Louise Hawkins, a personal trainer and nutrition coach discusses how she motivates herself as an adaptive athlete in the industry.
January, the month people jump to join gyms in order to reach their new year body goals. The internet is full of diet tips, exercise routines and general health and fitness information, yet it can still be challenging to get up and go. Sometimes you need a little extra motivation.
Louise Hawkins, personal trainer and nutrition coach, was born with her left lower arm missing and was brought up with a “no such word as can’t attitude”. Louise doesn’t let this stop her from training in a variety of physical activity including Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics and conditioning, as an adaptive athlete which means she adapts exercises so that she is able to perform movements with good form and intention.
Hawkins explained: “As an adaptive athlete, learning techniques and finding ways of adapting the lifts takes time but the feeling once you master the movement is incredible.” In her first few months of starting CrossFit, she knew it was a physical activity she would be able to do and more importantly, enjoy. She added: “It took me 18 months to find what worked for me, I spent this time frustrated with a lot of movements, but this is the process I needed to go through.
Hawkins now works four jobs including, a fitness and nutrition coach for Forever Lean, a coach at Yorkshire Strength, a personal trainer and a careers adviser helping vulnerable young adults/children through Barnsley TIAG. All this on top of being a mother of two, has led to her pushing boundaries and challenging herself more than ever before.
Around two and a half years ago, Hawkins began to take her Instagram seriously, when she began posting her fitness journey. She now has over 40,000 followers. Hawkins explained: “I never thought it would become what it has in a million years. I actually had my account on private for so long. I just enjoyed sharing my journey and progress. Gaining such a huge following was unintentional, each follower is so lovely and supportive to me.”
Her Instagram journey began with the intention to share fitness with others as a motivated adaptive athlete. She has since been approached by exciting brands and offered opportunities which have led to participating in photoshoots and filming with Nike, Wit and Channel 4. Hawkins said: “I’m just a mum of two from Barnsley, I still find it bizarre to this day. The Nike/WIT shoot in London changed everything for me. When they first reached out, I thought I can’t do that, but I made myself do it and put myself out my comfort zone because ultimately, I knew it would bring me so much more confidence and it was an incredible experience.”
Hawkins latest business venture was started with the one intention in mind, to bring ease to the lives of adaptive athletes. She has a revolving door of people reaching out about what straps she uses for lifting and fitness, including Olympic coaches. Her new project The LouP is her very own adaptive lifting strap, in which she is currently testing prototypes. She said: “I want to create something classy looking, something adaptives will be proud to use.“ There are currently no lifting straps available to offer accessibility, and Hawkins uses a construction strap her husband gave to her, so her project will be the first on the market.
For those who are struggling to keep fitness habits, Hawkins hectic life is inspiration to those who need to find the time for themselves and their goals: “It is easy to not make time for yourself as a mum or push yourself aside. Myself included; mum guilt is real. But I’ve found making time for myself has made me a happier more patient mum.”
She’s a firm believer that until you start challenging yourself, you won’t reach those all-important goals: “Don’t overthink it, and don’t put it off; just start. It can be a daunting place, but you’ll only ever get more confident by pushing yourself out if your comfort zone and going for it.”
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