How to Make Fitness Inclusive, Fun and Empowering

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. When I first started my career in fitness, it was by accident.

I took a year out to just ‘be’ and do some stuff I’d always wanted to do. Being active was a passion but I had never envisaged doing it full time, let alone running a fitness business.

One of the things that put me off was the way fitness always seemed to be about getting ripped, or getting super lean. Reinforced by advertising imagery. It wasn’t something that interested me.

I was more interested in the person who snuck into the back of my LBT (legs, bums and tums) class or the man who came to my Body Jam (dancing) class every week in spite of never being able to do the moves.

In short I was more interested in the individual and encouraging beginners to enjoy exercise and get a healthy habit in a world where being active was still considered slightly odd.

As the years have rolled on, I’ve realised there’s a chance my vision – that of exercise being inclusive, fun and empowering – was a pretty good one.

Fortunately I’m now partnered in life and in business with a bloke who’s awesome at the nitty gritty. So if there’s someone who wants to get super lean or improve their running split times, I can send them his way.

It’s not that I don’t want to see progression, it’s that I don’t want to see fitness or sport as elitist activities. In fact one of my personal goals, when both kids are in school, is to learn to play tennis. If only so I can enjoy a game without constantly thinking, ‘no one wants to play with me because I am shit.’

An image popped up on my Facebook feed this week. It was fitness business looking for women to train. In the advert was an image of three women. All of whom looked like unrealistic, spray tanned (and sprayed with oil) fitness models. It made me wonder, ‘who is this image speaking to?’ And so, in honour of my goals and the founding principles and ethos of Fit School I wanted to introduce you to ten of our wonderful members, so you can get a taste of the REAL and WONDERFUL people who do Pilates with me. (I’ve changed names for privacy but these are all real stories):

Meet Anne (51). Anne started coming to Pilates after getting the all clear from breast cancer. Exercise makes her feel better and can prevent secondary cancers. Anne’s got a stiff lower back and tight hips but does an impressive rollover.

Meet Faith (53). Faith started coming to Pilates after finishing physiotherapy for a frozen shoulder. She can now do a mean push up but still struggles with the roll up.

Meet Louise (30). Louise started coming to Pilates to complement her personal training and horse riding. She struggles with flexibility. Louise still finds it hard but her modified teaser is pretty awesome.

Meet Grace (38). Grace started Pilates to complement her running and a stressful juggling act of working 4 full-time days with two young children. Her leggings wardrobe has expanded exponentially and she’s just joined our running club.

Meet Mark (41). Mark started Pilates in a private group to complement his triathlon training. Mark was really nervous before his first session but has turned into a bit of a pro.

Meet Judy (68). Judy started Pilates to complement her active lifestyle and reduce her risk of osteoporosis (it runs in the family). Judy struggles with mobility but can out do most of the class with her planks and push-ups, even after having a hysterectomy and three broken ribs earlier this year.

Meet Sarah (43). Sarah, a full-time working mum of one, started Pilates to get some balance back into her life. Sarah struggles with some exercises since her boobs get in the way but her ‘Rocking’ is superb.

Meet Liz (33). Liz started ante natal Pilates with Fit School when pregnant with her first baby. Since then she’s had another and has recently suffered a back injury due to a fall. Liz knew to get back to Pilates as the next step on her road to recovery. Next step, run club.

Meet Julie (29). Julie started ante natal Pilates with Fit School when pregnant with her first baby. Since then Julie’s had to work one to one to rehabilitate a pelvic organ prolapse. Julie is now pregnant with baby number two and back in ante natal Pilates.

Meet Siobhan (35). Siobhan discovered Fit School when she was pregnant with her second baby. She was referred for physiotherapy to help with pelvis pain. Since then Siobhan has continued with Pilates, PE class and run club and has transformed from a non runner to runner.

For more information on Fit School classes check out our bookings page.

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