Inspirational Woman: Luisa Valenti | Co-Founder, YourBodyProgramme.com

Luisa ValentiLuisa grew up in a big Sicilian/English family in Hertfordshire.

Her childhood was spent dancing, a passion that became her career throughout her 20s. This career took her around the world where she realised her love for other countries and cultures. Too injured to dance she moved into personal training, specialising in pre/postnatal fitness and injury rehabilitation.

Last year, with her business partner Terry Fairclough, Luisa launched an online exercise and nutrition company ‘Your Body Programme’.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I consider myself extremely lucky to have been born in such a stable country (although some may beg to differ in present times) but also into such a loving supportive family. With age, I have realised what a privilege this is, something I took for granted in my younger years. I am and have always been highly motivated, with a get-up-and-go attitude to life, plus a determination and need for success, whether that be in my personal or work life. I‘ve had a very exciting happy life (with a few “learning” bumps along the way). I’ve lived in many countries, experienced different cultures and realised there are many ways to do things.

From a very young age I knew I wanted to dance. It was my passion and as far as I can remember there was never any doubt that I would follow this path. At the age of five I was playing “Annie” in the school playground, this consisted of me singing “tomorrow” from the top of my lungs whilst I directed the other children around me. I went to a very creative junior school, and every Friday afternoon my friends and I were allowed to perform a new dance routine. Believe it or not we can still remember our moves to “So Macho” and “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off.” Perhaps not the most age appropriate of songs!  This passion for dance led to three years at a stage school and a dancing career through my twenties that took me around the world.

My present role of PT plus co-founder/director of Your Body Programme is exciting and challenging. My business partner and good friend, Terry Fairclough, came to me over three years ago with a business idea too good to refuse. We launched our company last year and it has been an exciting time watching it grow and develop into an even bigger project than we had anticipated. In a nutshell we create tailored exercise, nutrition and lifestyle programmes designed specifically for an individual. They are based on many factors including your genetic body type. There are three main body types: ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs. Your body-type determines how you should exercise and eat. Our clients have achieved outstanding results. Some of them have trained their entire life without managing to gain such results. Our scientific approach considers your entire health and wellbeing. For example, a client suffering with stress, depression or a condition such as arthritis, will be supported with helpful information.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not really, my dancing career was never a conscious decision. I always knew dancing was going to be my life. Then my progression into the fitness industry answers your next question.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Yes there have been a few, the most intense challenge, which explains how I ended up in the health and well-being industry, was the realisation that my body was too injured to dance. This was heart-breaking to say the least. It was the only thing I ever wanted to do plus the only thing I was trained to do. I moved to New Zealand to be with my partner at the time and during this adventure I met an amazing personal trainer. She helped me to recover and gain strength mentally and physically. This got me thinking, and after rehabilitating my own body I decided this could be a new pathway for me. I could help others to do the same. With a dancer’s background I was already at an advantage, so I studied hard, gained my personal training qualifications, plus a few extras then began my life as a PT. I specialise in pre/postnatal training, as well as work closely with a physiotherapist on injury rehab.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Tough question, definitely a high point (excuse the pun) was climbing Kilimanjaro. In my mid 30s, after the breakdown of a nine year relationship, I decided I needed to do something positive and challenging. My sister suggested climbing the tallest free-standing mountain in the world and when your big sister thinks it’s a great idea you pretty much roll with it. Six nights on the mountain, a fair amount of mental and physical pain and I was at the top. The terrain was breath taking and so diverse, from rain forest to an eerie bleak moonlike landscape. An amazing experience that I will never forget …yet never intend to repeat!

My most recent achievement has to be the launch of Your Body Programme. I am so proud of our success and ultimately the success of our members.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

It’s almost impossible to choose just one thing. I think the ability to listen and learn from people has been key to my success. There are lessons everywhere. I do not believe in luck, we create our own luck. A very successful man once told me “the harder we work, the luckier we become!” We are all presented with opportunities along the way and it is our responsibility to see them and choose to take them.

Hard work is also a strong contender! The ability to get up in the morning (in my case 4:45am!) and keep going. This has to be supported with a healthy lifestyle, I eat extremely well, I exercise five times a week and go to bed at a reasonable time. I follow our YBP plan, I am an ectomorph (body type) this means I do not struggle with gaining fat, yet staying strong and building muscle is a challenge. I love to go out on my bike, cycling through the hilly countryside of Hertfordshire. Yet I have to combine this with lifting weights, because maintaining muscle mass as we age is extremely important.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

No, I’ve never mentored in the traditional sense, yet I did some amazing work with children in refugee camps through a charity called The Flying Seagulls. Their philosophy is that a child should be allowed to be a child no matter what their circumstances. Through circus, dance, performance, movement and games we made children smile and forget their situation. This was the most rewarding work I have done to date.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

Women to support each other. I believe if all females on this planet supported each other, our strength and power would be immeasurable.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Through challenging times I realised that situations are very rarely personal. Most of the time they are about the other person. I guess I learned to be resilient and along with this came the ability to let go of being/feeling defensive. This allowed me to learn more and to be open to opportunities. This is what I would like to have understood earlier in life.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

On a personal front I’m aiming to create a more positive work life balance for myself. I sometimes find my drive to be successful in work can skew the balance slightly. I have recently started a mindfulness course to help me be more present as life seems to pass by so quickly.

The continued success of Your Body Programme is extremely important to me. At YBP we believe going through life in a fitter, healthy body will enhance all aspects of a person’s existence. We want people to look good and feel positive as well as increase their energy levels and overall health. We believe a healthier life is a happier life.

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