2011 Testimonials

Oct 11, 2011 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Fa-Fitness, Testimonials

Anne Underwood

Anne Underwood trained with Matt Luxton for Dragon Boat CompetitionIn a society which seems so overwhelmed by negativity, here’s a real dose of positivity and a demonstration of what you can do if you put your mind to it! Here is an article written by an amazing client of mine……




Training for Senior Womens Dragon Boat Racing Team

25th August 2011

Anne Underwood

I have just returned from Tampa Bay in Florida where I took part in the Dragon Boat World Championships! It is an experience I shall never forget as we were competing against the top athletes in the world. We have gained incredible experience, which stand us in good stead for the European Championships next summer.

We were beaten by the Canadians, Australians, USA and Germany all are awesome teams.

The races are:
sprints of 200 metre and 500 metres,
Longer races of 1000 metres and 2000 metres.

As the races involve heats, semi and finals all on one day, endurance plays a large role alongside strength and speed.


I am 55 years old, a mother of four and grandmother to three girls.
As my youngest child left home to go to university I began to look around for a hobby to take up.
I have always enjoyed competitive sport and when I was 19 years I represented England in the national Women’s Basketball Team.

3 years ago, I attended a fun day to try out Dragon Boat racing. There are 20 paddlers in a boat with a drummer at the front and the helm at the back. The boat has a dragons head and tail. Scales are painted on the side they are truly beautiful boats. Fully laden the boat can weigh one and a half tons!

I happen to be the right build for this sport and I soon began to take it very seriously. I joined the Exe-Calibre Team in Exeter and began training hard on and off the water.
However, training was difficult. I was working full time and attending the club sessions three times a week. I was overweight and unfit.
Nevertheless, I decided to go for the GB senior womens (over 40) trials in May 2010. The aim: to give me experience. I was not expecting to get into the team.

The time trials were held at Hemel Hempstead and involved paddling 500 metre on your own in an O1. Individual times are totaled. The fastest 20 paddlers are selected for the team.

By some miracle I pulled off a fast time and was in the team!

I felt sheer panic and started training daily, swimming at 6:00am, running, paddling on my own 3 times a week, team paddling 3 times a week – plus a full time job I found I was beginning to feel ill, wasn’t performing well and I was still over weight!

I talked to Gary initially he gave me insight into fuelling the body and replacing nutrients after training and he suggested I get in touch with Matt.

I struggled on with training and got to the Europeans with the team where we achieved a silver and bronze medal.

I returned from the Europeans knowing it would be really difficult to get selected again for the world championships. I would be a year older, the sport was becoming more popular and the average age of our team was dropping to be nearer 40 than 50yrs!

I met with Matt. I wasnt convinced I could get fitter and I needed to knock 6 seconds of my average time trial time to be sure of a place in the team. I knew I was still over weight and a voice in my head said I was too old to attempt to get into a GB squad anyway.

Matt said he would give it a go. Matt was amazing. He looked up the sport and worked out the muscle groups needed for me to go faster and began to set a programme that would bring me up to speed fitness for the May trials and peak fitness for the world championships (if I got in) in August of the following year – 2011.

I then started having real doubts:

1. It is hard training – I would be on the water in the early hours 6.00am in the dark with a headlight, I would team up with a buddy for safety, but it was gruelling in the winter months in icy conditions. Even in a team sport there is a lot of training on your own. Motivation during the winter months is a real problem.
2. Would I be motivated to do the home programme set by Matt?
3. I suddenly started getting aches and pains everywhere and that voice in my head said I was mad to be trying this.
4. I usually felt really bad before my sessions with Matt and kept wanting to cancel the training – which took place at 7.00am. I thought I couldn’t do it or I wouldnt manage to last the hour (I never did cancel).

What Drove Me To Continue:

1. Matts programme was very structured and tailor made for my own abilities and needs.

He took into account what I wanted to do:

1. To go Faster
2. To have excellent technique which meant holistic training as the whole body is involved in each stroke.
3. To lose weight I noticed Matt was uninterested in this he suggested to me that would happen anyway as I became fitter. He did suggest the Hot to Trot programme, which I took on board and it made a massive difference to me as I began to eat the foods necessary and cut out the rubbish.

1. I gradually began to feel fitter.

As the weight training programme took hold, I began to change shape and shed weight.

I felt great. For a month I cut out wheat, gluten, sugar, caffine, alcohol and then gradually included them to see how they affected me.

I never went back to caffine and alcohol!

I adopted the Hot to Trot nutritional plan.

I found that training in the O1 (my own boat) felt different as I was lighter and more mobile – I went faster. My fitness improved consistently.
In the team boat I found recovery between races improved- I was more mobile and my technique was improving.

I have lost over two stone since last year and inches have disappeared!


My aim in the time trial was to go 5 secs faster I actually went 14 secs faster and was easily selected into the crew for the world championships.

My nutrition before and after races were much improved and I found I had good energy levels and recovery, even when racing in Florida in 100degrees.

I am so proud to have represented GB in the world championships. To have raced and felt in top form was brilliant I loved every minute of the competitions.

I would like to thank Matt with his training programme for helping me to achieve what I thought was an impossible goal. I am not finished yet I know I can paddle faster.

European Championships are next August


That is awesome Anne, I absolutely look forward to every session that I coach Anne, she is a tremendous example of all the core values I hold within my fitness business. Commitment, dedication, persistance and challenge!

I am excited about getting Anne in phenomenal shape for next years World Championships.

If you want a sneak preview of some of the principles that underpin the success that Anne has got I will be held a seminar on Friday 2nd September, 7:15pm at the Eagle House Hotel, Launceston. It was FREE but I asked attendee’s gave generously to the chosen charity for the evening, Childrens Hospice Southwest.

To view part 1 of the seminar CLICK HERE.






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