Consistency is the key with Annie Foulds
In life we always tend to find ourselves on various journeys through our existence. When we happen to take these journeys we always look to ourselves from within to create positive affirmations that can help us along the way. There are indeed times where we may find ourselves looking to others to help us obtain our goals through the positive messages that are spread. Most journeys we find ourselves on at times are through fitness and while on those fitness journeys there’s almost always one word that stands out…….INSPIRE or INSPIRATION. Every now and then we tend to come across a person that preaches these exact words, a person that can inspire others to be the best version of themselves mentally and physically. One of those people is Annie Foulds. One of the most innovative, methodical fitness experts you will ever meet. Let’s take another trip to one of our favorite places across the pond to London to discuss everything fitness with Annie Foulds.
MSM: We’re excited to speak with you and welcome to Mid Strike Magazine. Everyone starts a journey somewhere. For Annie, where did her journey begin?
Annie: Hi Mid Strike Magazine, thank you for having me! It is an honor to be able to speak with you today. Well, my journey started in a small town called, Ipswich, Suffolk. This is where I was born and raised. I started my life as an obsessed little girl wishing to dance. However, I was also gifted at sport and was later representing my schools in many sports. I remember winning my first dance competition at the age of 7 years old, to the famous Michael Jackson song, “Don’t stop till you get enough”. How ironic! As that is my mantra today! Don’t stop! I am a country girl at heart and love nothing more than being outside with nature. Although, I have spent 28 years now living in London. But, that’s another story!
“Annie gave me confidence I never had, Annie saw that I achieved all the fitness related goals I set out to and more, she totally transformed my life and since it has unfolded in the most beautiful ways. Annie gave me my passion for real exercise and movement to make me feel good. Annie inspires, Annie is pure joy”.Client testimonial
MSM: Usually when we embark on these types of fitness journeys it’s usually a life circumstance that leads to us taking a closer look at our health and well-being. Was fitness something that was always embedded into your DNA?
Annie: Mmm. No, I wouldn’t say it was in my DNA, my mother was very academic and didn’t enjoy sport at all. However, you could say that a life experience has driven me to become the relentless campaigner for health, and in that – it has strengthened my mind and body. Also pushed me to endure some of the toughest Ultra Marathons in the world. I haven’t yet been able to accomplish them all yet, due to the Covid pandemic last year and having enough time, but I will! I do indeed intend to accomplish my goals! Sport has given me an out, a focus, a passion, and a release from everyday life. My first life circumstance, which changed me was when I was four years old and my parents divorced. Then, I loss my favorite uncle, to AIDS and the pain from that made me concentrate my energy on dance and running. Both activities gave me the sense of freedom and the mental capacity to escape into a world of my own.
MSM: Your past includes a wide range of experiences in a range of fields from dancing, fashion all the way through to ultra-marathon. Dancing and ultramarathoning are 2 totally different ends of the spectrum. How did you manage to cross over into the realm of marathoning?
Annie: Ah, yes! These are three of my four passions in life. Apart from my family. Of course. Dancing, Fashion, Running, and Music. Well, as I mentioned before, I started my life as a dancer and wanted to become a professional dancer. However, I was such a perfectionist and I messed up on one of my dance school auditions. I wanted it so much that I made mistakes and allowed my head to take over my ability. It taught me several things. One, keep learning to control your emotions. Two, never give up on yourself. Keep going. I say this, because when I received the very important letter of acceptance into the school and was turned down. They said I had enormous potential and must try again. But, I didn’t as I was so heartbroken! A mistake, I think about even today! But, not a regret! I don’t regret anything. Only the things I do not try! So, I went on to a variety of jobs – none filling me with the passion or sense of purpose that dance did. So, I went back to dancing in a fashion show, which lead to becoming a model for an agency in Norwich, called Sandra Reynolds. I was very successful, but it wasn’t me! I came to London to follow my sense of adventure and to follow my passion for dance, fitness, and music and this is where it all began in 1994. I met my husband Stephen and had two wonderful children in London. I have been fortunate enough to meet so many wonderful people during my 28 years in London and even danced with Prince at the O2 in 2007. However, it was becoming a Mother that changed me once again or should I say, increased my development. The everyday challenges and sacrifice as a mother are new and wonderful and I love it! But, when I was pregnant with both my sons, I put on a lot of weight. So, I started to jog with the pram to lose weight and I didn’t stop running. I entered 5k, 10k, half-marathons, and marathons for ten years! Until my son, Jack became seriously ill with Pancreatic Cancer at the age of 10 years old. Once again, another life circumstance to challenge my resolve, to learn from and I did! I used my mental strength to cope with the pure horror of what we as a family was going through and I used my physical fitness to release some stress and give me the vital energy I so desperately needed for my family. During this time we stayed at Great Ormond Street Children’s hospital and Jack had a life-saving operation. So, once Jack was returned home safe and sound, I made a plan. I desperately wanted to do something to give back to the hospital. So I became an Ultra Marathon runner to raise funds for the hospital. My first Ultra race was the 100K Marathon del Sahara, in Tunisia which was a ten-day event. I haven’t looked back since and continue to draw from the training and the strength that Ultra Marathons gives to me in my everyday life.
I started my day at 5:15am for 10 years: first session was 6am and ran through to 7pm. Now after 12 years of running my business my day starts a little later at 6:30am – first session at 7:30am -7pm.Annie Foulds
One of the main reasons I became an ultra-marathon runner is because my son Jack nearly died at 10 years old and as we rushed into Chelsea & Westminster hospital to save his life – two weeks later he was transferred to Great Ormond Children’s Hospital – where he was diagnosed with endocrine pancreatic cancer. He stayed at the hospital until he had his life-saving operation. This turned me into an Ultra Marathon runner as this took me to the Sahara and beyond. This lead me to run every marathon and participate in every challenge the hospital did from 90 steps climbs to 5k, 10k, half, and full marathons. When my son was in the most critical condition – I laid on top of him and looked him in the eyes and said to him ‘what do you call mummy?’ He replied ‘Super mummy!’ I whispered to him ‘then you take all my super strength and use it right now!’ He replied – ‘OK, mummy!’. As I mentioned before – I have been through so many personal losses – but was and remains the worst – nearly losing my son! Only last year, I lost my Step-Father – then had glandular fever and COVID in the same year (2020) and to eventually overcome and run 14 miles in 2021.
There are people out there – that truly do possess superhuman qualities to overcome – heroes, legends, or just extraordinary people – who knows! One thing I do know, it takes an extraordinary life to build such a person. But, the joy is to use that and help others with your strength. I must mention my husband, Stephen Foulds, Rolls Royce London. Without him – nothing of this would be possible. His love is of 28 years never wavers! Whether I am running 30Mins or 4 hours – he is by my side on his bike – no matter what the weather! Love is everything!
MSM: Becoming a runner is one of the most mentally challenging things a person can do but with the right mindset and focus the success can follow. As a dancer there’s also a sense of focus one must have as well. Already having that mindset was this something that essentially led to you having an easy transition into running?
Annie: Absolutely, running and dancing are very similar in that sense to me. The focus, discipline, determination, self-sacrifice, and grit as a dancer transcend into dance very smoothly indeed. The focus and mental strength to overcome pain as a dancer was set in me at a very early age. I can’t remember a time where I was not practicing or focusing or going through drills. Pushing myself to accomplish the necessary task at hand. I remember, the discipline to practice time and time again, nothing else existed at all! This also helped me at school for studying, in my athletics career, when I was representing the Northgate High School as a 200-meter runner and County champion representing Suffolk and Ipswich Harriers. So, I guess becoming a marathon or ultra runner was very natural to me. Also, I think overcoming stuff things as a child is a good basis for endurance sports. We are used to difficult situations.
MSM: Take our readers through some of your run journeys. Where did it start and how did you know this was something you knew you would enjoy doing?
“Annie still remains an inspiration and true friend. I have nothing but admiration, adoration and love for this marvelous woman. She embodies the true feminine that I would encourage all women to explore. Strong, Powerful and beautifully feminine”.
Client – Isabelle Josephs
Annie: Well, let me take you to my first London Marathon. I live in Chelsea, London. I am very lucky to have many parks and rivers to run around. Hyde Park, St James, Green Park – the Thames Path. I love to run along the river and parks as it makes me feel in touch with nature. I discovered I was good at running long distances when I started doubling up my marathons from one a year to two almost back to back, within several weeks of each other. I also noticed when I was running the London to Brighton Ultra Marathon and I wasn’t tired. I think I prefer trail running to road running as I have noticed that I enjoyed the feeling of adventure and getting from A – Z on my own steam. May I tell you why I entered marathons though; it’s the atmosphere and the supporters! Just amazing! Before my first ever marathon, I would stand on the side of the road observing the runners and also the supporters. I was inspired and impressed by what I saw, all shapes, sizes, abilities, ages, came jogging past me arriving down the mall in front of Buckingham Palace. They were greeted with cheers, shouts, and clapping for every single person. The one thing that I also noticed, was that one in three people at least were running for a charity. I was so touched and admired every single person that passed me by. I thought, no longer must I stand and watch – but I must DO! So, I trained for eight months in the gym and on road for my first ever Marathon. I don’t mind telling you, I cried when I reached Big Ben and I knew I had done it. That particular marathon, my family and friends attended! Such a fantastic experience and feeling of pride. I think the Sahara and New York Marathons are also my favourite places to run for very different reasons. The Sahara was incredibly challenging, scary, stunning, enlightening, and horrifying all in one! Such a personal step up for me! I didn’t know for one minute if I could achieve it. But, I had faith in myself not to give up trying! I made some very special friends there too! New York is special for the people and the fantastic route of crossing all five boroughs! The welcome I received for just turning up to run New York was amazing – every shop experience was a delight and every run was met with a smile and cheers “good luck”. Maybe they knew I wasn’t a New Yorker! haha!
MSM: Annie Foulds Fitness. creative, methodical, innovative, and disciplined. As a trainer how do you tie these words into your sessions and embed them mentally into your clients?
Annie: Mmmm. Interesting question? Well, I take every single client as an individual. I listen, watch and adapt my training to suit the person I am training. But, yes, fundamentally, it is with consistency, discipline, hard work, and sacrifice that they will achieve their goals. I like to set a good example, but it is ALL about the client. I one hundred percent believe they can achieve whatever they want to – with my help, hard work, consistency, and commitment. I have had some clients for over ten years. I keep learning and up skill myself to give my clients the very best. I study mental health, new fitness fads to deliver a top class service. I am not a lazy or boring person and therefore, I like to create interesting, fun, and challenging sessions, taking into account my client’s likes and dislikes. There is little point in forcing a person to do something they hate. As they will not continue to do this long term. This is my method – always long-term. As I want them to carry forward the skills I have taught them for the rest of their lives. Life is not a sprint – it is indeed a MARATHON! I am very professional at all times too. So, I think this gives my client trust and comfort. I like to think my client thinks our sessions are varied, incorporating all the skills I have learned over the years, dance, ballet, stretch, boxing, weights, running, I try to cover most things. As I am a great believer in cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and strength altogether, makes a truly strong body. I don’t believe my clients will or would remain with me if I did not make the sessions enjoyable and challenging at the same time. They can see that I am serious and passionate about the importance of health and well-being. Fitness is life, therefore, I must encourage and teach my clients life skills, qualities, routines, they must learn to continue with and without me. I like to think of myself as a teacher and a good teacher would like their pupils to excel at the highest level and then graduate. Because, even ten years is not LIFE!
MSM: Those that are consistent enough will eventually see the improved results within themselves physically. As a trainer has there been times where you’ve taken a step back to thoroughly enjoy goals that were met by some of your clients?
Annie: Oh yes! For sure! Too many to recall, right now! I have some of the most touching wonderfully moving letters from clients. I think it is important to take a step back and reflect and take in what one has achieved with a particular person or your own achievements. This is a special part of my job. This is the thing that gets me up in the early hours. Seriously, helping people to change their lives – truly helps me to have the sweetest life ever! There is nothing better for me than to know you are making a difference and helping people.
MSM: Limitations is something that you don’t believe in as it’s a thought that sometimes holds us back. As a runner has this helped you to move past the limitations not only mentally but physically? Being able to constantly break through that mental wall when needed?
Annie: Ah! Now, this is something that I am very passionate about. I hate labels and limitations. Expectations! People of so capable. I wish I could talk to every single person on this planet who puts limits on themselves! I hate it when I hear people saying about themselves “I never thought I could or would or this is not for me!” WHY NOT!? It truly drives me crazy to hear it! I think it is such a shame! We are all so capable, and with love, help, knowledge, commitment, and hard work – we can achieve anything. Positive thinking is the key! You must believe and therefore, reach out to someone who can help us see and achieve – take off the lid to your limitations! Falling or failure is good for us – we learn and grow from them! Not to try – is failure to me – we must always try! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to learn, to not be good at something, because when we try and try again, we do become better! Keep moving forward! Don’t look for perfection – look to pass – you don’t need one hundred percent! Just a pass! Be free! Taking off your fear – allows you to be free! With freedom, comes energy and strength!
MSM: I always like to say some of my faults as a runner are constantly running but not enough gym where it’s hard to find that balance with life, running, and gym. How have you managed to find your balance as a runner and fitness trainer? Also, what would you say is a good mix of gym vs running?
Annie: Absolutely for sure. I cannot stand it when some say to me ” you don’t look like a runner!’ Nope! I look fit! It used to frustrate me so much! It still does. Cross-training, not only prevents injury and overuse. It adds variety to your training and makes you stronger at your particular event. Weights, running, and stretching – all in one! I have had very few injuries related to running over my twenty years of hitting 40 miles on a weekly basis. I think that supports the way I train and what I truly believe to be the best way to train!
“Annie is incredibly accomplished in her own fitness and personal achievements but what Annie will do that no one else in my life ever had before is remind you of your personal power. Annie empowers you to remove the limited beliefs we allow ourselves to be trapped in by constant support, amazingly high vibrational energy and the pure intention to lift you to your highest potential”.Client Testimonial
MSM: At what point did you realize that personal training was something you wanted to focus on. To help and inspire others with their fitness journey?
Annie: I have always wanted to help and inspire others. Even at school. But as an adult, the moment came when I knew I wasn’t going to be a dancer and I hated office work! Haha! Don’t get me wrong – because, I was so disciplined, I was actually good at it! I loved being organized and I had so much energy to give! But, I realized, I was giving it in the wrong place! I needed to find myself and something I thought was worthwhile. I love helping people and I have a huge desire to do something meaningful. So, I left a very good job as a Personal Assistant, much to my boss’s disbelief, sold my house, I had brought as a young woman at went back to school to follow my dream. I didn’t know if it would work! In fact, my boss at the time, wasted no time in pointing out a few facts, like I had no clients, no experience, nothing! I just knew I had to give it a go! I haven’t looked back since!
MSM: For our readers here in the states and in the UK for those that are interested how can they get in touch with Annie Foulds for a possible fitness session?
Annie: Oh gosh! Just give me a call! I would dearly love to chat, discuss or train with you. I know there are only five working days! But, thank goodness for Zoom these days! You can find me online www.anniefouldsfitness.com, Facebook, Instagram, or email. firstname.lastname@example.org Don’t be scared, be happy! Keep moving forward! You are more capable!
MSM: What’s on the horizon for Annie running and training?
Annie: What is on the horizon! Well, I always have something! I want to become a Life Coach, so, I am studying that right now. But, don’t panic – that is for my future investment. Not quite yet! I am not ready to retire yet! I want to run the 777 World Challenge, I have London Marathon this year, lots of running, I hope across the globe when travel is allowed. I am also writing a book. My long-term ambition is to travel the world and inspire people to believe in health and fitness and make them believe in the POWER of activity! But, most of all – I would like to connect and reach as many people as possible to help them in some way!
MSM: Any last words you’d like to share with our readers?
Annie: Oh gosh! I would like to say so much! Life is tough, but so are you! Start believing you can handle anything that comes your way. You are a soldier of life! You have got this! Whatever it takes! Let’s get it done! Don’t give up on yourself – the people who love you – deserve you to be at your best!