When breast cancer survivor Emma Davidson took up CrossFit, she found a way to help her get her confidence back, as well as drop a dress size and shed an impressive 14lbs.
The 36-year-old mum had always been a fit and active person, but was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2008.
She had to give up exercise as she underwent surgery and chemotherapy.
Emma said: “I had always done some sort of fitness, such as classes, or various DVD workouts.
“During my initial operation and chemotherapy, I had to stop strenuous activity and was forced to cancel my gym membership.
“This was a difficult thing for me, as it became a way of life for my husband and I.
“During my treatment phase and having to take various steroids, it was difficult to maintain a weight I was happy with.”
After completing treatment, Emma spoke to a genealogist and while blood samples were taken, she was believed to be low-risk as there was no previous history of cancer in her family.
But a year later, she received an unexpected call asking her to make another appointment with the genealogist. It was bad news.
She carried the BRCA1 gene – meaning she had an 80 per chance of re-developing breast cancer and 40 per cent risk of developing ovarian cancer.
She was forced to undergo another two operations over the next two years.
Emma, who lives with husband Ross and eight-year-old son Ethan, in Poulton, said: “Once I finished all my treatment, I needed to get my fitness back on track.
“After attempts to get back to the gym, I was struggling to focus so I set myself a goal, the Blackpool 10k fun run.
“I started running three times a week with a couple of friends, to try and improve my fitness levels.
“This helped and I was able to complete my first 10k, however once it was over, I struggled to find the motivation to keep it going. I started to struggle with my weight again and it was beginning to get me down.
“My husband had joined CrossFit Blackpool, but I said it wasn’t for me.
“I had been to see him take part in an event the gym was hosting and I was intimidated. All these men and women lifting Olympic bars – I couldn’t see myself doing this.
“After a couple of months of me completing the fun run, my husband could see my weight was affecting my confidence.
“Ross would constantly ask me to try it. I would say no, however I had to do something – it was really getting me down.
“I gave in and agreed to go for a free taster.”
Emma went along to her local CrossFit gym, on Whitehills Business Park, Blackpool.
“The coaches were brilliant. They immediately made me feel welcome. I’m not going to lie, it was hard.
“Although I didn’t like to admit it to my husband, I loved it and signed up straight away.
“There were a few occasions during the first few weeks I literally had no clue what was going on.
“There was a whole new language being spoken – WOD’s, AMRAP, I just thought ‘what?’
“It didn’t matter, as the entire CrossFit Blackpool team were excellent at walking you through the workouts and paying special attention to technique. And most importantly, encouraging you to do your best.
“I have been a member for over a year, and can honestly say CrossFit Blackpool has changed my life.
“This time last year, I was 14lbs heavier and couldn’t fit in most of my clothes and since joining, I have dropped a dress size and increased my fitness massively.
“I still push myself and have goals to work on, but I feel I am getting there.”