Liverpool woman shed over 7 stones to become top Thai boxer and personal trainer
2 months ago
Liverpool personal trainer Jodie Clunan lost more than 7 stones and completely transformed her life after discovering a passion for Thai boxing.
Jodie spent her late teens and early 20s living on takeaways and ready meals, gradually going up to just over 17 stones and from a size 10 to a size 22.
“I started to put weight on when I moved out from home and was living on my own,” she says. “I was just eating anything I could throw in the oven, all convenience foods and ready meals, and I was working in town so it was always a Subway for lunch, a McDonalds or a Greggs to take back to my desk.
“My weight crept up over a few years, but I just buried my head. I’d tell myself Primark sizing was rubbish that’s why I needed a bigger one, or I’d want something to feel a bit looser so I’d get a size up. Before you know it you’re in Simply Be looking in the 20/22 section.”
Looking back, 31-year-old Jodie admits she had no real interest in exercise and tried every fad diet without success.
It wasn’t until she was going on a Christmas night out and found she could no longer fit into anything that she decided something had to change.
“I was getting ready and sitting with all my dresses spread out around me and none of them fitted. I just sat on the floor between them all and cried my eyes out,” she remembers. “I thought, how have I allowed myself to get this big?
“I was so miserable, I didn’t want to be in any photos, I didn’t want to do anything or go out. I’m usually really outgoing, the life and soul of the party, and I’d stopped being any of that. I just wanted to hide in the background all the time.
“That was when I thought, I don’t want to be this person anymore. I need to do something.”
Jodie, who lives in Wallasey, noticed on social media that a girl she’d worked with had been Thai boxing.
“I got in touch and asked what it was like. She said I’d love it, it was right up my street, so I messaged James at Dockside Fitness to ask how I signed up.
“On the first day I walked into a gym full of men, there wasn’t another woman in sight, and I was terrified. They’d all been doing Thai boxing for years, I was this 17 stone woman and I thought, what am I doing here?
“But everyone was so nice, showing me what to do, and I got such a buzz from it. When I got home, I was shattered and my face was the colour of a tomato for about four hours, but I said to my mum, ‘I loved it’. She gave it a couple of months before I got bored again, but I never did.
“It made me feel good, like I’d really achieved something, and I’d stopped feeling like that about myself.”
After her first session in January 2014, Jodie says she got the Thai boxing bug big time. She went from sessions twice a week to three times and four, then started adding in PTs with owner James.
“I’d do a PT at 6am, get a shower and go to work, get back at 5pm for another PT and then classes started at 6pm. That was my life for two years.”
As her fitness improved, the first stone and a half dropped off and when her weight loss plateaued, seeing a nutritionist to balance her diet helped her lose another three stones. Keen to take on her first fight, Jodie did an online degree in sports and exercise nutrition so she could tailor her food to her training sessions.
Having once weight 106kg, she had her first Thai boxing contest at 59kg in 2016 in Birkenhead and stopped her opponent in the third round.
Within her first year of competition, she won all five fights, going on to compete in all the biggest shows in the country and rising up through the ranks to number 3 in the UK.
In March 2020 she was halfway through a fight camp to challenge for the world title when Covid hit and, with contact sports one of the last to get back to normal, she lost almost two years of top-level training.
Instead, Jodie decided to focus on coaching, and in January last year she moved from her previous career in freight forwarding to become a partner in Dockside Fitness.
Now she’s dedicated to helping others find their own fitness path, just like she did, through a whole range of Thai boxing and non-boxing classes.
“The women members easily outnumber men and I get quite a lot of more plus-sized girls coming to classes, they feel comfortable around me because they know I’ve been there,” says Jodie.
“There’s no ego in the classes, and lots of women say they can’t believe they’ve found something they love, that they want to jump out of bed and do, and that’s the exact feeling I had.”