.

She now weighs 74kg.

Erb started her own business, Transformation Personal Training, and trains clients in her own home gym as well as through Anytime Fitness.

Her first client, Carmen, lost 30kg in nine months, and seeing that success is one of Erb's greatest joys.

One of Erb's clients, Meriana Tamati, went from a "squishy" 81kg to a lean 66kg, and is training for the IFBB Waikato Bodybuilding Championships.

"It is the one of the most rewarding jobs there is. Seeing my girls transform, blossom and bloom to the person they were designed to be is such an honour.

"Nothing worth having comes easy."

Donna-Lee Biddle is a Wintec journalism student

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