The below review has been provided to us by Sarah, who first contacted us in 2020 with the main aim of losing weight. This is not easy as a wheelchair user because it can be very difficult to achieve the level of cardio exercise needed to burn enough calories.

Our Invictus Active Trainer was the ideal piece of equipment for Sarah and in April 2020 she decided to go ahead with a free trial, this trial let her set the trainer up in her own home and try it properly for a full 14 days without committing to purchasing it. It soon become clear this was going to help and Sarah kept the trainer after the free trial an started her journey to weight loss.

To track her workouts accurately Sarah upgraded to the smart model which connects to our app and also purchased our wheelchair scales, so she had the complete package needed to fully track her progress.

You can read Sarah’s full story below in her own words and we hope you find it as inspirational as we do. Well done Sarah!…

7th July 2021 – by Sarah Collins:

My story begins in 1998, when I found myself paralysed from the waist down, following an unknown and undiagnosed illness.  From then on, I gained weight – my appetite remained as good as it had always been, but I was not burning up the same amount of calories.

Jump forward 20 years – my husband and I lived had lived in London for almost 30 years; my parents (having emigrated from Malawi), lived upstairs, next door to us.  My Dad had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and vascular dementia.  He was struggling with the stairs and my Mum was not coping with caring for him on her own. So we made the decision to move into an accessible home together and ended up in Littlehampton, West Sussex.  My Dad deteriorated far more quickly than we thought, so my husband and I ended up being full time carers for him as well as caring for my Mum.  Having worked full time (office based) up till then, it was quite a life-style change, and I found myself snacking too frequently, often on the wrong sorts of food; I am type one Diabetic.  We did join the gym, and for a few months, I was doing ok.  Then along came winter – less appealing to go out in the cold to the gym and my weight went up again. 

Wheelchair user weight loss Sarah June 2020
Weight loss Sarah 1 year on 2021

The final straw was lockdown in March 2020.  Although I had been keeping half an eye on my diet, suddenly it all seemed too much; here I was, stuck at home, the future unknown and pretty bleak, and so I turned to food.  Looking back now, I can see it was comfort eating – and I did that for a couple of months. 

I remember the day that I knew something had to change.  I felt low, uncomfortable, fed up and knew that my current lifestyle was doing me no good in the long term and affecting my Diabetic control.  I had seen (somewhere on line) the Invictus Active rollers, and did a bit of research.  I talked it over with my husband; it was not a decision to be taken lightly as they were not a cheap piece of equipment.  But after positive reviews, and knowing I had to do something, I decided to invest in them.  I had been unable to weigh myself for a while, so had no idea what my weight actually was.  Nowhere locally (going as far as Worthing hospital) had wheelchair accessible scales.  The surgery didn’t, the gym, (which claimed to be wheelchair friendly) had at least two regular sets of scales, but nothing for wheelchair users.  So I invested in scales from Invictus as well.  Great big platform scales, that weigh a lot and take up room, but I saw as vital.  On the 15th June, 2020, I weighed myself.  I tipped the scales at 16 stone, 6 lbs.  I was horrified – that was the biggest I’d ever been. 

That was the day I changed my diet (more or less cutting out carbohydrates after breakfast), having an awareness of my calorie intake, and started using my rollers.  I set myself a two-year target to lose 7 stone.  That would get me back to the weight I was when I first met my husband, before I was in a wheelchair.

I weigh myself once a month – on the 15th of each month.  On the 15th June 2021, 12 months in, I weighed 13 stone.  

I exercise at least four times a week; my usual distance is 5 kms each time, but that varies from 3 kms upto 14 kms.  In September 2020, I did a sponsored 10 km roll to raise money for the Dementia society.  My Dad died in February 2021, and I am planning on doing a sponsored half marathon roll later this year, to raise money for the Parkinson’s society.  

The rollers are, without doubt, one of the best purchases I have ever made.  Of course diet plays a big part in weight loss, but I know I could not have done it without exercising as well and the rollers have made that possible, right here at home.  

As a Diabetic, I have regular blood tests to check my health.  All my levels (cholesterol, kidney function, blood sugar etc) improved considerably once I’d started my health regime and lost some weight.

I didn’t take “before” photos – I do have some phots of me from May 2020 and have taken some a year on.  You can see the difference!

This is not the end of my story – I have another 11 months to go to reach my target, but I will continue to use my rollers for years to come.

UPDATE! – one year later… 7th July 2022 – by Sarah Collins:

So have I stuck to my programme?!  I’m really pleased to say that I have.  Rolling is now part of my daily routine.  As I lost weight, I realised I needed to increase the distances I was rolling in order to carry on losing weight and then to maintain it.

My aim now is to roll six times a week and usually around 20 kms, although I have done as many as 32 kms.

A year in from my last blog, when I weighed 13 stone, I am now 10 stone 11 lbs.  Ideally, I’d like to get to 10 stone, give or take, but I know the last lbs are the hardest to lose!

I did do the 10 km sponsored roll in memory of my Dad, raising funds for Dementia UK.  I am now planning to do a sponsored half marathon to raise funds for a wheelchair for a person in need in Malawi – which is where I was born.  Although I hate being in a wheelchair, I realise how lucky I am to have one; there are 100s of people who are not so lucky and who have to drag themselves across the ground, using their arms, whilst their legs drag behind them tucked under them.

Another 2 stone 3 lbs in weight lost by Sarah wheelchair user.

If anyone is contemplating buying some Invictus rollers, DO IT!  It’ll change your life – for the better.

You can find out more about our Invictus Active Trainer by clicking here.

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