Name: Naomi O’Keeffe
City: Brisbane, QLD
Occupation: Personal Trainer
Photo credit: Darren Burns Photography
Before Naomi started training, she was on the brink, describing herself as “reclusive” and “very depressed”; her life was governed by the dislike she had toward herself.
“I hated my life and had no affection toward my family,” she says. “I was so depressed that I contemplated ending my life, which sounds dire, but I literally hated myself that much and I didn’t want to live in my own skin.”
After living like this for some time, Naomi started counselling. Not wanting to take medication to help her recover, she began training.
“I am so grateful to my trainer for pushing me to become the strong, motivated, and loving person I am today,” she says. “Initially, I thought I was going to die, but I stuck it out and here I am today.
“It has been a very hard five years fighting my inner demons and the absolute hatred I had for myself. It broke my heart to see my family trying to help me, but I just wasn’t ready.”
These days, Naomi is a totally different person to the one she describes who was filled with self-loathing.
“I cannot express how fantastic I feel now,” she says. “I love my life and I love waking up.
“Every day is not a chore. I love to try and inspire people, as I am no longer that unhappy, unmotivated person.
“Training has literally saved my life. I never want to return to that time in my life. If I can just help one person going through a tough time, that would be amazing.”
And helping people she is! After using training as an impetus to emerge from her own dark place, Naomi decided to study fitness, and these days she spends her time prescribing people with a healthy dose of exercise.
“I wanted people who were in that dark place I was in to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and medication is not the real answer,” she says.
“Everyone is on a different journey and has different goals, but I believe everyone has a right to live a life where they are the happiest and healthiest versions of themselves.”
With a desire to train people from all walks of life, Naomi says she has clients with spinal disabilities, missing limbs, hearing impairment, and young teenagers with limited vision.
“I love that they have the chance to train and improve their quality of life, and I love the challenge of helping them achieve their goals,” she says.
On a personal level, Naomi has changed the way she feels about herself, and this has had a tremendous impact on her life.
“The most rewarding thing for me has been learning to love myself,” she says. “In turn, I can really express the love I have for the ones closest to me: my husband and my kids.”
Her attitude has had a total readjustment too and she never finds herself using excuses anymore.
“I have become such a determined and unbeatable person,” she says. “Even though my life is super-busy, I never make an excuse that I’m too busy or too tired.”
Not only does Naomi have a new career and new outlook on life, but she found that with the changes she was making, some of her friends began to change too.
“Over the past few years as my body has changed and I have become more confident, I found I lost friends, which was devastating, but I have made new friends who love the new me and everything I believe in,” she says.
With a team of loving and supportive people around her, Naomi is not only helping others to achieve their goals, but she is achieving her own too.
In 2015, she competed in two fitness competitions. Her first, in September, was a feat in itself when only 15 months earlier she was undergoing rehab for an ACL knee reconstruction. Her second was the Brisvegas INBA in October, where she brought home a third place in Bikini and a fourth place in Fitness.
“I laughed competing off when my trainer first mentioned it to me, but he persevered, and the idea grew on me,” she says. “I thought, ‘you know what, I want to celebrate the new me’. I was so thrilled with the results.”
Naomi is often told that she has inspired others to start their fitness journey, and with all she has overcome, her dedication, and love of life, we’re sure she will inspire many more.
“If you have a goal or dream, strive for it no matter how crazy people think it is,” she says. “To feel great and truly love the skin you’re in is fantastic.”