Member Feature – Debbie Ash

member feature
This months member feature focuses on Debbie Ash who’s quite a bit awesome!
Debbie is an absolute inspiration to anyone who’s suffering a chronic pain condition that’s going to require surgery to resolve it.  She shows how sensible, focused exercise can prepare you for the surgery and assist with recovery afterwards.  Debbie worked so hard to get ready for her operation to minimise the recovery time and as soon as she was able to get back to activity she was back in the gym doing rehab which as so effective she’s now back to her previous abilities… but this time, without pain!
Q. How Iong have you been a member at Inspire and what were our initial reasons for joining?
I’ve been a member at Inspire now for almost 18 months. I actually came across a competition on Facebook, and the first prize was free membership at Inspire gym. To be honest I had never heard of it, but at the time I was feeling as though I’d like to do some more exercise so decided to enter.
Not long after, I received a phone call to tell me I had won the second prize of a posture evaluation. I decided to go along really not knowing what to expect, but once I was there I really liked the look of the gym, mainly because it small and more personal than a large, conventional gym.
Q. Did you have an concerns or worries about joining a gym and if so how did that work out at Inspire?  
I’ve always felt nervous of gyms, and have never joined one before because of this. I had many concerns and worries in the days coming up to my initial appointment. Will I fit in with the other members? Will people like me? Will I understand the equipment and use it correctly? Will people stare and snigger at me?
From the moment I was in I felt at ease and very welcomed. It surprised me how much I enjoyed my induction, and it gave me such confidence I signed up straight away.
And, how wrong I was with my initial concerns and worries. Everyone is friendly, and nobody stares. After all we’re all there for the same reasons. To become more healthy and active.
And the new equipment encourages you to work even harder so I enjoy it even more. I come as often as I can now and really feel confident and happy when I’m in.
Q. You had an operation recently on your knee, can you tell us about that?
Over the last 6 years or so, I became a keen walker. The feeling you get from a nice brisk walk in the fresh air really boosts your mood, but it was becoming more and more painful for me over the last few years, and so after an MRI scan it was confirmed that I had osteoarthritis in my right knee. In October 2018 I had an arthroscopy, which is keyhole surgery to remove any loose debris that maybe causing some discomfort. This actually made my knee more uncomfortable, and so it was decided that my only option was to have a patella replacement. So, I now have a titanium knee cap, with a piece of plastic acting as my cartilage (as this had completely crumbled away). I’m 6 months post op now, and things are going well.
Q. Do you think being fit before your operation made a difference?
I was having regular physio before my operation, and he would always tell me, “the stronger you can get your leg before the operation, the easier recovery will be”. My consultant said the same, so I worked hard concentrating on my legs to get them as strong as I could. Generally too, I felt like I had more energy and felt healthier, so yes I definitely think it made a huge difference.
What was our experience of returning to exercise after a major operation?
After my knee operation I didn’t come to Inspire for about 3 months — I really missed it and was looking forward to returning and getting back to my routine. I put a stone on in weight from not being active, which also lowers your mood.
When I returned, Ruth and I spent some time chatting about the best way for me to gently re-introduce exercise, and the things I should avoid. For a while I concentrated on my upper body, until we both felt I could incorporate the leg machines again. Slowly but surely I was able to do more, and now I’m confident I will soon be back to my best.
I have been told that the inflammation around my knee could take up to a year to settle, so when I’m doing my workout, I listen to my body. If it doesn’t feel right, I’ll stop and try something else. I’m taking it one day at a time, and thanks to all of the coaches, there is always someone available to advise me with any issues I might have.
Q. What would you say to anyone else who’s thinking of joining Inspire?
I would say, stop thinking about it, and do it! I’ve never regretted my decision to join, and in fact it’s probably one of the best things I have ever done. I never thought I would get the ‘gym bug’, but I honestly absolutely love it and look forward to every time I go. It lifts your mood and energises you. I always arrive and leave with a smile on my face, and I’m even starting to notice a bit more definition on my body, especially my tummy and arms. Not quite Arnies standards yet, but there’s still time!
Q. Is there anything else you would like to say?
I would like to thank Ruth and the team of coaches, for all of the support they have given me during my recovery. Ruth and Carolyn have both been particularly encouraging, and have given me some great advice, which I really do appreciate.  THANK YOU LOVELY LADIES xxx