Coco waited 18 months to come to The Barracks Gym after allowing her social anxiety to hold her back. Coco was wanting to join the Royal Australian Air Force and wasn’t getting anywhere with her own training at her local gym. Her Husband, who has been in the Army for 7 years was helping her out but she was simply struggling to motivate herself.
Coco has wanted to join the Defence Force since she was 16. She grew up on an Island off the Northern Territory where her family lived and worked within a mining community. She also spent a lot of time sailing and working on boats during her time up North. She had a strong love for all things nautical. Fast forward to 21 years old and she landed a job working for an airline. This ignited a passion for all things aviation and opened up a completely new career pathway for her.
Despite always being active whilst growing up, Coco just couldn’t find the drive to get some sort of consistent training happening. Her entire life up until this point as been setting her up to work within the ADF. She went to boarding school from year 10, spent time at uni and then landed herself a job back on her home Island working in the mines. She knew what it was like to live in dorm style accommodation, eat at a mess and live away from your family.
Her and her husband met after he joined the Army so she’s always been surrounded by Defence life for their entire relationship. She knew that this was exactly what she wanted and wanted to do whatever it took to make it happen. That’s when she contacted us.
Coco works 1.5 hours away from where she lives. The gym is about 70 mins away from her home. She leaves for work at 5am and if she were to come and train at TBG she wouldn’t get home until 7-8pm. She very quickly wrote this off because it sounded impossible and very undesirable.
Carly actually contacted Coco over 18 months ago because she had seen her name in a few of the local facebook forums and noticed she was from Brisbane. The message went unread, however Coco was very well aware of TBG’s existence. She was what we call a ‘silent lurker’ in the forums as she preferred to sit back and read what was happening rather than be the one to ask or contribute.
She started listening to Carly’s podcast ‘Becoming Badass’. There were only 6 episodes at this point and it was actually the 6th episode that made her want to join TBG.
This episode was from a previous TBG member (Russ) who was now in the RAAF. She talked about how she came into the gym once, felt like she wasn’t fit enough and wasn’t good enough and that she wouldn’t fit in. This struck a nerve with Coco as it’s exactly how she felt.
Listening to Russ talk about this make Coco realise that she wasn’t alone. Russ spoke about feeling anxious and that she felt that she shouldn’t train with us. Coco felt the exact same way and when she heard Russ speak about wishing she had of come in sooner and gotten over that fear… she knew that it was time.
She wrote to us saying that she’d been holding off and that she needed to ‘pull her finger out’ and come in. Carly told her to come in that day, so she did.
With her finishing work at 2pm, she would drive to the gym and wait in her car. She’d read a book, nap or listen to music until we got there. She’d train and then she’d head home. She’d get home between 7-8pm and then have dinner and set herself up for the next day. She always meal prepped a few days in advance so she always had food to pack, would repack her gym back and get her work gear ready for the next day. She’d sit down and watch TV with her husband for half and hour and then go to bed. She did this 4 days a week.
Coco relied heavily on discipline to get this done. She’d already recognised that being ‘motivated’ wasn’t enough and so she changed her approach.
When Coco originally went for her Assessment Day she was 1kg over the BMI. She’d already lost 10kg at this point. She knew that she just had to go through the waiver process and sit out the 6 month cooling off period. She was fine with this as it bought her 6 months of training that she truly needed.
She spoke to us, told us she had 6 months and wanted to get things moving.
She then lost about 7 kg and because her job was a priority role, it was determined that she was able to forgo the 6 month cooling off period and would be enlisting in 2.5 months. This came as a shock to her as she was banking on having 6 months to get herself fit.
Coco accepted this and knew she had to dig deep. She instantly regretted not taking our advice of ‘start training yesterday’. The first session she came to was a running session and she was paired up with someone twice her height and at a much higher level of ability. She felt way out of her depth and struggled through the session. She stopped to walk at one point but another TBG member came up behind her and encouraged her to run. She started running because it was the words she needed to hear and she instantly knew she was in the right place.
Within 2.5 months at TBG she has progressed from barely being able to run to comfortably completing a 2.4km run and passing her beep test. She went from zero pushups to 14 pushups on the day of her PFA. She couldn’t achieve any of this prior to training with us however by committing to the TBG training process and training consistently she was kicking ass within a short space of time.
When she first started with us, Coco thought that her pushups were awesome. That she had perfect technique and was smashing them out. It was a reality check when we took her aside and pointed out where her technique needed adjusting. She needed to do her pushups on the wall rather than the floor whilst she mastered the technique. She did a practice PFA not long after and achieved 0 pushups. Whilst this was disheartening it was the wakeup call she needed to ensure she had perfect technique prior to heading off to 1RTU. She took away the technique guidance and applied it into her own training at home. She practiced pushups during the ads of a TV show for 2 weeks.
At a session 2 weeks later, everyone was asked to conduct pushups on the ground. She completed 5 full depth pushups. She said that Michael was both gobsmacked and impressed. She was shocked that such a small improvement was such a big deal, however very soon understood the need to celebrate the small wins! It was evident that she’d taken on everything we’d told her and applied it to her training. She ensured that she was doing correct training with the correct technique and she ended up with correct pushups. 14 of them at her final PFA in fact!
Coco is one of the members that we are most proud of when it comes to her progress in such a short space of time. She stuck to the training that was relevant, she trusted our process and she didn’t do anything extra that was unnecessary. She doesn’t always love every single session but she knows that it’s what she needs. It worked.
Coco told us that she always appreciated that the coaches knew where she was at and how far she can come. This made it a really amazing achievement when she got to celebrate her small wins. Appreciated that coaches knew where she was at and how far she had come and that it was amazing to celebrate such a small win.
Coco wishes that she came in sooner and didn't allow her social anxiety to hold her back. She wasn’t motivated enough on her own but she didn’t feel confident enough to come into TBG. After her first session she felt welcome and knew she was in the right place.
She describes TBG as the ‘crack of the whip’ that she needed to keep herself accountable and to push herself.
She’s now happily serving in the RAAF and looks forward to a long lasting career doing what she loves.
If you can relate to Coco's story and feel like you are ready to break away from those fears that are holding you back from joining the military, then get in contact with us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael and Carly both have walked the path you are about to take and are commited to help you get started with your training for a successful enlistment with free tips and articles.