Mary Bonner

My journey really started back in 2012 when I joined the local swimming club as a ‘master’ and rediscovered my passion for swimming, but a shoulder injury caused by the training forced me to seek advice from Simon in March 2013 and receive treatment from Paula the Osteopath on the Total Body team.  In April I took part in the swimathon my shoulder wasn’t 100% better and although every stroke of the 200 lengths I swam was painful I finished it in a respectable time and even completed the distance doing solely front crawl.

In June I started a rehabilitation programme in the gym with Simon.  I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it but I didn’t hate it, To strengthen my shoulder and improve my swimming, was my motivation as I endured 3 training sessions a week, 1 being a pt session and as I became fitter, I was able to train harder in the pool, for longer, swimming strokes which had previously caused too much pain.

By August, my shoulder was pain-free so my programme objectives were reassessed. Since losing weight and improving fitness would enhance swimming performance my goals were reset and after some reluctance I started an eating plan on 10.10.12, the exercise programme was specifically for fat loss and rehabilitation with 1 personal training session a week to keep me on track.  Seeing results immediately kept me focussed, along with Simon’s encouragement (constant bullying).

By Christmas I had lost 7kgs (17lbs), I was eating more and still losing 1-2 lbs each week, even managing to maintain my weight over the Christmas holiday aided by a daily workout in the gym.

I entered the port Relief Swimathon 5K swim in March, challenging myself to swim 2.5K, outdoors, 2 days before for a warm up.  I improved on my times by 7 minutes on the 2.5K 47.48 (mins) and 12 minutes on the 5K (1:37.14), swimming the whole distances front crawl (300 lengths in total)

As well as pool swimming, I had my first experience in open water, namely a dip in the River Trent which I absolutely loved and consequently bought a wetsuit so that I could enter the Great North Swim 1 Mile Challenge in Lake Windermere.  This event took place on June 14, it was my first open water event and I completed it in a time of 31.39 finishing 700th out of 4015 swimmers.  I have continued my open water swimming with regular swims at Trent Meadows at Long Eaton, both with wetsuit and skins (without) as well as completing an 11K swim in the River Trent from Willington to Swarkestone as part of the Trent Challenge.

 I was keen to enter for another event, this time, the British Heart Foundation’s Bournemouth Pier to Pier swims in July.  It was only 1.4 miles but in the sea, a big challenge having never swum in the sea before and, if I’m honest I had a fear of it.  However, a practice at Blithfield Reservoir helped and on the day, I had 3 dips, 2 being without a wetsuit as well as the actual swim and I can now say I am no longer afraid of the sea, which is just as well since I have entered for the River Dart 10K swim in September.

Out of the water, I help coach the Junior section at the local swimming club 3 times a week and recently passed my level 1 & 2 in Teaching Aquatics and also my National Pool Lifeguard Qualification.

My shoulder has never felt better and I love training in the gym now, something I definitely wouldn’t have admitted to before, I train every day, sometimes several times, I love spin/RPM and regularly do 5+ classes a week, gym work, as well as 2 PTs a week, running (up to 10K) and swimming.  For the first time, I entered the recent gym Playing Card Challenge completing it 3 times in the time set.  I am now training for my 1st Triathlon (31st August) which is a 400M swim, 20K bike ride followed by a 5K run. My family regularly complain that I am always at the gym and I am but I love it!

With all the training, my body shape changed dramatically and my weight loss slowed which was very frustrating because Simon kept enforcing that it wasn’t all about the numbers on the scales but eventually after months of plateauing (Simon is in disagreement with this) I finally got to my target weight on July 31st having lost a total of 56lb (25.4 kilos) and 36 1/2lb  (16.5 kilos) since October, it’s the lightest I’ve been in over 25 years.

I am still working towards my “perfect body” but overall I feel much happier, more confident, healthier and am the fittest I have ever been.  I am really embracing this ‘New Life‘ constantly with new Challenges, I recently completed my 1st Tandem Skydive, I have entered the 10K Commando Challenge, and a Cross Lake Windermere Swim is planned, I now realise that no challenge is too great, if you want it badly enough, with determination and hard work you can achieve your goals!! 


start of quote Life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve to conquer end of quote
Arnold Swarzenegger