Inspirational Women – Anne Elliott

Anne ElliottAnne Elliot is an interesting woman with a very strong resolve. Realising she had become very unfit and overweight she turned her life around in a very big way as you can read below. To say she’s succeeded is something of an understatement as she’s currently lecturing in Sports Science at Middlesex University. Do read her story.

Jane: Do you remember what your first paid job was? How much did you earn?
Anne: When I was 13 my sister and I got jobs on a market stall. It was hard work and a long day for not a lot of money but it was normal then. Of course nowadays as my teenage daughter has found out you have to be 16 to get a weekend job. This worries me. I understand the important need to not exploit children, but at the same time we must instil a healthy work ethic in our young people.

Jane: What were your career thoughts when you left school? Did you go on to further education?
Anne: I was lucky. I had enough raw talent to get my place at Art school while I was still in the lower sixth so I didn’t have the pressure of what comes next.

Jane: Did you have a plan? Or did you react to events as they happened?
Anne: I never really planned past Art school. It was all I wanted to do and to have the opportunity to paint 24 hours a day was sheer heaven to me. I was looked after and cosseted so all I had to think about was Art. I loved my time at college; one of the happiest times of my life. However, I wasn’t prepared for the big wide world afterwards and its many pressures and the world didn’t really need yet another young Fine Art graduate.

With no plan, I moved through a succession of jobs that with hindsight had only one common thread – communicating information: Fine Art Lecturer, Advertising creative, Film director, stand up Comedienne.

Jane: What problems and benefits have you found in combining motherhood and a career?
Anne: When my first child came along I had given up full time employment and found it hard to become a full time mother. I was too used to earning money and being mentally busy, so I started a Design Agency in the slots when the baby was sleeping.

It became successful quite quickly and after a year, my husband left his full time job as a design director to join me. Thus was the start of my entrepreneurial career which I found I also had a flair for. I built the business over the next few years winning the Barclays/Ham&High small business of the year award and being nominated for the Times Entrepreneur of the Year award. I also started and built a property business and later a small publishing house.

It was after the birth of my second child that my life took a radical shift. I was huge. UK size 26. I had slowly over the years yo-yo dieted my size upwards. No reason, no problem, just happened. I was 40 and wheezed up a flight of stairs. It was the last day of a holiday with a girlfriend that changed my life – we asked a young man who was lying on a sun bed to take a photo of us. He slowly looked us up and down and said, “No, go and ask someone else”. My jaw hit the floor.

This was the kick I needed. When I got back I put myself on a sensible diet, I joined a gym, got a trainer and slowly got myself into shape. (I am now a UK size 12) At this time, I had a go at throwing a punch while my trainer held some pads. From the first punch I knew this was
what I was meant to do when I grew up but I was 20 years too late. I persuaded a Boxing Trainer to take me on and train me and for 6 months went through the hardest training regime I’d ever known.

I did an exhibition bout with an ABA champion and after continued to train. I was too old to compete so I trained to become a judge. After 3 years I trained again to become a referee which I have been doing for the last 3 years. It is immensely challenging yet also hugely rewarding. What I then did was turn my passion into my living. I took myself back to college to study Sports Science and Therapy and a year ago started my Personal Training business. I specialize in working with busy business people 35-60 as I understand the pressures and stresses this group live under. I also work with women who like I was are too big but don’t know how to break the vicious cycle. I clearly have empathy but at the same time know it doesn’t have to be like that.

I wrote a diet and fitness book called ‘It’s not Rocket Science”, which was featured on GMTV for 6 weeks and in the Express and many other women’s titles, and endorsed by the Minister of State for Health. It was to help the many people to had found themselves in the same boat as me – to give them a sensible and practical approach to diet and fitness.

Jane: What do you think is the secret of happiness?
Anne: Doing what you have a passion for. You just do it so much better and feel so much more fulfilled.

Jane: How do you relax?
Anne: I still do boxing training and spar occasionally. It’s such a great de-stresser. I love my garden and go for country walks with my family.

Jane: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in life?
Anne: Live life well and if you’re not happy, then change it because now as my 50th birthday looms I can’t help but look back and realize how much time I wasted by just compromising to safety because I didn’t have the guts to take a chance.

Jane: Who has been the most significant and or influential person in your life?
Anne: There have been many people along the way. I was told as a young woman “If you want to learn something then find the best person doing it and copy them”. Whenever possible I’ve also asked them to teach me. My list would have to include:

  • My mother – a strong woman born at the wrong time in the wrong place
  • Mr Lunt – a pottery teacher at school who showed great faith in me and my ability. If someone tells you you are good at something at a young age, you are more likely to have confidence in yourself from then on
  • Anthony Green RA – A great mentor even to this day
  • Jamie Robertson – A young fitness trainer who with skill and patience, slowly got a fat, middle aged woman fit and made it fun
  • Mr Akay CBE – Boxing Trainer and industry supremo
  • My husband Gerald who has given me endless unstinting support.

Jane: Thank you so much for sharing your story with us!

Thinking of expanding your training business? Are you passionate about empowering women? I have a brilliant opportunity for you! To find out more, click here

You can read more about Anne on her website


Posted on November 28th, 2008 by

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