The low down on Narcolepsy, with Belle Hutt

Imagine not being in control of when you're awake or asleep. Losing hours in the middle of the day because you've all of a sudden fallen asleep at your desk or the dinner table... These are the symptoms of Narcolepsy. We had a chat with Belle Hutt who was diagnosed when she was 17. She qualified as a personal trainer in 2014 and has since set up her own business. She tells us that exercise has been the strongest 'medication' she has found so far, and she aims to motivate others to get moving and show them that they can live life to the fullest. 
  1. What has been the biggest challenge for you dealing with Narcolepsy?

My biggest challenge has been accepting that I have to live with this and take everyday as it comes. My narcolepsy will only get worse so this is an ongoing challenge I have to face everyday. I'm addicted to being busy and I used to keep my self on the go and that would keep it at bay as much as possible but now I have to take my self for 5 naps a day, only for 10 minutes, but if I don’t take these naps I fall asleep at very inconvenient times and my whole day is extremely hard, imagine having no sleep for 3 nights and then being told to do a normally working day, that’s how I feel everyday.

  1. And the greatest triumph you have accomplished in the face of Narcolepsy?

I am extremely proud of where I am today. My condition is very rare, so help and support is limited as not many people know about it let alone can guide me in the right direction. I have got myself to where I am today, career wise and fitness wise all by my self. Since finding out during my PT course that exercise makes me feel so alive (which is rare for me), I’ve stuck by staying fit and healthy even when I just feel like going to bed for the rest of my life with a big time pack of Maryland cookies! 

3. What’s your favourite way to work out, and why?

My favourite workouts always include boxing and skipping. Boxing is so therapeutic and I find skipping just as fun as it was when I was 9 years old in the playground. I absolutely love HIIT training, short bursts of burpees, mountain climbers, squat jumps etc. really gets me sweating and smiling! Before I became a PT I had never actually been to a gym, to me a squat was something Beyonce does in her music videos but since being taught a whole new way to exercise (that isn't just running) I’ve only wanted to keep learning and exploring!

4. What are your current goals?

Looking forward, my goals are to continue helping as many ladies as possible, teaching and writing about how exercise has helped me with my condition. I am also very excited to be moving to Amsterdam to live with my boyfriend, I’m eager to help a whole new group of people and set up my business in The Netherlands.

5. What advice do you have for people suffering from Narcolepsy?

My advice to people suffering from Narcolepsy is to keep active and eat well. Even if it is just a short brisk walk, a workout when you are feeling tired or a yoga session, you will feel better and more energetic! If you are having a day where you just can’t wake up, lay on the floor, start by doing a few glute bridges, sit ups, bicycle crunches and leg raises, this always wakes me up (you don’t need to be in gym kit or at the gym, you can do all of this yourself at home).