Dream comes true for Doncaster fitness duo

A Doncaster couple who embarked on a health and fitness regime together have had their dreams come true after landing their own fitness class at Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust (DCLT).
Fitness couple Mark Sands and Sarah BurtonFitness couple Mark Sands and Sarah Burton
Fitness couple Mark Sands and Sarah Burton

Marks Sands (45) and Sarah Burton (48) from Balby, who have been in a relationship for five years, were over 16st and 13st respectively and wanted to change their lives so embarked on an exercise mission to lose weight and generally become more fit and healthy.

Their passion for fitness quickly took hold and they began taking qualifications to become fitness instructors. The duo, who both work in retail, have now got their own body combat class at Fitness Village Balby, which is managed by DCLT, on Wednesday evenings.

Mark said: “Six years ago, just before I met Sarah, I had peaked at 16st and was not happy with myself as I was completely unhealthy and had just got totally out of shape. I knew I had to do something so I became a DCLT gym member to get more active. Shortly after this I met Sarah and we began our journey together.

“As we got more into the exercise, and particularly group exercise classes, my confidence grew and I realised I would like to try and become an instructor. It has been a hard road but I persevered and to see where I am now is unbelievable. Not only has my body shape changed completely, but my confidence is so much better. And to have progressed from a participant to have my own body combat class is brilliant – I absolutely love teaching and to do it with my best friend and soulmate is even better.

“I get such as lot out of teaching the class and seeing other people benefit from getting fit, and I know those who come really enjoy it too. Sarah is my inspiration and I am so proud to have been on this journey with her. To realise that I am good at what I do has been a fantastic feeling for me and I really hope this is the start of things to come for us.”

Added Sarah: “Before I met Mark I was a size 16-18 in clothes, I had aches and pains and got out of breath very easily. But it was when one of my friends had a heart attack out of the blue and had to have a triple bypass operation that I realised I had to change my lifestyle, it gave me the push I needed. I began eating more healthily and joined a gym and soon after I met Mark and, as he had been in a similar position, we continued on a health kick together!

“I loved seeing the results of my hard work on my body and this kept me motivated to carry on. I am still amazed when I pick out size 8 clothes in shops as I can’t believe it’s me! Improving my own fitness and enjoying fitness classes so much sparked an interest in teaching and that’s when we began to take qualifications together. To now have our own class is wonderful and we have more training booked in so we hope to be able to increase what we teach to body attack classes and more.

“Both of us leading a class provides participants with something different - one of us can lead while the other demonstrates and it’s a partnership that just works so well, at home and in class! We get some lovely comments back from those who attend our sessions so we just hope it continues and that we can do more teaching at DCLT in the future.”

Kraig Kelly, head of leisure at DCLT said: “The dedication both Mark and Sarah have shown to their own fitness and then to teaching others is an inspiration and has resulted in them leading their own body combat class at Fitness Village Blaby. This is a credit to them and all the effort they have put in.

“The feedback they get from those who take part in their class is amazing – they work brilliantly together and have created a really energetic, fun environment that people want to be part of. They run a genuinely member focused class where they want to motivate everyone and help them achieve what they have.

“We are delighted they are part of the DCLT family and we wish them lots of success.”

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