This week, #sistersport shares the story of a mum who is now fighting fit after taking up martial arts two years ago.
Liz Smith, 34, from Blackshaw Head, Hebden Bridge, admits she had little time for fitness.
In August 2014, on maternity leave with her seven-month-old daughter Harriet and bringing up her son Kaiden, four, Liz was focused on her children and says she was “overweight and unfit”.
Her journey began when she met the Hebden-Bridge based AEGIS Martial Arts Academy team at the Mytholmroyd Gala.
She said: “I was keen to enrol Kaiden and never considered it would be something that I could also get involved in too.
“After a brief introduction it was clear that their approach and philosophy was exactly what I was looking for, to give Kaiden not only physical exercise, but the mental benefits of increased confidence, self-discipline and the achievement of working towards a goal. He joined the following week and took to the classes really well.”
As Liz saw Kaiden thrive at the academy, she took the plunge to give it a go when she was offered a free place on a boxing-based fitness class.
“Although nervous, unfit and still carrying baby weight, I decided to step onto the mat and give it a go,” Liz said. “I immediately loved the classes and took part in both the weekly fitness and martial arts classes alongside my son and enrolled fully myself soon after.
“I couldn’t believe that I had sat and watched for so long. I had a preconceived impression of martial arts, sparring and super fit, intimidating black belts and I didn’t think that an ordinary, inflexible mum like me could take part, or actually be quite good at it.”
Liz is now training to become a fully-certified instructor and is on her way to earning a black belt in the next year.
She said: “If you had told me five years ago that I’d be here now, I never would have believed you, but here I am.”