A little about Penny

12 things you didn’t know about me


1)    I dreaded PE when I was at school

How different I feel about physical activity now. The main thing about exercise and activity is to find something you enjoy doing…and it doesn’t have to be running or going to a gym. Walking is a great way to be active and getting your bike out for a leisurely cycle is just as good…or just playing badminton with the children in the garden. That’s how I started.

I would never have thought I would have competed and be named on the CrossFit site as ‘an athlete’.


2)    I don’t like gyms

Well let me re-phrase that, gyms are not my favourite place to workout in. When I first worked IN a gym as an instructor, I was approached by many women who said they felt intimidated and uncomfortable in the gym environment. So I offered them training in their own home or at the local park. You can get just as much of a workout and more and of course if you enjoy what you are doing you will keep doing it.


3)    I always work above people’s expectations

That’s a bold statement I know, but it just happens! I once gave up a stressful job with lots of responsibility and took another job which was the opposite. Within a few months I was working over and above what I was being paid to do and within 2 years had been promoted again.

This is why I’m now working for myself. I’m happy to put in the extra time and effort to see great results from clients. I’m often told ‘I didn’t expect to get so much.


4)    I love being outside

I really do love the outdoors and I only discovered this a few years ago when I started doing outdoor gym session.

Working-out in the open air is something different. A couple of years ago I was running outdoor bootcamps in Norfolk and a couple of girls started coming along in the nice weather. They got really hooked  and the question that used to get asked a lot was, do we still meet up if it rains? Oh yes, whatever the weather. So the day came when it rained, and do you know what… they loved working out in the rain. ‘It’s so refreshing’!

I think there is also something feeling that you have really done something different rather than being inside in the gym.


5)    I qualified for the European Crossfit Games in Sweden 

In 2010 I was one of over 50 men and 12 women who battled it out in the regional UK and Ireland Crossfit games in Mildenhall to qualify for Europe, and I was really happy with my results and even happier when I got the email saying… Congratulations, you have qualified to compete in the European Regionals Competition in Halmstead. That was the first fitness competition I had ever competed in and it was an amazing experience. I was the eldest female competing and at the end of each of my ‘performances’ people were coming up to me and saying well done. It was all round a very supportive competition. People cheered and egged on other competitors (even though we were in competition against each other, that didn’t matter). You heard someone’s friend call out their name to encourage them and others starting calling out their name also. I remember doing the 1 mile run after I had moved heavy sandbags from one place to another and rowed 500 k on the rowing machine before repeating it again and I could hear people cheer and shout for me. That really was amazing. I only knew 3 other people there and only 1 of them was competing, yet I could hear far more than them shouting out my name. It brings a lump to my throat just thinking about it again. It really was a major event in my life.


6) My goal is to run residential fitness retreat

Not a boot camp with ex-military instructors that shout and don’t adapt to civilian fitness or bootcamps or starve you! But a fitness retreat that teaches lifestyle changes, has fun workouts, educates on nutrition and motivation in an enjoyable and sustainable way.


7) I have suffered from depression

Oh what bad memories I have of this time but fitness was definitely a lifeline for me. You may find it hard to get moving to start with but just a gentle walk outdoors will make you feel better.

During this time a therapist gave me an excerpt from a book. The book was called ‘The Curse of the Strong’ by Dr Tim Cantopher. Dr Cantopher says…

‘the illness itself is straightforwardly a physical state resulting from a chemical change in one part of the brain’, he goes onto say ‘sufferers and those around them tend to see them as being weak. In fact the opposite is true; depressive illness does not happen to weak people, but is an affliction of people who are too strong’.

I would definitely recommend reading his book, in fact I forwarded the 8 pages (which took me a long time to read as my concentration levels were just so low) to my family and friends so they could understand what I was going through and also how to help me.

Just a little more for you from Dr Cantopher’s book.


‘Clinical depression, in my experience, nearly always happens to one type of person. So much so, in fact, that it has changed the way I assess patients suffering from it. The Royal College of Psychiatrists guidelines on psychiatric history-taking say one should find out about a person’s personality as part of this process. but I don’t bother any more because it is always the same.
Sufferers are: Strong, diligent, reliable with a strong conscience and sense of responsibility. But: Sensitive, quite vulnerable to criticism with an easily dented self-esteem.’


This is the sort of person who you would do well to turn to if you had an issue to deal with, upon which your house depended. Indeed, people do turn to them a great deal and because they are diligent and responsible they do pretty much whatever is asked of them.