Earlier this year, we became one of just a few care homes in the country to feature its very own gym, and on 1st June, it officially opened to the public. The Cumnor Hill House Gym was built with our residents’ health in mind, but by opening it up to the community completely free of charge, it has become a fantastic asset for the area and a facility we’re incredibly proud of.

As part of getting this specialist gym up and running, we recruited Dorothy, who is an adept personal trainer. Here’s an insight into what Dorothy does and how she helps our gym to run so smoothly.

How did you end up becoming a personal trainer?

I began personal training in 2011 when I realised that this was the perfect job for someone like me who is interested in people, fitness, and wellbeing. I discovered that helping people to plan and achieve levels of fitness and wellbeing that made them happier also made me happy!

Can you tell us a bit about your previous work experience and how that may help you in your new role?

I had various careers before becoming a personal trainer, including acting and modelling for Select Models UK, Latin America and Africa, and I also work as a make-up artist, sports masseuse, and development of expertise as a cardiac rehabilitation trainer, GP referral co-ordinator and nutritional adviser.

The key thread that runs through all of these is the way in which the human body can be helped to look or feel as good as possible. Sometimes this can be superficial, with modelling and make-up artistry being just surface changes. Of more interest to me now is how the inside of a person, and what they feel about themselves, can be related to how fit they are, especially as they grow older.

What would you say to locals considering using the gym?

Give us a try! We’ll do our best to make you feel welcome and, if you need it, we will help you to plan and achieve your fitness goals.

What made you want to come and work at Cumnor Hill House?

The variety of clients – both residents and other members of the local community – means that the work will be both challenging and rewarding. I look forward to helping both the young and young at heart to improve their fitness and, as a result, feel better about themselves.

What are you looking forward to most working at Cumnor Hill House?

I hope that I will see the residents and other members of the local community achieve goals beyond what they initially expected.

What will you be doing on a day-to-day basis?

My main focus, from day one, has been on working with residents on a one- to-one basis to personalise a programme that best meets each of their specific needs. There’s a whole lot more too, but I won’t bore you with the detail of the necessary administration that a gym needs to operate safely and effectively!

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

It sounds rather cheesy, but the most rewarding part of my job is seeing a client smile, even after I’ve worked them really hard! I feel a sense of achievement when someone I work with surpassed their own expectations.

How do you plan on working with other teams within the home?

There’s a careful screening process in place here at Cumnor Hill House, where I work with the medical staff to see which residents are well enough to exercise and at what level. From them on, every visit consists of speaking with nurses and carers to find out about any changes to the health of the residents that may affect their exercise plans, such as a change of medication or low energy levels.

I would like to monitor our residents’ eating habits and activity levels too, so I will be working closely with the events team and kitchen staff. We can look at ways to improve, share ideas and support each other, so that each resident can get the most out of each day.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

After spending most of my adult life engaged in individual and team sports, I realised that the key to a happy, healthy body and mind is an enjoyable whole-body workout combined with good nutrition. Five years ago, I decided to turn my personal interests into my career, becoming a PT, nutritional advisor and GP referral.

I feel truly blessed to have a career in which I make a genuine difference in people’s lives, whether it be helping people meet their fitness and weight goals or rehabilitating those recovering from injury or serious medical conditions such as depression, stroke or arthritis.

It is my passion to educate, empower and encourage my clients through each PT session by providing fun, enjoyable and rewarding exercise experiences that allow our bodies and minds to feel stronger – physically, emotionally and socially.

My motivation is my purest quality, I will go the extra mile and you will feel better after just one session! I hope to see you very soon at the Cumnor Hill House Gym.