Guest Blog - Samantha of The Jungle Body with Sammy
Hi, my name is Samantha and I am a fitness instructor.
I am sure those who are reading this are thinking "So what? Everyone these days is one!"
Well, what makes me different is that I wear a size 18 to 20 and I am 110kgs. Yep, you read that right.
I guess this goes back to when I was growing up. I've always been a bit of a jock. I love sports, and not just one sport, I love them all. My parents weren’t rich so I never really got to try any organised sports, but I loved to watch and I loved kicking the footy with my brother and next-door neighbour. I also didn’t mind being target practice for my cousin and bro during cricket season. But, I was also the girl who got called a 'Jenny Craig drop out', and told 'If you lost some weight you would be so pretty'. I was that kid.
There was a turning point when I turned 24. I had a broken heart, I was at my heaviest, and it seemed like things would never be good again. I started going to the gym with a friend and fell in love with it. I became a bit of a gym rat! I particularly LOVED the fitness classes. Pump and Cardio Combat were my faves. I started to notice the change not only in my body BUT in my mental health too.
Around this time I also decided to start playing women’s AFL. I was one of the oldest and most unfit - this was a wake up call and I started to take things seriously. I loved playing the sport and ended up playing for three years. Then, it was around the time I stop playing footy that I got into The Jungle Body.
I was down south visiting my sister (who hates exercise) and she was telling me how she was going to these fitness classes and how amazing they were. So I tagged along.
The class turned out to be Konga®, with a lady named Mel, and it was AMAZING. It relit something inside of me. I found classes here in Perth and started going twice a week. At one of the sessions one of the instructors mentioned that she might need some help once in a while and a number of ladies started convincing me to go for it. I thought nothing of it to be honest. I actually laughed at them! Me an instructor? Um, I weigh over 100 kgs. That's not me. But, they kept at me so I decided to look into it and sign up!
I started my The Jungle Body journey three years ago. The training consists of 12 weeks of online training, and a day course. I was scared, but I passed! The overweight, plus sized woman passed! I decided to start my classes back in the hood where I grew up, Girrawheen. I started with one class and slowly increased to two and then to three. I am currently at four classes a week and I teach both Konga® and Burn®. One is cardio based and the other is weight based.
I could sit here and talk about all the crap I get for being “fat” and teaching. How sometimes I have been laughed at by clients. That when I tell people I am a fitness instructor they sometimes can be arseholes about it and usually don't believe me.
But I won't. I actually don’t want to talk about it because its not what has impacted me. What impacts me is when a client who is 130kgs comes up to me and tells me she has never done a fitness class in her life. That she only came to my class to support me but ended up staying for every class 3x a week. How I have older women come up to me and tell me I make them feel alive, or how my group of 21 years olds tell me that they LOVE my classes. How one of my longest running ladies just recently got married and she told me that it was me who helped her get into her dress. It was me who helped her with her confidence.
I teach for those who have never had the confidence I'm lucky to have.
I teach so that women who would never step foot in a gym are comfortable enough to come to my class and keep on coming.
I teach for me because I have learnt that its not the physical BUT the mental release I crave when teaching.
I teach because I know I was never meant to go with the flow, that I am the voice that is inside everyone saying just do it.
I teach because I am here to remind everyone the number on the scale or the size of your clothes don’t define you unless you let them.
I teach because I want to be heard. I want to be the role model I needed growing up. I always used to hate going to classes and the instructor talking about how they used to be size 10 or 12 and they totally knew what I was going through. That society isn't right when it teaches you that being overweight is the worst thing a person could be.
That’s why I teach.