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How personal trainer Darren got his life back after injury turned him to drink; Darren Jones' life was turned upside down by an injury.

Byline: Aamir Mohammed

A dad who suffered from severe mental health issues and turned to drink after an injury ruled him out of the endurance competitions he loved so much has turned his life around.

Personal trainer Darren Jones, 50, from Cwmbran, managed to lose an incredible six stone in just one year.

His life had spiralled out of control but Darren managed to turn every around after entering a body building competition,reports Wales Online.

In 2017, while taking part in an Ironman event, Darren snapped a tendon in his ankle and ruptured his achiles.

He said: "Everything was going fine, the swim went well and as I started my run I heard a pop and was in agony. I looked up saw my wife in the crowd and started crying but I carried on going stupidly.

"I finished the race somehow but when I went to the doctors and they told me the extent of the injury. I wouldn't be able to train for at least a year.

"I was training and doing hundreds of miles a week and I couldn't imagine life without and it and that's when I turned to alcohol."

Darren still carried on teaching his classes at a local gym but knowing he couldn't train was hurting him inside.

He began drinking in the nights and after classes starting off with two or three cans a night but then turned to a litre of vodka or three bottles of wine a night instead.

Before this, Darren hadn't drunk for five years.

"I'd never drink in the day but suddenly I couldn't go to bed without having a drink and that was never me. I was never drinking to get drunk it was just for the feeling and for something to take the pain away for a while," he said.

"Luckily my family or my clients never saw me drunk but sometimes as soon as the classes would finish I would break down in my car or start drinking."

A father of two young children, Darren went from weighing around 11 stone to weighing almost 19 stone in just one year.

"It was the worst time of my life because of the weight I was gaining and my mental health just took its toll on me. It overshadows you and it's such a dark cycle that you just can't get out of," he said.

"Mental health is the worst because it seems like a phase you'll never get out of and every day is negative or dull.

"I would regularly break down especially looking at my weight, even my holidays would be ruined."

Darren entered the UK ultimate physique masters over 40s competition but he had one year to get himself in to shape.

His wife Sarah helped him find counselling and he visited mental health charities like Mind.

The competition gave him the motivation to lose weight and Darren began running again. He also took part in the Cardiff Half Marathon in 2018.

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He said: "My first run was a quarter-of-a-mile and I couldn't run any more. I stopped and started crying. I was used to running so much it was such a shock for me.

"Slowly though I kept at it and gave up drinking and began improving on my fitness and took part in the Cardiff Half. My time was way slower than usual but I was competing again.

"I made myself go to the gym every day and a lot of the workouts were ones I had given clients to before but I was taking my time now."

Darren said his wife was supportive and never pushed him in to going to counselling sessions, but would encourage him instead.

Last month, Darren took part in the physique competition where he finished sixth. He has now slimmed down while maintaining muscle and weighs 12 stone.

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Darren is still carrying on delivering personal training sessions but is also keen to offer people advice for free.

He said: "This can show people not to give up. If anyone out there is suffering then please open up and talk to somebody because I promise it will help.

"It's not easy at all but it is the best thing you can do for yourself. Get the help you require to get out of a tough mental state.

"Loads of people have come forward and have explained their problems to me and I don't want to charge for any of this, I just want to help people."

CAPTION(S):

Credit: Darren Jones

Darren regularly took part in fitness endurance challenges

Credit: Darren Jones

Darren became unrecognisable from his old self

Credit: Darren Jones

Darren at a recent UK physique competition
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Author:Aamir Mohammed
Publication:Get West London (Watford, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 27, 2019
Words:805
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