Amy Bobbins named Most Inspirational Instructor by The Jungle Body, beating more than 500 instructors
A fitness coach, who was told she would be in a wheelchair at the age of 50, has spoken of her delight at winning a global competition.
Being a fitness instructor was something Amy Bobbins thought would never happen after being told that she had suffered serious injuries during more than a decade of ballet dancing.
Determined to keep on dancing, Amy looked for other ways to fulfil her passion and it was not long before she discovered The Jungle Body, an Australia-based franchise which offers fitness and exercise classes in more than 15 countries.
The Roydon woman has just been named The Most Inspirational Instructor of 2018 by the company, beating more than 500 instructors to the title.
The mother-of-three said: “I feel so overwhelmed, and more grateful than my class will ever know to have won the award.”
Amy was 16 years old when doctors told her that the curve of her spine had flattened out and lumps of tension were forming on her back.
The injuries meant that the aspiring ballerina had to give up not only her dream career but a £12,000 scholarship at one of the best ballet schools in the country.
The 36-year-old said: “Early on, everything hurt, be it walking, sitting, sleeping ... there was a constant pain in my lower back and it didn’t seem to ease at all.
“Weekly trips to physiotherapy were exhausting, and very painful. Sitting in class doing my studies was painful; when I slept, I had to have pillows in all sorts of positions to alleviate the pain.”
In 1999, Amy went to a new dance school in London, starting again from scratch, in the hope of having another shot at a ballet career.
Following a year of slow but hard work, it was the dedicated team of teachers there that advised her that enough was enough and, if she did not stop dancing, she would be in a wheelchair at 50 due to the damage sustained by an incorrect posture.
“Heartbroken doesn’t even come close to describing how I felt,” said Amy.
“I left London in 2000 and moved back in with my parents. I haven’t watched a ballet performance in more than 20 years.
“I get emotional just talking about it. I miss ballet and, if I went to the theatre to see it, I would probably sob the whole way through.”
Amy then worked several years in retail, which left her unfulfilled and feeling as though she had let down her parents.
“When I got pregnant with my first child, Hugo, at 23, I was worried that my back would not be able to support the additional weight,” she said. “I never allowed myself to think I could go back to dancing.”
In 2014, while browsing the internet, she found The Jungle Body.
“I fell in love with it and wanted to become an instructor. I knew this would be something I would really benefit from,” said Amy.
“When I decided that, it had been years without strenuous exercise, so I wasn’t sure how my body would cope.
“I started off with only a couple of classes a week, one in Long Stratton and one is Diss.”
In the beginning, no-one came to her classes.
“You forget sometimes how long it takes to build something up,” she said. “It took me almost two years to get to where I am now.”
She currently teaches PE at Roydon Primary School, takes an after school class and 10 classes a week at Heywood Health and Fitness in Diss, which 200 people attend.
“It’s brilliant as I get to be creative and come up with my own choreography,” she said.
“My class is all about making people happy and healthy, about coming together as a tribe and supporting each other in their respective goals.
“For a lot of people, it’s not about losing weight – it’s a form of therapy.”