Where Did It All Start?

<Where Did It All Start

I have often been asked, “Where Did Your Fitness Journey Begin” So here it is. You may need a large cuppa, its nearly 30 years condensed into one blog.

I begun teaching fitness way back in 1990 when it was referred to as “Exercise To Music” Or ETM for short. Prior to that I had trained in lots of difference dance disciplines – ballet, contemporary, tap and modern.

From a very early age I knew I wanted to dance. I loved watching old movies with my mother and marvelled at Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly – wow those men could move. How amazing would it would be to do that for a living?

Unfortunately I didn’t become the next Gina Kelly but I did instinctively know that I wanted to pursue a career in movement, I wasn’t quite sure what movement I wanted to do, but movement it needed to be.

So enter the nineties. I was approached by an ex Dancer from a very well know Dance Troupe at the time called Pans People, I know, some of you are thinking Pans What? She persuaded me to pursue a career in “keep fit” and there it was – A career in movement. I jumped at the opportunity.

However it was challenging at that time to promote yourself or your business – in the nineties there was no social media platforms like there is today. The only way to publicise yourself was through word and mouth and letter writing (yes letter writing) I cannot tell you how many letters I wrote to Clubs, Centres etc in the hope of attaining a class on their studio timetable.

I was fortunate enough to secure a couple of classes on a timetable in a local leisure centre. The classes weren’t on at great times – one late, one very early, but I was grateful for the opportunity. I really needed the experience. I stayed with these classes for a couple of years trying to gain as much experience as I could from my class participants (you can learn so much from the people that stand in front of you in class) I learnt a lot from my time there. I made lots of mistakes but I think it shaped me as a teacher, and lets be honest we all make mistakes early on in our career. I still make mistakes now.

It was important to gain as much experience as I could if I wanted to seriously pursue this as a career. And I knew that I did.

The next, almost natural, step to take was to venture into London to teach. A class on a studio timetable in London was very sort after by many instructors who were, like me, trying to gain more experience. Thankfully my wait wasn’t too long, I auditioned and was given a class on the studio timetable.

I vividly recall that first ‘london class’ It was for a wonderful health club called “The Broadgate Club” I realised very early on that the class members here were very different from the previous leisure centre where I had worked. They knew their stuff and expected the teacher to be at the top of their game. I must admit I spent a nervy few months getting to know the members and trying to carve out my own teaching style. I definitely veered out of my comfort zone but thankfully it worked.

After that my desire to learn and grow as a teacher expanded. I begun to pursue many different disciples of movement (there’s that word again) which included step, skipping, boxing, aqua aerobics, dance and yoga (this particular discipline would feature heavily in my career I didn’t know that at the time)

Out of the blue I received a call from a studio co-ordinator who wanted me to audition for one of the premier clubs in London “Cannons” I of course accepted, and was given a class. Cannons was and still is an amazing place for an instructor to work. You had to be “on the ball” for every class, they expected no less. I stayed on the studio timetable for the next 10 years.

A few years passed and I begun to feel confident enough in my abilities to Audition for FitCamp, a newly formed team of instructors that were touring the UK bringing classes to the masses. And this is where my convention experience begun. I ended up teaching at all the major conventions that were being held in the UK – FitCamp, ScotFit, IFS, LIW And Fit Pro.

During one of these conventions I was fortunate enough to meet a lovely guy by the name of Paul who was working for that very large Sports Brand PUMA. He asked if I would be interested in joining a team that he was forming? I recall my reply was “Of Course. Yes. Yes. I would Love To” I was very keen. Team Puma as they would be called were due to tour the UK with Americas premier Fitness Guru Karen Voight (I will save my hilarious audition for this role for another time. Suffice to say it involved High Heels and a Skipping Rope) My role within this team would be known as “Skip Girl”You guessed it, I was the team member that skipped.  I continued to work for Puma for the next few years. And what an experience it was.  I am still in contact with Paul today and ever now and again he calls me Skip Girl.

Some of my proudest achievements to date were to come next – Starring in and choreographing four Workout DVDs with some of the most recognisable faces on British TV – Patsy Palmer, Angela Griffin and Zoe Lucker. I had to pinch myself.

I was once again approached by A good friend of mine who had put me forward to star a refreshing new Dance Workout DVD that was being fronted by Patsy Palmer. I danced at the chance. And that is where the hugely popular Club Workout was created. It has been voted one of the top 5 workout DVDs of all time. It has sold over 500,000 copies? I truly consider myself very fortunate to have been involved in all of these DVDs and I am immensely proud of each and every one of them.

In between the Workout DVDS I was approached by several different organisations to teach overseas – Lanzarote, Germany, Italy and the Caribbean Islands of St Lucia and Grenada. These were just some of the places I fortunate enough to visit during this time.

And during my stay in the gorgeous Island of Grenada I begun to develop my Yoga practice – I started practising physically a few years previous but in Grenada Something clicked.  I adored this discipline, it alined itself with my love of movement and dance – it almost feels as though the body is dancing when you practice. I gathered as much knowledge as I could through workshops, retreats, classes and through a wonderful master trainer called Katy Appleton, before I was ready to explore this avenue for myself.

In between my Yoga training I was once again approached, this time by a couple of lovely ladies who wanted help getting back into shape. I was happy to oblige. They just so happened to be very well known ladies – Sara Cox, Kate Magowen and Lisa Faulkner?

From these training sessions came the tag that is now used when my name is mentioned “Celebrity Personal Trainer” Its a funny tag and I am still shy about using it but it seems so many of us like a Tag. I continue to train these lovely ladies on and off and have forged some wonderful friendships with them.

More good fortunate was to come my way in the form of Netflix UK and Ireland and Matalan Direct – Get Fit with Netflix was born and Bath Yoga was created. These Two campaigns incredible to be a part of and I am very proud to be associated with and be an ambassador for both of these amazing brands.

Throughout my career I always envisaged that one day I would create my own company where I could bring together all my knowledge of dance, experience of fitness and love of yoga together. And that is where Sadhana Yoga was created. My own company delivering bespoke yoga classes to the Essex area.

I now offer a range of services from Sadhana Yoga Classes, Sadhana Retreats, to Sadhana Yoga Events. And this part of my business has continued to flourish.

I will leave this next part free as who knows what’s in store and what will happen. You never know when you may get approached.

Where Did It Start For You?

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