As I celebrate the sixth anniversary of setting up my own local fitness business, I started thinking about what motivated me to make such major life changes.
Exercise has always been part of my life. But as I approached my last “big” birthday, my weight was going up while my fitness levels headed in the opposite direction. Something had to change.
First, I changed the way I ate. Six months later I had shed 2.5 stone. This was a life-changing experience which I still draw on when I run my regular 28-day fitness blast reset programmes. Secondly, I swapped walking for running as my main exercise, and started lifting small weights at home.
My main motivation was being able to keep doing fun things with my kids. Having had them a little later in life, I knew that doing nothing now would mean losing the opportunity to keep up with them forever.
Then, completely by chance, I was introduced to Kettlercise while working for a local team of churches. A new Vicar wanted to launch a new ‘Faith & Fitness’ initiative, but after trying out local gyms and personal trainers, she felt we could do a better job ourselves. Before I knew it we were both doing a course to become fitness instructors!
I was hooked immediately. I loved the way I was able to move with the kettlebells, and I could feel myself getting stronger, more flexible and fitter. I could also see my body changing, particularly my upper body. I suddenly had muscles you could see! And I felt fantastic!
Still, having to study and sit written exams was a huge leap of faith. I often thought I must be completely mad to be doing this at my age and with a full-time job. But I eventually ended up running all our church classes.
And then I decided to focus on fitness full time, got certified in other disciplines to offer more varied classes – especially anything with a weight! – and thus the HiiT classes were born, in the Pewsey Scout Hut.
I discovered that I love teaching, and that I am determined to be the best instructor I can be. That means always learning more - about anatomy, physiology, movement, motivation, nutrition… so I can pass that knowledge on to my clients.
And I love getting to know people - everyone who comes to classes is fab – and I enjoy helping out with anything fitness-related by taking a little time to chat before or after classes.
When I first started teaching I used to get so nervous, but I just had to learn to cope when things go wrong, because they do! And now being at the front, with all of you in front of me, is great fun.
Being self-employed can be hard, and this job takes much more preparation and work than just rocking up to deliver a class. The market is also a lot more competitive now than when I first started. I am always looking for ways to stand out and offer something new, like getting certified in pre/post-natal exercise. The competition can feel demoralising at times, but it also motivates me to just be myself and do my absolute best.
Six years after I set up Healthily Toned, I still love what I do, and nothing motivates me more than people enjoying my classes and reaching their personal goals. So as long as I’m still standing, and people keep on coming, I’ll keep on teaching. See you at the next class!