When fitness instructor Naomi McGowan was told to terminate her fitness career due to nerve damage in her knees, she adapted her training and battled on despite the excruciating daily pain. Her persistence paid off and her bodybuilding training translated into new levels of fitness – 18 months ago Naomi won the Miss Bikini 2017 title at the NABBA* Wales fitness show. Having launched her personal training business earlier this year, you can now book private sessions with Naomi and benefit from the expertise of this determined fitness professional.
Photography By Lee ‘The Protein Bar’ Thomas
Interview By Andrea Slivkova
*NABBA – National Amateur Body-Builders’ Association
Naomi McGowan, 21, started out as a group exercise instructor a few years ago, earning the fitness instructor qualification in the process. Her portfolio of experience includes teaching a bit of everything, from circuit training and bootcamps, to aqua classes, Zumba and high intensity interval sessions. She is currently in the final year of her sport and fitness degree. “It’s important to me as an instructor to always continue learning and developing my knowledge in order to offer the best advice and service to my clients,” she says.
Pictured: Hereford personal trainer Naomi McGowan at the NABBA Wales fitness contest 2017 where she won the Miss Bikini Toned Physique title. Interview overleaf. Photography by Lee ‘The Protein Bar’ Thomas.
In addition to her fitness career, Naomi managed to fit in the gruelling training for the NABBA fitness show and entered the Bikini Toned fitness category, taking the Miss Bikini title. So what was it like being on the stage, to have all the eyes on her, scrutinising every muscle on her body?
“It was an incredible experience. For me, the scrutiny of my physique was almost irrelevant, because I poured my heart and soul into the training in the ten months prior to my first competition.”
The contest proved to be a tough challenge but standing on that stage, knowing she had worked so hard and achieved what she set out to do gave her a huge sense of satisfaction. And winning the title? Naomi admits it was an unexpected blessing.
Only two years ago she was diagnosed with nerve damage in her knees and told to give up fitness and change her career. How did she react to the news?
“It was difficult news to hear but instead of accepting what the specialists told me, I battled on… It’s been a difficult journey as I have had to deal with excruciating pain on a daily basis and I’ve been restricted in how I can train. I persevered and did whatever I could, adjusting my training accordingly. After a long, tough, painful and very challenging time I have been able to see the muscle growth and definition in my legs, a huge achievement for me.”
Getting through this obstacle has motivated Naomi to start her new personal training business, Exodus Fitness. “I want to show and help others who struggle with injuries or pain that achieving their goals is possible. As long as you’re willing to put in the work, there is always a way!”
“I had the privilege of training with Naomi as she was going through her own transformation in readiness for her Bikini Body Competitor debut. Naomi has a rare level of focus and dedication and she applies this same work ethic when training other people. In the short time I have worked with Naomi, I can see a difference in my body shape and my level of strength and fitness. She favours targeting specific muscle groups using a mind to muscle connection, which I have found very effective, no flinging weights around mindlessly is allowed! Naomi is also extremely generous with her knowledge of nutrition to support your goals, very much a 360 degree approach to health, fitness and your ultimate body goal.” Lena D.
“I would regularly attend Naomi’s circuit sessions and found they improved my fitness significantly, enough for me to be able to prepare to join the military and pass all fitness tests. She is a brilliant, friendly instructor and her sessions were always well thought out, challenging and varied. Without the circuit sessions I don’t think my fitness would be at the standard it is. Thank you, Naomi!” Sophie D, Hereford
I ask Naomi about her favourite aspect of working with her clients and helping them achieve their goals.
“For me it is all about improving quality of life. I love hearing about people’s training and see their progression – not just in the gym, but in other aspects of their lives such as mental health, career prospects, or general fitness and wellbeing.”
No doubt regular training benefits our bodies in many different ways, it makes us stronger physically and mentally, adding the element of resilience to our lives. Naomi’s passion for training and nutrition means weight training six times a week, followed by one day of rest. When not preparing for a competition, some of her training is replaced with a cardio-only session, but given a choice between cardio and weights, resistance training always wins.
Training hard is only part of the story though, as no amount of training can compensate for a bad diet. So what is Naomi’s secret?
“I like to stick to whole foods as much as I can, so I eat a lot of chicken, beef, eggs, sweet potato, vegetables. I use MyFitnessPal to track my food intake, to ensure I hit my targets which are set according to my current training goals,” she explains.
This leads to my next question, cheat meals. At the time of this interview Naomi is prepping for a competition so that means no cheat meals until after show day. And when she is not training for a competition? “I definitely love a bit of pizza, but I have a weakness for cookies and chocolate… And pic’n’mix, but not all at once, obviously,” she admits. So she is human after all.
Naomi will be dedicating her time and effort to building her business and helping clients achieve their goals. Exodus Fitness is accepting bookings from clients who want to change their physique composition or develop healthy lifestyle habits. Contact Naomi for more information about personal training in small groups or one-to-one, bootcamps, nutritional advice and body analysis (body fat and muscle analysis) in the Hereford area. Online sessions and home visits in Herefordshire are also available. You can book your TASTER SESSION now.
Naomi McGowan specialises in weight loss and physique changes.
Tel: 07931 587 227 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
New website with a blog and videos coming soon.