1 September 2017 – Maxine Regos

After a very challenging time in my life, Donna gave me the push to get back to being me. In 6 months, I’ve gone from a size 16 to a 10 and have so much energy and passion in my life. Donna goes above and beyond being a personal trainer. She checks in to see how we are helps us set goals and holds us to it. I have maintained my weight loss and look forward to every session with vitality. I now ran and have completed 14.8 km’s now onto the next chapter in my life. No turning back now!

2 May 2017 – Emily Bennett

I joined 3 months ago, and I have never had so much fun exercising. For over 10 years I went to the gym, but like so many others, lost motivation and interest.
However, with Donna, I always look forward to my next training session. Donna is a fantastic instructor and always has new and innovative class ideas. The other members make these sessions so much fun and are they are always motivating each other.
Come and try it, and you will be hooked!

2017 – Caroline Richardson

Joining Donna has been one of my best decisions!! I just wish I had joined sooner! I had a gym membership and after 10 years of the same old routines, I was bored and not very fit. No class is ever the same, so it keeps it interesting. I love training outdoors. The members are a fun and friendly bunch. You don’t have to be fit to join. When I started 2 years ago I couldn’t run a lap of the oval. Now I can run 5km. I didn’t think that would be possible. Just goes to show, never say never! It’s incredibly satisfying to reach new goals, and it’s a great feeling being fit and healthy. Donna and Moran are fantastic trainers. They are positive, encouraging, supportive and challenging when they see you can do more than you think. I would recommend Donna to everyone.

29 March 2016 – Kristy Heyneker

I have never been a lover of exercise but after having a baby I looked up training for some ‘me time’ while settling into my new role as a mum. Donna was amazing from the get go; so welcoming and supportive and pushed me when I needed it. I love attending her training, I am feeling happier, fitter and more motivated. I just completed the 16km run for the kids, a goal even my husband didn’t think I would be able to complete. This would never have been possible (or even something I would have considered) without Donna. If you’re looking for variety in your training, a trainer dedicated to making sure you stay motivated and engaged and a fun supportive atmosphere, I can’t recommend her classes highly enough.

13 March 2016 – Rosemary Rees

I had a shattering experience when my surgeon introduced me to a lady on a walking stick to give me assurance that I would be able to walk again.
My physiotherapists were wonderful. At the end of their work I was walking and driving and then they recommended Donna. However, they were also fully aware of my disabilities and the care and attention I would need to participate in the program.
Fortunately, one of my physiotherapists knew Donna and was confident that she could devise a program to help me manage my limitations.
Six years later I run, participate in most of the program and enjoy my twice-weekly exercises and the friendships I have developed.
Thank you, Donna.

29 February 2016 – Tor Brookes

I have a very busy family life and, in the past, have found it difficult to create an exercise routine that I can stick with. Donna is that routine! I have now been a client for over 10 years and can honestly say that exercise is no longer something that I make excuses about but something that I enjoy doing. Donna and the community she has created make exercising rewarding and fun. Thanks Donna!

2016 – Stephanie Cavallo

The beautiful Donna and the amazing group members make exercise far too enjoyable! Making the spontaneous decision to join before I even had a trial session has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

2016 – Sam Jeeves

Donna’s training has been the only fitness program I have ever stuck to! I’ve been training with Donna for three years now, and she definitely makes training fun as she’s a good laugh. I love training outdoors in the fresh air and in a group setting as it is so much more motivating and fun training with others! I have struggled with back problems for many years and not only can Donna offer alternative exercises for me (and anyone else with injuries) but the stretching class has improved it a great deal. I highly recommend Donna for anyone of any age, gender or fitness level! Thank you Donna!!

9 July 2015 – Olivia Toms

I joined Donna about 12 weeks ago after having my two children, with the goal of maintaining a regular fitness routine and therefore being fitter and healthier than I have ever been. I had tried running many times in the past but had never been able to stick with it. Guided by the expertise of my trainers Donna and Moran, and with plenty of encouragement, I have observed my strength and fitness increase quite rapidly over such a short period of time. My mood has lifted, I have more energy, and I look forward to meeting up with my trainers and colleagues each week where I enjoy training, and am challenged in a fun, supportive and non-competitive environment. In addition, since joining Donna I have observed the way in which I have become a role model for my two young daughters who embrace me with hugs and kisses each day before I head out the door to training – I hope this inspires and motivates them to enjoy physical activity and the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle in their years to come. Many thanks to Donna and Moran and everyone at training for making me feel so welcome and helping me to achieve my goal!

2015 – Jeanette Anderson


It’s been cold and wintery lately, and I certainly haven’t felt like exercising more than I already do…but I set myself a challenge of increasing my sessions from three a week to four! I’ve got a chronic and congenital back problem, so I visit a physio every Tuesday for intensive pilates….and about 2 weeks ago my Physio commented on how much my core strength has improved! “What have you been doing extra..” he asked….I told him about my extra training session and he gave me a big high five…”Keep it up…you’ll be at least 50% better by Cup weekend at this rate…thanks Donna!

2015 – Cheryl Mackay

I’m in my 9th year of being a client of Donna’s. The key things that keep me coming are exercising in the fresh air, the sessions plans are never the same and the friendships that I have made. We are a very social group of likeminded people. Donna keeps me motivated and for that I’m very grateful.

2015 – Mark Rosenberg

Donna is fantastic for me, she pushes me to reach my limits, while having the support of everyone around to help. Before I started I had little urge to do my own exercise, now that I train with Donna, I find myself doing more exercise to reach my goal of losing weight and getting fit. I can’t talk highly enough about the usefulness of training with a group and an instructor who cares about each person!

2015 – Adrian Hird

I started training with Donna. I had been procrastinating on what activity I would find inspiring to do for myself. I believe I have found it. Boy what a 6-month journey it has been. I have never laughed so much while exercising due to the training group. In the first week I did a 2 km run which I struggled to do, but by persevering I can now run 8 km.

When training, the doubts go through your mind as to why you can’t go on. After training for 6 months I find myself saying that I can do it.  As a result, my weight has dropped and my resting pulse rate is 54 bpm. Gone are the doubts. I never have doubt about getting up in the morning to train as I enjoy training immensely.

We all train together in the group, but for ourselves, as we all have our own reason to train. The support from Donna and everyone that trains inspires you to go and do you best. I am stronger and fitter than I have been in 10 years.

2015 Rachel Davis

When I came to Donna, I was overweight and very unfit. I had done no meaningful regular exercise in my adult life and had sustained injuries to both ankles, which affected my balance and my ability to do anything high impact. Luckily Donna treats all challenges with her trademark infectious enthusiasm and immediately began supporting me to make major positive changes in my life.  After 20 years of avoiding exercise, I now love going to training. Donna’s outstanding support has enabled me to achieve my goals, whilst modifying programmes to accommodate my injuries. I have lost weight, gained stamina and get to hang out with some really lovely people while exercising outdoors.

 2015 – Dagmar Walkington

I love coming to train with Donna.  I have been coming now for over 10 years. Why? Because I have an awesome personal trainer who doesn’t shout at me, always very cheerful and not grumpy. I also enjoy training in the outdoors and not being stuck inside.  On top of that the people I train with are very supportive and caring with lots of great humour. My favourite session is kick boxing. After a 6am session it is a great feeling when you can say that you have done your exercise for the day.

 2015 – Kate Hagan                                                                                                     

I’ve trained with Donna for nearly 8 years. I find that booking in for regular sessions works well for me and I really like training outdoors – so much nicer than a stinky gym. It’s particularly nice in winter when you are cooped up indoors a lot and can easily go from office to car to home without getting much fresh air. It really doesn’t take long to get warmed up and into a session. Donna is a terrific trainer who is very good at correcting technique and modifying exercises to suit individual needs where necessary. One of the nicest things, and what keeps many people coming back week after week, is the friendly atmosphere that Donna creates. I very often find that a training session will lift my mood after a long day at work, or get my weekend off to a great start on a Saturday morning.

2015 – Joanne Rayner

My name is Joanne Rayner and I am a 50 something year old mother of 3 grown up children.

Nearly 11 years ago I remember reading a small advertisement in my local newspaper about “group personal training” which to my mind seemed a bit of an oxymoron but, my curiosity was peaked and so I made “the call”, which as it turns out has been one of the most important things I have done for myself in the last 11 years.  At the time of meeting Donna Douglas I had not been able to participate in any real or sustained form of exercise for about 2 years as I had been suffering from chronic sciatic pain as a result of a comprised disc in my lower back but a month prior to meeting Donna I had been injected with cortisone into my lower back to help ease my symptoms with the advice from the practitioner that I should make the best of the relief that I would receive from the treatment and strengthen my core to help support my back, so the advertisement was just what the doctor ordered.

My first class was more personal training than group personal training as with any business it started out small, but as we know from small things big things grow and pretty soon I had met many new people, many of whom I now call my friends not just my training partners.

In a previous incarnation of my life I had been a very competitive athlete in track running and netball and as I slowly gained the confidence and strength in my body again I was able to move from just walking in training to running and eventually into participating in organized events which I do with my partner.

During my time training with Donna there have been times when I could only manage to attend perhaps 1 class a week given the other demands on my time with family and work and if I had been attending a gym at this time, each time I missed I know it would have made it easier for me to justify why it was okay to step away from regular exercise but I have learned that this is where the “personal” aspect of group personal training has been most important for me.  Donna personally cares whether I turn up to a session and personally takes the time to ring me and arrange a time to make up a session and remind me that I must make myself a priority in my own life and that has been one of the reasons why I still attend.   I know that an impersonal gym would never do that.

As I grow older I have noticed changes in my body and changes to what my body will sometimes allow me to do but Donna always has an option to maximise my capabilities and I can honestly say that I still look forward to going to training and I always without fail  feel better after a session.

I am very glad that I acted when I read that little article in the newspaper because not only did I regain my health and fitness and improved self worth but I gained a friend in Donna to whom I am very grateful and I am proud to have been her very first member.

 28 April 2014 – Ron Astall

I have just clocked up five years training with Donna. Why did I start? I was overweight, lethargic and I am a type 2 Diabetic. My Diabetes medication was ramping up without any improvement in blood sugar control and my Doctor had read me the riot act. Now, I am 15 kilos lighter, my blood sugar is totally under control on a third of the medication and I feel fitter and younger than I did twenty years ago. Back then I knew I had to do something, so I bought a cross trainer machine and started to go jogging. Great intentions but despite the motivation, there always seemed to be a reason not to exercise. Meanwhile, my wife had joined Donna a few years earlier and was still going and feeling better and best of all had remained motivated. She convinced me to give it a try and along I went, feeling macho and confident but also very self-conscious, I went in a bit too hard in my first toning session and the next day could barely feed myself; such was the muscle soreness. OK, the first few weeks were tough but I soon realised that it was not a contest and I was surrounded by wonderful people who were just pleased to see me have a go at improving my life. Why does training with Donna work? For me it is because of the extremely supportive but still motivating environment that Donna has consistently maintained. We have met and made great friends, it is never boring, and I always finish with a great blast of “feel good” endorphins. Yes, it can be as tough as you want to make it, but Donna manages to cleverly tailor the sessions so that we all benefit regardless of our current fitness level.
No fitness plan will ever work if you do not attend and continue to attend. The bottom line is that the environment Donna has created keeps me motivated.

1 May 2014 – Rachel Davis

When I first checked out Donna I was initially skeptical about all these glowing reviews. I didn’t quite believe that everyone was really enjoying it that much or that a personal trainer could be that amazing. But after three months of sessions, I can tell you that Donna is a truly fantastic, supportive and inspiring trainer and – even more incredibly – I am enjoying exercising, having not done anything on a regular basis for around 20 years! As well as being very unfit, I have also got some old injuries, that have affected my day to day life. But thanks to Donna and Joel’s advice and encouragement, my mobility and stability have improved, and I am doing things that I simply was not able to do 12 weeks ago. So, believe all these great reviews, it really is THAT good!

14 May 2014  – Felicity Payne

7 months ago, I could hardly exercise for 10 minutes without feeling exhausted. On the weekend, I completed my first fun run which was 8km. This achievement is attributed to Donna & Joel. I have come to appreciate that health and fitness is paramount to leading a happy & balanced life, and Donna combines fitness with a fun & enthusiastic environment!! Donna & Joel are fantastic trainers, and the program is different for every session, keeping us interested and motivated to attend. There is nothing like training in the great outdoors, and I would highly recommend Donna to anyone and everyone!!

25 May 2014 – Chastine Galdo

Training with Donna has been one of the best things I’ve done. Over the last 7 months I have seen so much change in my fitness. Donna and Joel are great trainers and they definitely keep it challenging as no two sessions are ever the same.
With the help of Donna I’ve been able to complete Tough Mudder and my first fun run this year something I never thought I’d be able to do.
I highly recommend Donna to everyone.

15 October 2014 – Oksana Katorjeuskaya      

I still can’t believe I’ve done it. If you were to tell me even 5 months ago that I would be running 1/2 marathon I would have told you “You are crazy!”. Never say never! Just wanted to say ‘THANK YOU’ to everyone who supported me along the way and ESPECIALLY to Donna Douglas, who made me strong enough to do it!!!!!!!!! Totally overwhelmed today!!!!!

25 June 2013 – Alice Champion


I’ve been training with Donna for nearly a year now, and for 9 months of that I was pregnant! Donna was supportive and encouraging of me continuing my training right through until two days before I gave birth.

She modified my training program so that it complemented my pregnancy and I honestly believe it contributed to me having such a healthy pregnancy and birth. My baby is now 6 weeks old and my recovery has been quick and easy. If I hadn’t kept up my training I think my pregnancy experience would have been completely different – they say that giving birth is like running a marathon, and Donna definitely helped me feel fit and healthy!

Donna is the perfect trainer – she is lovely and friendly, but firm enough that you are held accountable for training to your best ability. You don’t mind getting up for a 6am class!

Another side to the training is the social side, and I just love going to class – I’ve made some great friends and have really missed them and the training in this time off. I’m really looking forward to getting back into it! Thanks Donna, you know I couldn’t have done it without you! xx

2 November 2013 – Richard Speight

I cannot recommend Donna Douglas highly enough. A year and a half ago I was not sleeping, struggling with 2 young kids, overweight unfit and unhappy. I’ve met new friends, I’ve discovered I can wake up at 5.30 and exercise 3 days a week and I can depend on a ‘friendly’ SMS if I don’t show without a good excuse. Because of the group camaraderie and the variety in the outdoor exercise, this is the only training plan that’s worked for me in 20 years. If you are thinking of coming along, do it, the groups are all shapes and sizes, male and female, good natured and welcoming. You won’t regret it – what’s the worst that can happen?

11 December 2013 – Kim Reid


I have been a member for 4 years now, 2-3 sessions a week. I still really enjoy the atmosphere and camaraderie of the team. Donna introduced me to running again and now with her help and training I have completed over 10 half marathons and last year did my first marathon!! Just when I thought I had reached my peak, this week I ran my fastest 10 km time ever and did personal bests on much of my fitness evaluations. I am a very happy member and suggest you come and give the team a try!

2 December 2012 – Michelle Heriot

I started with Donna a year and a half ago knowing that I had to seriously do something about my health and fitness but not confident with knowing what to do. I spoke with Donna about my health condition (having been diagnosed with a pain condition), feeling very hesitant about returning to exercise after 8 years. Donna was very assuring and encouraged me to give it a go. She has been incredibly patient and accommodating as I’ve worked out what exercises I could manage and as time has gone on, with Donna overseeing my progress, I’ve managed to reduce my pain levels almost completely, I’m now 90% stronger and more flexible and quite a few kilos lighter than I was when I started. I feel fantastic after each session! Training outdoors is the most healthy and invigorating place to exercise! I could never go back to a gym even when I think of the hot summer and cold winter temperatures – there’s something magical about doing it outdoors! Thanks Donna for getting me back on track to a healthier, fitter and lighter me :-)!!!

14 December 2012 – Graham Cooley

I was seeking some exercise because of a bad doctor’s report and was recommended to Donna, I was most impressed with her Amazing caring supervision during my training, Donna truly is skilled in personal training, her charges are reasonable, and the bonus is we do it outdoors.

14 December 2012 – Chris Link

Joined six years ago to trim down the waist line.. at the first lesson i struggled to run 800 meters. In 2012 I ran 3 marathons and many other “fun” run. Donna has enabled me to live a much happier and fuller life than before. Thank you                                              

14 December 2012 – Joanne Rayner

I am an 8 year veteran of training with Donna.. I know I would never have stuck at going to a gym for this length of time.. and a gym would never ring and ask why you’re not utilizing your membership but Donna my trainer does, making sure I always book a makeup lesson.. Donna motivates me to put me first..

17 July 2012 – Naomi Thomson

I was hesitant at first about training with Donna, but after a couple of trial sessions decided to give it a go. My trainer Donna is one of the very best I’ve ever had, enough encouragement to push me along, but without being overbearing. One thing that did surprise me that after nearly after a year of attending, each class tends to be different so there is no chance of being bored and I now look forward to going and actually miss it when I’m not able to attend. Donna is friendly, considerate, accommodating, supportive and helps me a lot with my motivation. More importantly, whilst I’m benefiting from the health benefits, the sessions are fun and I’ve met lots of lovely people through the group, there is a real sense of community. It’s one of the best value classes around, affordable, fun, challenging and rewarding. Doing it outdoors certainly works for me!

 18 March 2012 – Vicki Todd-Urbinder

It’s not just about the exercise I get from Donna, it’s the community, the fun, the variety, and most importantly the respect from my trainer Donna. Donna has the fantastic ability to always make me feel special, welcome and important at the same time creating such a warm team atmosphere. Not only have I lost weight, increased my vitamin D levels, gained real fitness that the “gym” wasn’t giving me, but I have found a friend, a community of friends and its now been 1.5 years of training and I have no intention of ever stopping -unlike the gym where I would stop, start, stop, start and no-one would even notice (but me of course!).  It’s so refreshing to have found somewhere that is actually enjoyable and worthwhile to train! Thanks Donna!

17 March 2012 – Jeanette Anderson

Almost three years ago I joined to get fit and make new friends in the area (I had recently moved)…I’ve certainly improved my fitness and now got a great circle of friends, but I had not counted on the unexpected result on my health. I’ve got a heart condition that involves medication; I was due for my check up (and in fact hadn’t been for 8 years…it was due 3 years ago!). I visited my cardiologist and was astounded with the prognosis! his comment to me was “you’ve got the heart of a 45-year-old and in fact you are in better nick’ than when you were 43!” This was an awesome remark – I’ve just celebrated my 55th birthday. So, I reckon the $42 a week (plus two or three coffees I have with my new friends)..is worth every cent.

2012 – Cheryl Mackay      

5 years on and Donna is a wonderful motivator. She has created the total package. Combining exercise, a real community feel, a wonderful support group and lasting friendships. Donna’s encouragement and understanding of her clients is outstanding no matter what fitness level you are.

2012 – Sherine Burl

My name is Sherine Burl and I have JUST made the 40 year old Club!  I am married to Damien and we have two active boys aged 12 & 13.  We lead a very busy family life running from here to there with the boys’ sports, I work full time at St Bedes College in the canteen.  I realised 12 months ago that I was running around looking out for everyone else and that I came last in the family needs.  I had a hysterectomy in August 2010, so January 2011 was going to be the beginning for a healthy & fit life for me.  I won a Silent Auction organised by Truly Scrumptious for the QLD Floods for one month trial with Donna – and my life has taken a complete turnaround.

When I started with Donna it was only 4 months post my operation, so I was overweight, very weak and unfit.  I struggled to run to the roundabout – and when Donna asked us to run to Friendship Square, well that was just a dirty word!! Over time my fitness increased, and I felt better every week.  Donna is always very encouraging and extremely supportive to me and everyone as we all complete our training sessions.  One of the main things I enjoy  (instead of the common gym) is how friendly everyone is to workout with, and of course having Donna as our trainer.  Many of you know I love a “Chat” and to do this at our session with a laugh makes the workout so much more enjoyable.  I am enjoying catching up with new friends for a latte and chat after our Saturday session with Joel, where the laughter continues.

Personally, I had a tough midyear last year and the one thing that got me through was the constant support of Donna.  Not only would Donna make everything seem OK whilst I was training, I would also get the odd text or phone call from Donna in her private non-training time – just to check on how I was going.  I don’t know of any other Personal Trainer who would ever do that, so THANK YOU Donna.  Another reason I enjoy training is that we are all very lucky that Donna trains us all as individuals – depending on our ability or injury.  Donna can always find an exercise to get you moving even when we have body parts that can’t or don’t want to move.  My biggest achievement was running 7km the week I turned 40 last December!!  From not being able to run a few hundred meters to running 7km’s in 37 minutes blew me away!  I even started to run on my own over the Christmas period whilst on holidays to maintain my fitness.  My goal is to run 10km in any possible time, just to be able to run 10km once in my life would be a huge achievement for me.

Donna also takes a very keen interested not only in our fitness but with our health as well.  I signed up for the MJ Metabolic Jumpstart program last November which I found very easy to follow with the added bonus of losing weight.  I try to maintain this program daily; however, I’m not sure I pass 100% every week!! I do like the social life with the occasional wine and nibbles on weekends; however, the nibbles are now healthy choices!

My favourite session is kickboxing so I love the start of each month and of course Tuesday nights getting out the boxing gloves.  I attend 3  sessions each week and if I can squeeze in a 4th session I will.  I have found that adding in that extra session each week really helped my fitness develop to the next level.  I have enjoyed the past 2 weekends completing Boot Camp with Joel – however lots of chatting and laughing equals lots of pushups!!

Looking forward to sharing more sweat and laughs with you all as we each attend a training session with Donna.  Keep laughing xox

2011 Elisha Grey

After travelling overseas and arriving back in March 2010 I had gained a little weight and had lost my level of fitness. I was due to be married in November and was not at all happy with my body.  I received a leaflet in my letterbox and called Donna straight away to find out what the program entailed. I knew that I needed something to which I was accountable to turn up to as during the winter months it is easy to make an excuse.  I also had tried gyms and found that I wasn’t really getting very far with the workouts I was doing. So I signed up. I am so glad that I started the program months before the wedding as by the time the wedding came about, I really saw a difference in my body and lots of people commented about the change they saw, both at my hens party and at the wedding.  Donna really helped me my making sure my body got a good balanced workout through cardio and toning sessions. I now can see why the gym didn’t produce the same results. It was amazing how much you can change over the course of months, even when initially you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere though you are working hard, it suddenly starts to make a difference.  I felt amazing on my wedding day which meant the world to me as I couldn’t imagine anything worse than to feel uncomfortable on such an important day in my life.  I would like to thank Donna for your help and hard work so that I could reach my goal and enjoy my wedding day.

28 July 2011  – Viv Pye   

Donna is genuinely interested in every client. Tailors programs according to fitness and injury status. Exercise is fun and varied. She explains why we do certain exercises and what muscles they are targeting.

27 July 2011 – Sara Kervin

I am not a gym person, but I value my health and with Donna I get to enjoy being outdoors and keep fit. Also, I have the added value of a personal trainer who teaches, motivates and keeps track of my progress. I have met lots of new people, made friends and recently ticked off from my “goals list” running 10km in Run Melbourne. All with the help from Donna! I get so much personal satisfaction from staying healthy and enjoying exercise!

26 July 2011 – Mary Green

I have been training with Donna for three years and just love it . I would never go back to a Gym and love being outdoors. Lots of support from Donna our trainer and great people in the group. No need to feel bad about being unfit or a large size we all just work together to get fitter. Thanks Donna !

25 July 2011 – Zelda Chun

My “Donna” experience has been fantastic ever since I joined. I could choose the days that suited me, my routine & schedule. No two classes have been the same. My trainer doesn’t only know what she loves (ie. Exercise and fitness) but she knows us as individuals. Donna even knows your strengths and weaknesses.

25 July 2011 – Sarah Ryan

Beats the gym hands down! It feels so much better to exercise outdoors with an exceptional personal trainer and a group of members who are all interested in maintaining their health and fitness. Never a dull moment as no two sessions are the same. What are you waiting for? Guaranteed to be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made!

23 July 2011 – Richard Thomas

I’ve been a member for over 5 years now – try telling me a gym where I’ve been for anything like that long! Donna has helped me attain a level of fitness and muscle strength that I wouldn’t have thought possible when I started, I’m sure she could do the same for you.

16 April 2011 – Jessica Payne

Yesterday I had a call from the gym – hi we can offer you the same the rates if you join back. I said – no thanks and to her surprise I then answered ” I have started training with Donna Douglas and am loving group personal training! This has been a great change for me after being a gym member for 6 years. I needed a change and 18 months on I can say that I still thoroughly enjoy it – exercising with wonderful and friendly people. I have enjoyed being challenged and seeing great results. Although not needing to lose weight I have noticed increased strength, improved coordination and I feel firmer and more toned. The variety keeps it interesting and it’s easy to get motivated and continue exercising with a great trainer like Donna. The group consists of broad abilities and ages and Donna ensures each member works hard during the session and to the best of their ability. I would highly recommend you be a part of this great group!

24 March 2011 – Helen Phipps 

 I started training with Donna just over twelve months ago. I needed to lose weight and improve my general fitness. I was looking for a fitness program I would be able to continue and not get bored with…I certainly found it. Donna is a very experienced and capable trainer and now after losing the weight and feeling so much better about myself, I wouldn’t miss a training session. I do 3 sessions a week and for the first time in my life really enjoy every minute of it. The sessions are varied, you never know what you will be doing from week to week. No getting bored !! and what a great group of people I have met. All I can say is “Come and join us..you will love it ”

19 March 2011 Lynn Martindale

I can say for sure that participating in the toning sessions run by Donna is helping me to self-manage long-standing injuries. I needed to develop and maintain core strength for my back and the sessions have enabled me to do just that!! Donna has respected my personal understanding of my limitations but challenges me to be confident when she understands what I can do. I feel really great after each session and my back is now feeling extremely stable. Lynn

14 February 2011 Elizabeth Webb

Donna not only knows her stuff but makes it fun and rewarding. I’ve never been able to stick to a gym membership – I pay for three months and go about 5 times – but Donna’s been training me for two years now! I’m fitter, thinner and happier.

14 February 2011 Julie Watterston

Donna has been a life saver for me…not only physically but mentally. The support of not only Donna but other members keep me going every week and keep me challenged. Donna provides variety (the spice of life) and is never boring or mundane. Donna should be commended for her effort in inspiring us all.

2011 – Belinda Lewell       

I first contacted Donna 18 months ago, shortly after the birth of my third child in two years.  I had been through a high-risk multiple pregnancy (involving a period of bed rest) and 18 months of fertility medication and operations in the years prior to that. I was clinically obese, completely sedentary and was suffering badly with post-natal depression. Donna listened to my story with great warmth, positivity and understanding. We talked about my challenges and how we could overcome them. We met a few days later and Donna was just as warm in person. The session that day involved a 2 kilometre run. I ran some of it and walked the rest. It was a real struggle, but I had fun. I told Donna that day that I wanted to be a runner and that my ultimate goal for over a decade was to run a full marathon. Donna saw through my layers of fat and neglect to the person that I was inside and to the person that I wanted to be. She believed in me and gave me the encouragement to reach my goals one step at a time.

I remember feeling uncomfortable during my first fitness session with Donna as I didn’t have proper exercise clothes. When Donna found out that I had a wardrobe of old size 10 gym wear from the years before the children, she told me not to buy anything new- that she would get me back into my old clothes. She gave me sound up-to-date nutrition advice and the excess weight (25 kilos) just melted off. I was back to a normal healthy weight six months after training started. My post-natal depression had resolved on its own. I was fitting into clothes from regular stores and was feeling absolutely fantastic.

I finished a 3.5 kilometre run shortly after training started in February. I was so proud of myself for running the whole way but it was obviously a shock to my body as I vomited for 4 hours straight afterwards. Donna kept encouraging me and educating me and by October she had trained me for the Melbourne Marathon 10 kilometre event. I finished it in just under an hour.

Donna has in-depth knowledge of the human anatomy, injury prevention and the treatment of sports injuries. When I was training for the 10 kilometre event, I developed a mild shin splint which Donna correctly diagnosed as being caused by tight calves. This was confirmed by a physiotherapist and resolved completely and quickly after stretching and massage. Without Donna’s advice and monitoring, it is likely that I would have tried to “run through it” possibly causing myself a permanent injury.

Last December Donna encouraged to make and share our fitness goals for 2011. I made the goal to complete the Run Melbourne half marathon (21.1 kilometres). I crossed that finish line last weekend in 2 hours and 19 minutes feeling strong, comfortable and absolutely ecstatic.

My ultimate goal is now within my reach and I am currently training for the full Melbourne Marathon in 12 weeks’ time. Donna will be meeting me at the 30 kilometre mark to help me through the last 12.2 kilometers.

I strongly believe I could not have reached my current level of fitness without the help and guidance of Donna. I would have given up out of boredom or out of injury. Donna’s sessions are always different which makes them fun and challenging.

My energy levels have greatly increased since I started training with Donna. It is now much easier to keep up with the kids, the housework and the demands of a busy dental practice. My kids are growing up seeing that exercise is fun. My three-year-old daughter loves doing the occasional run with me and completed the Mother’s Day Classic 4 kilometre walk along with her twin brother. My husband also started training with Donna and he is now strong, healthy, fit and energetic too.

I believe that Donna is the best trainer in Australia due to her experience, positivity, leadership and knowledge of all aspects of the health and fitness industry. She is both motivated and motivating, caring, compassionate, energetic, dependable, trustworthy and totally committed to the health and well-being of each and every one of her clients. She has made a massive difference in my life and to that of my family and for that I am extremely grateful.

 2011 – Jeanette Anderson

Two years ago, I met Donna Douglas at a local networking event.  I own a company educating people in health and wellness and we were a perfect match. Proactively looking for positive contributing speakers to her event, she asked me to be a guest speaker at her “Winter Warmer” event. I was told to expect 74 people at the event. I walked in the room anticipating the usual 50% ‘no show’ rate to find 74 people laughing and enjoying each other’s company, on a cold, wet wintry Melbourne night.

That was my introduction to Donna!.

I had moved into the area after living in Glen Iris for 26 years. Whilst Cheltenham was only 13 km down Warrigal Road, it was far enough away that I had lost my ‘friendship group’ that would drop in for coffee. I thought I’d give it a shot…Donna offered me a free intro class, and I thought, ‘sure…..I’m relatively fit, I can handle this!’

How little did I know – my experience at gyms and fitness activities, was fleeting to say the least, (I never stayed more than 2 or three months); but now it was real…my naivety was staring me in the face, from the scales! Suddenly at 52 years of age I looked at my once slight body and realized that I was 14 kgs overweight, menopausal and had a resting heart rate of 98, not to mention borderline hypertension. I was a chronic wreck, with a congenital back condition, patella femoral syndrome, how could I even contemplate keeping up with walkers, let alone the ‘joggers’ in the group!

Lucky for me, Donna stepped in. With step by step coaching she encouraged and slowly built a program around my back, knee and shoulder issues. With her guidance and ‘tough love’ over the course of the next 2 years I have lost 14 kilos and despite two hospital stays for ‘back and bed rest’ – my last stay two weeks ago was astounding with them remarking, ‘you’re really fit – heart rate 67, blood pressure 105 over 60., I’m running about 5 kms. I’m not the fastest in the group but can keep up with people and my confidence in my ability to achieve my fitness goal has impacted on every part of my life. When I reached the 1000 Club the 20 or so people at our class cheered and clapped, they were genuinely thrilled by my excitement. I felt special and valued.

That’s just the physical part. What I didn’t expect was the support I received from the community Donna has created. Weekly coffee groups, sensational special events, camaraderie and friendships – I feel like I’ve known these women for years. Already we’ve shared births, deaths, sickness, football finals and family traumas, and we are all there for each other. Donna has personally instilled this genuine, caring desire to build a strong and unique community; looking out for each other in our modern, shallow and all too busy worlds.

As a business woman, I watch with interest Donna’s journey, I often wish she worked for me, however, come to think of it, she actually does!

2011 – Nicole Schubert   

Hi Donna,
Namaste from Khumjung, Nepal 3790 meters above sea level. So far the trek is going strong, no earthquake, hairy landings into Lukla or 100 meter long and high suspension bridges can hinder my spirits. I feel the best I have felt in such a long time both emotionally and physically. This brings me to the purpose of this little note.

First a big fat (no pun intended) congratulations on your 7 year anniversary. I feel so privileged to have been a part of your community for the last 4 and half years. I have by no means been a model client and I can only imagine the similar challenges you face with other clients. It takes an extremely tenacious person to have the patience to deal with these issues and maintain motivation not only as a trainer, but to motivate all of your clients. For this I, like many others, are utterly grateful to you for sharing your knowledge and skills and most importantly your encouragement. You are not just a personal trainer, but a lifestyle coach as well, encouraging us not to only exercise but to maintain healthy eating habits. I credit you for helping me improve my life.

Over the last 5 months I have been working with you an average 5 days a week in which you have supported me to achieve 3 goals; Run Melbourne, City 2 Surf, and this little expedition in Nepal, a 21 day trek to Island Peak 6189 MASL via Everest Base camp. During this time we faced an unexpected challenge, we lost one of our own to Mental Illness, so to honour Paul we participated in the (arduous) De Castella run in aid of Mental Health.

Having experienced the sensation of being at a high altitude and the strength required to complete the Oxfam Trailwalker, I am all too aware  of the significance of Cardio fitness and strength. So I knew what I had to do to prepare for this. I absolutely would not be here today if it were not for the support and encouragement from my training family. I by no means feel I am an inspirational member or any kind of hero, it is everyone along the journey who are my heroes, motivators and encouragers. I feel acknowledgement for my efforts does not deserve the recognition it has received. Humbled as I am though. This has been a personal journey for me and has required a lot of focus and of course hard work.

I must say when the time came for me to leave, I felt that old friendships were stronger, and new friendships established, but “Donna’s Family” are still the same; strong, welcoming and sometimes embarrassing!

2011 Vicki Todd-Urbinder

Several years ago, as I drove down Argus St. Cheltenham, I noticed a group of people who looked to be doing some kind of outdoor training in the park. Ha, I thought to myself, they won’t last. Several years later they were still there. In September 2010 I saw a photo of myself and I was absolutely aghast. I’d put on 5 kilos in winter alone, and it showed. I had been at the gym for several years, you know the gym you go to that you’re not really going to and you still pay to go to. So, I decided to call this group of people and find out what exactly they were doing. The minute I called Donna she made me feel welcome. Her open nature meant I could be honest about how embarrassed I was that I’d put on weight and how scared I was that I would not be able to cope with real exercise. I was invited to do a couple of trial sessions where the “people” made me feel absolutely at ease and incredibly welcome, and that’s because they were following Donna’s lead. In my first few sessions I couldn’t believe how unfit I had become “going to the gym”. At times I was emotional with the disappointment of how far I’d let myself go. I can honestly say that it was Donna who helped me get through the first couple of tough months of regaining fitness. Donna listened to me whinge, she always encouraged and supported me and never ever let me down at training with her incredible honesty, integrity and fantastic humour.

I have now lost more weight than I put on, I actually look forward to training and miss it if I don’t go. The effort Donna puts in to provide a never-ending variety of training sessions is amazing and is evidence of her dynamic personality. I can’t believe how far I’ve come – I can chase my kids at the park instead of sitting on the bench and saying “no, I’m too tired” and I can even outlast them roller blading! I have to take this opportunity to thank Donna, she has become more than a personal trainer, she is a friend and a valuable one at that.

2009 Chris Link                                                                                       

My first class was a 6 am 4 km run. I got to Herald and Bernard St corner. And stopped. Michael stopped and encouraged me. I have not forgotten that day and its lesson.  Always encourage the new kids and don’t stop trying. If you stop you lose to yourself.

The points are great to accumulate but the reality is that I feel so much better about me and where my life is going. I have lost some weight, gained fitness, met new friend and this has helped me to cope with a difficult stressful time in my life. Its great to get up and go to the 6am sessions, everyone is focused.

I prefer to arrive early and have a solo walk to clear the mind and start the new day. Its great to be alive and everyday I chose to be happy over being sad.

You don’t get to 6am sessions without help from others at home and your trainer. Thanks.

So far, I have managed a few fun runs and a half marathon. I have already entered to run the Melbourne half marathon again in Oct this year. Must keep the focus on the next challenge

I have been moved by people’s thoughts on their achievement of 1500 points.

My story is thus. I was born a rather sickly child and needed treatment for the first two years of my life. We had no motorcar, so my mother took me, five days a week, by bus/train/tram to the Royal Children’s Hospital. Fortunately, I was one of the RCH success stories. Hence you occasionally hear the Huffing and Puffing as the old man waddles up the hills during 6 am sessions.

As a teenager I played the Football/Cricket thing and then no physical activity for the next 35 years. During a particularly stressful time in my life I allowed the fatty foods and alcohol to swamp me. Some time earlier a special friend had joined Donna as the number one member. I set myself a goal to get out of my rut, go to training and surprise her. My first session was a 2 Km run @ 7:51 Km pace with Michael encouraging me.

Now Donna has abled me to thank the RCH in a more positive way through the “Run 4 the Kids”. Three runs have each achieved a small PB for me.

At age 57 I challenged myself and entered the Melbourne 21km half Marathon, waddling to the finish line at the G. I have already entered for the 2009 run.

Donna has helped change my life. I feel positive about myself, my health and the stress of living. Donna has guided and supported me as has my life-partner, friend and lover, Joanne. Thank you.

2009 Claire Steele

I have faced many battles through my life, but none as big as the one I face at the moment.  Here is the quick version as I don’t want to bore you all!

At the age of 2 I was given up for adoption along with my brother and sister.  I remained in a children’s home up until the age of 10, that was when my brother and faced our next challenge of being bought up by very strict and unrealistic foster parents.  I remained with them up until I was 15 then realized I couldn’t handle it anymore and left.  With that I found myself a full-time job and rented a house by myself, and learning things the hard way, I continued to learn by mistakes until I was 18, when I met my husband of 20yrs.  I continued to thrive and learn and bring 3 lovely children into the world, who are now 15, 13, and 9.

5 years ago, was when we as a family moved to Australia from the UK leaving what family I had and my husband’s family, it was a tough decision to make but well worth seeing the kids thrive in Australia.  We remained a happy family until Nov 2007 when my world fell apart because my husband had been having an affair with my best friend.  So here I am now, with yet another battle to fight, which is to be accepted by Australia and the immigration department.  So here I am still waiting for their decision and waiting to make a new life for me and the kids!!!!!!

But through all this there is Donna, which is my rock for now because without it I am sure I would have had a melt down by now.  I come to class stressed and haggard, but leave revitalized and ready to face the next day.  I have done many fitness classes in the past to help shed the 3 dress sizes I have lost but have never felt I have reached my full potential.  It’s so great to exercise outside and to feel part of a team at Cheltenham.  I continue to try and stay focused but occasionally need a good kick up the backside!  So feel free to do so!

2009 Jodie Marsh

My experience with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Endometriosis and how Donna Douglas helped me with along the way.

From the age of 21, after coming off three years of a pill, I started having immense problems with my periods.  The pain I experienced left me hospitalised several times and the severe bleeding left my body exhausted and unwell.  After going to gynaecologists and specialists one after another all who told me it was simply from coming off the pill, I finally found one who seemed keen to listen rather than insist I had some inability to handle pain.  After internal and external ultrasounds and blood tests which failed to show anything, and normal pap smears, I was admitted under his care to have surgery.  Surgery found that I had an endometrium on the outside of the uterus rather than the inside.  I had endometriosis.  From age 21 until 28 I continued to go in every 1 1/2- 2 years to have surgery to clear the endometrium, so I could live a normal life.  I was highly aware though that this condition left me with a 30% fertility rate.

At age 28 my body appeared to do a complete back flip and my bleeding ceased completely, apart from small amounts at very irregular times.  After more tests it appeared I now had a large amount of small cysts all over my ovaries.  My options were limited depending on what I wanted in my life at this stage.  No longer was surgery required and the cysts could continue to sit there without too much damage to my body.  Should I request to have them removed however, they would grow back.  My fertility rate had now dropped to 5%.  As I had recently married my husband and I decided that contraception wasn’t needed seeing my fertility rate was so low and that we would handle the symptoms as they came.  I was given medication to help with nauseas and pain if and when I had a bleed but these made me feel sicker so I stopped taking them.  At 29 my husband and I visited my gynaecologist for a check up together and he discussed options for when we decided we would be ready to have children.  There were several techniques I could look at, including: Metformin, Ovulation Induction using Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate), Ovarian Drilling, and IVF.  The whole idea of any, were too much to contemplate at that stage.  Several issues have been linked to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome such as excessive weight and unhealthy lifestyles.  I went away from this appointment feeling down but positive that when the time came he would be able to help us.  Although it did put a dampener of what a long, tiring and uncomfortable road lay ahead of us achieving our dream of having a family.

I then decided, after a year of watching Donna work up a lather at the park while I walked my dogs each night, that it was time I stopped making excuses and did something about my weight and my fitness.  I have always been a healthy eater and blessed with not liking foods such as chocolate, cream or sweet things!  But my weight has always been the heavier size of healthy.  I joined Donna and the 6am group in October 2008.  I was nervous but looking forward to a lifestyle change and immediately felt welcomed, encouraged and part of a team.  In the following months I became a different fitter more positive person and shed a total of 9 kilograms, enjoying shopping for size 12 again and feeling great about myself.  In late February I became unwell.  I started experiencing terrible headaches, nauseas and just a general feeling of unwell.  I thought I must have been coming down with a virus.  As I work in aged care several case workers and nurses I speak with regularly told me about a virus that had been going around with similar symptoms.  I rested up and the headaches slowly got better but I was feeling exhausted and nauseas still all of the time.  When I realised my period, which was never on time anyway, was late, I tried not to think too much of it, knowing my chances were so low.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up.  But with my husband by my side we took a pregnancy test to see two lines – pregnant!  Then a scan showed the little “it” happily in there doing all the right things it should be doing at 6 weeks!  Another 6 weeks later Donna, my trainer, and I finally were able to share the news with my group which was wonderful.  The Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association of Australia recommends a few things to help with the symptoms, not the cure, of this illness, the two main things being diet and exercise.  I will never know for sure if training is the reason that our little miracle has come along, but I know for sure that it has definitely helped.  To suddenly find ourselves expecting without the long tiring road of IVF ahead is too overwhelming or amazing that I could possibly put into words, and has reduced me to tears several times.  I could not thank Donna and my team enough for getting me to where I am now with my fitness and weight, and also bringing a little miracle on the way!

2009 Judy Astall                                          

About 4 years ago on my way home from work, I noticed a group of people in the local park participating in various forms of exercise that they all seemed to be genuinely enjoying.  After a few months of observing all of this, I approached the lady who seemed to be running these classes (I now know her as Donna) and the rest is history.

At that stage I was very overweight, suffered from high blood pressure (plus a few other mild ailments) and had a great deal of trouble with shin splints.  I was definitely more of the “couch potato” type and exercise was something other people did.  Joining a Gym wasn’t for me as I knew I probably would only give up and loose my money so after reading up a little more about Donna and with the encouragement of my husband, I joined Donna’s group (I couldn’t even run to the letterbox let alone around the oval).

My original goals were to lose weight and get a bit fitter, but this proved to be not quite as easy as I had thought (call me naive!).  I tend to get very disheartened easily and give up on things when it doesn’t work or takes longer than I thought it would, but with the help of Donna I persevered.  I was suffering very badly with shin splints and felt that I wasn’t coping doing cardio sessions which involved a lot running (which of course they do).  My motivation was rapidly disappearing and I’m quite sure Donna could see this but to her credit she never let me give up.  One session during March last year, at our regular warm up, Donna asked us what our goals were for the next six months or so.  I announced that mine was to lose 15 kilo’s so that I could buy a dress to wear to my nephews wedding in the following November.  I had not had a dress for many years.  Having said this I was determined to stick to it even though I felt a little daunted by my seemingly rash statement.

I will tell you now – IT NEARLY KILLED ME!!!  However, one day I realised that I had lost about 4 kilos; this was fantastic so that made it a little easier to continue.  Then I suddenly realised that I could run a little bit further without nearly having a coronary at the end; this was also good news.  I kept all of this quiet for a while because I felt that if I fell off the wagon with all of this, nobody would be any the wiser.  Then Donna noticed, and I confessed.  By this stage I had lost about 6 kilos and felt fitter than I had for many years.  Soon I found that I had more stamina, wasn’t nearly as tired and actually felt good about myself for a change.

My next visit to my doctor was fabulous.  My blood pressure was down enough to warrant trying me off my medication.  A month later it was still down and so was my weight and my cholesterol.  That was 8 months ago and I honestly feel that I haven’t looked back.  This was all wonderful but to me the best thing was a run I did one night at SiL (only 1.2 km I know, but ….) I did it in 8.2min AND was first back – that had never happened before.  All in all, I have lost about 15 kilos, give or take a couple and my shin splints are only a twinge these days plus my blood pressure is still down.

I have a few people to thank for all of this.  Firstly, Donna who encouraged me and gave me the confidence to go further.  The pleased look on her face when I actually completed something a little better than the last time always meant a lot.  My husband Ron, who always threatened to divorce me if I gave up training and to all my fellow training friends who have always been very encouraging, not just to me but to everyone within the group.  If there is no encouragement, then there is no incentive to keep going.  Thank you to everyone!!

By the way, I got my dress!

2009 Sandra Butler

 Who would have thought that going to your mailbox was going to be a new beginning in your life but that’s what happened to me. I was apprehensive at first because I had just finished an 18 month gym membership, but I have learnt more in just three months than i did for the whole time I was at the gym. Even though I don’t look like an athlete that’s how I feel when I wear my training club top. So now I have to put in the hard training so when I look in the mirror I see the person I want to be and the person I deserve to be, I know I will get there because of the great support around me at training not to mention our great trainer Donna who brings such variety to every training session. So thank you to everyone for welcoming into the group I look forward to the years ahead.