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MEMBER STORY: Barbara Antram, Managing Diabetes

MANAGING DIABETES: Exercise is Medicine.

Barbara used to take diabetes medication twice a day. Now she only needs it once every other day. Her new prescription? Exercise.

Meet Barbara, a woman who never imagined herself as a fitness enthusiast until she was diagnosed with diabetes type 2. At first, she saw her diagnosis as a setback, but instead of letting it defeat her, she decided to take control of her health. She discovered the incredible benefits of exercise, not just for physical fitness but also for managing her diabetes. As she started incorporating regular workouts into her routine, Barbara found herself feeling stronger, more energetic, and more motivated than ever before. 

Read on to find out more about Barbara’s inspiring journey and explore how exercise helped her transform her life and manage her diabetes! 

Discovering Exercise - It’s Never Too Late

As a child growing up with severe asthma in the 60’s and 70’s, Barbara was never allowed to exercise, she shared with us her experience of missing out on group games and sports in school as she always had to sit on the sidelines watching as the other children exercised and had fun. 

Working out and sweating seemed alien to Barbara as an adult as it was not something she’d ever been involved in. Barbara mentioned that she now loves taking part in the Zumba classes here at the Club, but the first time she felt really quite shy and embarrassed about the way she moved. However, after realising that everyone is there just to enjoy the music and get moving, without the judgement of others, she let loose and now walks into classes with no apprehensions. 

“I just walk in there and the music comes on and that’s it, we all have a great time. Nobody cares, everyone just wants to enjoy the class, enjoy the music and doing the dance. I mean, we have some amazing instructors at this club, really fantastic, inspirational.”

Barbara also tried out our BodyPump® class, something she could never imagine herself doing before. She told us: “my family can’t believe that I’m lifting weights. The most I could do was lift a bag of rice or potatoes, I’d never lifted weights and now I’m doing a BodyPump class!” 

Barbara is now a regular at these classes as well as Zumba - she has discovered the magical endorphin release you feel after a great workout, and how addictive it is! We are so proud that since joining The Hogarth, Barbara has a newfound love for exercise and really enjoys the challenge.

“You finish a class and you feel like you’ve just taken something and you’re so happy, like a happy medicine you’ve taken!”


“My family can’t believe that I’m lifting weights. The most I could do was lift a bag of rice or potatoes.”

The Reason For Change: Managing Diabetes 

Barbara was living in Brussels when she received her initial diabetes diagnosis, which came as a bit of a shock to her. Her doctor advised her to take the diagnosis seriously and make necessary changes to her diet and exercise routine in order to lower her blood sugar levels. Although she was taken aback by the news, Barbara did not take any action while she was in Brussels. However, upon returning to London and joining the Hogarth where she began her fitness journey, she was able to manage her diabetes effectively. Barbara now undergoes regular check-ups and can determine the cause of any increases in blood sugar levels by monitoring her diet as exercise is now a consistent part of her routine. Barbara has found that maintaining a regular work-out routine makes it easier to make healthier food choices and limit her sugar intake.

“It does something to your brain (exercising), I’m better at concentrating now, I can read and concentrate without my mind being tired, I think it’s important.”

Barbara, amazingly enough, through exercise and her diet, has been able to lower her medication levels. She started out having to take her medication twice a day, which then reduced to once a day and she’s currently now only taking it every other day. Barbara plans to stick to her exercise and healthy-eating habits with the aim to getting off the medicine completely. 

“Thanks to my wonderful, inspirational instructors, I really am sweating my way to a better self!” 

Barbara’s Hogarth Community 

Barbara shared with us that as someone who’s lived abroad a lot, coming back to London she really felt that she wanted to make friends and expand her social circle. The Hogarth turned out to be the perfect place for her to do just that. Attending classes regularly helped her to build friendships and community with likeminded people who all have the common bond and interest of health and movement. Barbara mentioned she has a real network of friendships from the Hogarth now, even having a WhatsApp group and meet-ups outside of the club. 

We pride ourselves on offering a friendly, inclusive community here at The Hogarth that provides the perfect balance between fitness and fun!

“I now suffer withdrawal symptoms if I don’t come here at least 4 or 5 times a week!”

Words for those Struggling with Motivation 

We asked Barbara what she would say to someone who was struggling for motivation, or maybe didn’t know where to start with exercise. 

Here’s what she said:

“Don’t give up, there’s always something you can do, and if you feel that you don’t have the confidence, just go slow, go slow, try and discover what suits you, but never give up, never give up, it’s important.”

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Barbara. Keep on sweating!