Injury proves opportune

A piece of bad luck has turned out to be good luck for Blenheim personal trainer Vanessa Somerville.

Vanessa had been involved in the fitness industry for eight years before an overuse injury caused by work at her horticulture business finally made her go fulltime with her new Acceleration Studio personal training business.

"It was a shoulder injury, believe it or not. I couldn't carry on with my other business growing hydroponic lettuce, so I thought: `I'll go back to personal training'."

Vanessa was born in Picton, but grew up Wellington. However, she always felt Marlborough was home and moved back when she was about 21 to be near the Marlborough Sounds.

She first joined a gym to get herself fit, but soon discovered her love of helping other people, and worked her way up to becoming a personal trainer three years ago.

Vanessa had been working part-time as a trainer before the injury, which came at just the right time as she was looking to get away from horticulture, she said.

Her service focuses on one-on-one or small group training with an ever increasing number of people who were put off visiting traditional gyms.

"You're not going to come in here and find a big bunch of muscly men lifting weights, or a whole bunch of girls with fabulous bodies standing in front of the mirrors," she said.

Clients' aims range from weight loss to getting fit, recovering from injury or just staying active. She covers all ages from teenagers up.

"My oldest client is 77."

When she started out three years ago, Vanessa bought all her own fitness equipment. She moved into an upstairs studio on Market St six weeks ago.

She practises what she preaches, with her own personal trainer keeping her in shape and giving her an insight into different techniques.

Her skills are about more than fitness though. "Pretty much it's lifestyle coaching because you're helping people change their lifestyle.

"It's coaching them until they achieve their first result and after that it's easier."

Training is a great social time for Vanessa, but away from the gym she spends most of her time with her family, especially her son Cody, who is four.

However, she said it was not the social side, but the chance to help people that she loved most about being a personal trainer.

"I enjoy seeing people get results, that keeps me positive and I couldn't think of another job at the moment that I'd rather be doing."

The Marlborough Express