My New Fitness Studio Helps Other Mums Like Me

Keri Parr, 38, is a personal trainer and mum of two from Taunton, Somerset. She started a local, outdoor-fitness group for new mums and now has her own fitness studio.

I’ ve worked in the health and fitness industry since leaving college in 1998. I’ve done all sorts of roles from fitness consultant to sports centre manager. Over the years, I’ve learnt a lot about people’s reasons for exercising and the barriers that prevent them. I’ve always wanted to help break those down. ‘When I had my daughter in 2008 I didn’t find it too hard to get back to work and fitness. But after having my son in 2012, I discovered my own barriers to exercise. I was older, my body had changed and I felt self- conscious.

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I’d always been at home in gyms but now I felt unfit and embarrassed. Paying for childcare and a gym membership would prove costly, plus I didn’t want to leave my son. ‘Slowly I started working out on my own, in my living room or outdoors – as a trainer I knew I could get a decent bodyweight workout without the need for gym equipment. I could have my son with me and exercise at a time that suited us, and if I needed to stop to feed or comfort him that was fine. ‘I started to document my training on social media. And to my surprise I was inundated with requests from local mums asking me to help them.

At the same time, I was having discussions with my employer about returning to work. Part-time wasn’t an option, so I decided to take the leap and become self-employed. ‘In 2013, I offered personal training in a local park where women could bring their babies along (and I took mine). Then, in 2014, I ran a holiday fit camp for mums so they could still exercise while their kids were off school. This soon expanded to a travelling bootcamp – it turned out lots of areas across Somerset were screaming out for what I could offer. FitClub was born – 30-minute sessions suitable for all levels and abilities. Soon I was teaching 16 classes a week!

It’s always been my dream to have a place of my own that’s more personal than a gym. This winter, I found the perfect space and opened my FitClub Fitness Studio. It sticks to the same principles as my bootcamp – fun, 30-minute, circuits- based sessions, kids welcome – but as it’s indoors it attracts more people, all year round. It’s welcoming, comfortable, supportive and, I hope, helping mums and non-mums get back the fitness and confidence they need.

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