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Mel Betts Interview Transcript

MS / 22 October 2015

Darren:

Hi there its Darren here from Motus Training. So today I'm with Melanie Betts of Melanie Betts Physiotherapy who is our physiotherapy referral partner and she's just finished a training session with me so excuse any heavy breathing you might pick up on here. Good morning Mel and thanks for giving up time to talk to us today. Now for those of you who don't know, as well as being a fantastic physiotherapist, Mel is also a very good triathlete. So good in fact that she's just come back from Chicago competing for Great Britain at the World Championships. And the reason I was keen to share Mel's story today is twofold: the first is that it's a great story in itself and also that it's an amazing achievement to get to the World Championships, especially as she only really got into triathlon quite recently.So Mel, would you mind telling us a little about your athletic career if you like?


Mel:

Well I've always been quite sporty. At school I mainly did some middle distance running, cross country, hockey, those sorts of things. But I did compete in athletics up to a reasonably high standard until I was about 17 so at the sort of English schools level, a couple of international events but never quite made it to a real good GB vest status. And then injury sort of got in the way, and school studies, and going to university really, when I was about 17/18. and my competitive running fell by the wayside. But I always then worked in elite schools as a physiotherapist and because I didn't get my GB vest as an athlete I've made it may aim to work with elite sport and try and work with Great Britain teams at multi-levels at international events, and that took me to the Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games. I worked with Great Britain in swimming and shooting for many years, but I can safely say that I was always slightly jealous that I wasn't an athlete and still the physio, as good as that experience was. So when I discovered triathlon which was quite late on in life, I was just about to get married and I was going to Slimming World with a friend of mine, and I used to cycle there to make a last ditch attempt to lose some weight..


Darren:

It all counts!


Mel:

It all counts, yes. My friend said to me one day 'I've always fancied doing a triathlon and they've got one in Stratford.' And again, when I was young, I was quite aware of triathlons, but it was only Iron Man sort of distances so they never had the sprint or the Olympic distance. So I decided 'that sounds like good fun and yeah I'll give it a go with you' ,and from that moment,that was about 2006, I got hooked onto it and stuck with it ever since. And then we sort of discovered in 2013 the World Championships were in London. In triathlon they have a whole Masters or Veterans series, so you can compete for Great Britain in your age group, so that 25-30s and 30-35s, 35-40s can all compete, just against other people in that age group. Somebody suggested, because I'd had a few regional wins, that if I trained a bit harder, I might be able to make a GB vest. So that was my aim and that was the first year that I qualified at the sprint distance in London in 2013. Such good fun, and I really enjoyed it so much that  I then decided that I was going to have a go at stepping up the distance to Olympic distance, which is what most of the elites race, and then in 2014 went to Edmonton in Canada, and then this year I've just come back from Chicago in 2015 racing the same distance, the Olympic distance, in the States.


Darren:

Wow! That's quite an amazing story really. So from Slimming World in 2006 to Chicago World Championships...


Mel:

I think we worked out that it was less than five years from Fat Club as we used to call it to a GB vest, so that was probably the best achievement I think. And then, yeah, then it got quite serious after that.


Darren:

Mmm. An amazing achievement I'm sure everyone will agree. But one of the things, and I'm probably going to make you blush now, that I admire most about you is how you've done that, given everything else you've been doing at the same time. Because one of the stories we hear a lot from clients is that they are struggling to fit in exercise, that they are struggling to lose weight because they don't have time. They're too busy with kids, they are trying to work as well, perhaps they are running their own business -all the other demands that most of us have got on our time. And that's what I really find inspirational about what you've done. It'ss that you've done all of that at the same time. You've got two girls, you've got a busy physiotherapy practice to run and it seems you help out a bit on the family farm. Can you talk to us a little bit about how you manage to do it all?


Mel:

Yeah, well, like you say I've got a two clinic business, four other members of staff that work for me, two children under eight, a very demanding farmer husband and about 3000 sheep. So yes, you do. I think with anything like that, I always said before I didn't have time to exercise or didn't have time to fit it all in. But I think if you have a goal and that goal is important enough to you, you can find the time. It takes a bit of planning, and it takes a bit of juggling and sometimes some things maybe fall by the wayside. So I'm maybe now not quite the social owl I used to be because I need to get up at 5.30am in the morning to get that long bike ride in. But it's much easier to do that if the end result is important to you and it has to be I think a very specific goal to you. But at the same time I have to juggle the business life and the family life so I do make time. So I don't lie in bed on a Saturday or Sunday morning any more, I will get up and I'll go out when it's daylight and I'll do my training, do my early morning bike ride and then I'm back for when the children get up for breakfast. I have got quite a supportive family, luckily, as sometimes when my husband comes in, I'm going straight out or when the children have gone to bed, then I hit my training quite late at night. And the garage has solely been converted into a gym which is always useful so, you know, even just grabbing half an hour, I do half an hour on the turbo training when the children are coming and watching TV from school or fitting in an extra weights session. You can find time. And things like the housework will wait.


Darren:

Yeah, they're not important!


Mel:

A pile of ironing can wait, you know. People are getting used to that maybe we aren't as pristine as we always were. But you just find a goal, have a plan as well, so you know, quite a structured plan.Decide what you are going to do in the week and plan it out so you know when you are going to do those sessions and when you fit in all your other responsibilities around that, and stick to it really, rather than thinking I'll try and fit that in when I've got time. You actually have to make time for it, you actually have to structure it into your day. It's the best way to do it.


Darren:

Well, there we are. I can't really add much to that. I think Mel has summarised it really really well. It's about planning, prioritising and committing. If it's something you say you are going to try and fit in whenever then inevitably something else will get in the way.


Mel:

Something else always seems more important at the time, yes.


Darren:

Right, thank you very much Mel.


Mel:

Okay, you are welcome :)


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