What is your story? Or in other words, what made you your awesome self you are today?
I had always done a lot of exercises. I trained in ballet, dancing over 13 hours a week. I competed in Sports Acrobatics gymnastics until I was 23. I did Pilates and taught my own classes. I did circuit classes, body pump, Ceroc jive, etc. Right into my 30s, I did exercise consistently every day and felt invincible.
Then I had children!!!
3 children under the age of 4, and I loved it – still do – being a mum. My life became my children. Apart from teaching Pilates, I didn’t do any exercise – I had no time, and my priority was making sure my children were ok, and no-one else would be able to look after them as well as me!
After a few years, as they began to start school, I started feeling fed up with how I felt. My body had changed, obviously, and I no longer felt invincible. I felt achy, tired, old, wore the same clothes every day because it was easier than deciding what to wear; I started to feel like I just had no time for myself.
I knew I wanted to get my fitness back, strength, and flexibility, and be an active mum, an active woman – get back to feeling like me again. I was also aware that I was getting older and knew I wanted to stay strong and healthy, and independent as long as I could.
So I found an adult ballet class and a Pilates class for me to do myself. Both were a 30-minute drive away, I needed childcare, which was complicated, and I always had this nagging feeling that I had a million other things that I should be doing instead. When I did go, which wasn’t very often, I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I could have because it felt like a massive chore, and I just felt guilty about going.
I shouldn’t be doing this for myself when I should be looking after my children or supporting my husband, and on the odd occasion, I’d convinced myself it was ok to go, then something would happen, and I wouldn’t be able to.
Every week I found a ‘reason’ that I couldn’t go: ‘I needed to stay home so my husband could do his training,’ ‘I had mountains of washing that needed doing,’ ‘ I had to cook the tea,’ ‘ I needed to get the children’s school bags ready,’ ‘I needed to do the accounts for my husband’s business,’ ‘I was too tired,’ ‘I was too busy,’ ‘I didn’t feel like it,’ ‘I wasn’t in the right mood.’
So the result….
I never got any fitter or stronger, never made progress; I would beat myself up about not going, having this constant wrangle/argument in my head. I resented my husband because he always did his training. The kids always did their activities, and I was the one always left sorting everyone else out. I didn’t do anything for myself.
When anyone asked me what I did, I described myself as a mum, and I helped my husband in his business.
This was the turning point –
It started as a business growth course – which I’d gone on to learn how I could help my husband grow his business. We’d decided that I’d take on the role of the HR manager and do the finances so he could concentrate more on his role.
On this course, I was asked why I was there. I replied, ‘to help my husband grow his business.’
But the business coach asked me again why I was there…what did I want to get out of this course?
Then it hit me like someone had thrown a brick at my head… I’d never thought about what I wanted – not for years. Life had taken control, and I was just being taken along for the ride. I needed to grab back hold of the reins, take control, and start living intentionally.
18 months later – I have my own business, which I love, and I know I am important too. What was the one thing that changed?
Me – and how I saw myself.
Because I had realized that somehow, I’d lost myself in all of this, and the first thing I did was to make time to exercise for me again – because I knew how much better it would make me feel. I did short Pilates sessions at home and started to learn aerial silks – something I’d longed to do. I started ballet again and felt younger, stronger, more confident, and energized again. I had no aches and pains; I was more flexible, positive, in control, exercised guilt-free. I enjoy exercising and don’t beat myself up about it. I’m living on purpose.
I’m now able to use my experience to help others. This is how Bitesize Pilates for busy women started, how CORE has evolved, and my unique ‘BEST Empowered Self Triangle’ started.
What message do you promote?
However busy they are, all women can build strength and feel good about themselves so that they can lead a physically active and fulfilling life. It is about having a simple, flexible, and sustainable approach to your fitness…it’s about having a positive mindset, powerful habits, and bitesize pilates. These are the 3 key elements a busy woman needs in order to become her best self – physically and mentally.
In what capacity do you LEAD UP in your community?
I lead by example. I am a busy woman, working and juggling family life and prioritizing my health and fitness. I do Bitesize Pilates every day and value and respect myself. I share my experiences, my journey, and what I have learned with other women, just like me.
In business and/or in life, share a struggle you overcame that other women can relate to
Managing my time. I was always saying ‘I just haven’t got any time’ because I was looking after everyone else first and then running out of time and energy for myself. I now have a different relationship with time. I tell myself that I have enough time to do everything I want to do. I came to realize that I was just as important as everyone else and gave myself permission to invest time in myself.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
Helping women believe in themselves again and realize that it is possible to be a fit, healthy, strong woman even if you are busy and have loads of things to juggle.
How do you SHOW UP?
I’m happy, confident, positive, inspiring, supportive, and believe in myself. I listen to other women and believe that they can achieve their fitness goals, feel good about themselves, and lead active and healthy lives too.
If you could give one piece of advice for women who are entering the workforce or launching their own business what would that be?
To just get started. Don’t aim for perfection; perfection is an illusion. Don’t worry that you don’t know what to do, by doing it you will learn. Don’t let overwhelm take over; just take a small step each day, and you will be moving towards your goal. Progress is progress.
Go for it and believe in yourself. We have a saying in CORE ‘It is within yourself that you will find the strength you need.’ You can do it and be successful.