Emma Redding is a Personal Trainer, mum of 2, member of the guild of postnatal exercise teachers and founder and director of Buggyfit, a fun, sociable way to get back in shape after your new arrival.
Buggyfit classes are an hour long, and usually involve a 3 – 5 mile route in total. Classes start with a moderate warm up walk, moving into a power walk or run to raise heart rates and burn fat! Each class includes group exercises specifically selected to strengthen and tone particular muscle groups, to enable you to cope with the demands of motherhood. The session finishes off with a cool down and stretch. Also included in the sessions are tips and techniques on adopting and maintaining better posture and of course the chance to chat and make new friends.
After the birth of my son in 2002 and four stones heavier, I knew I had to shift the weight, as it was unhealthy and uncomfortable. It became apparent very quickly that there were no health and fitness experts locally to help me get back in shape. So I kicked into my own regime, but of course, finding the time to exercise with a new baby and having to fit in with limited crèche times at the gym, the excuses were already there for me!
I cancelled my gym membership, engaged a little more self-discipline and began to walk every day. A good brisk pace in the fresh air, which benefited my son too. It wasn’t long before friends wanted to join me (instead of sitting around at coffee mornings).
I retrained as a personal trainer with Premier global, when my son was 10 months old. I chose a course with a heavy emphasis on pre and postnatal fitness. As I knew I wanted to specialise in Pre and postnatal fitness I became a member of The Guild of Postnatal Exercise Teachers and did further research into safe and effective workouts and created the Buggyfit programs of exercise.
I have been astounded at the number of like-minded women in the world who have become Buggyfit members. Some joining Buggyfit classes when their first baby is 6 weeks old and continuing through their pregnancy with a second and third baby and on from there. Others have become Buggyfit trainers to expand the network of available classes throughout the UK and now Overseas too!
What have you learnt about yourself since you became self-employed?
I have learnt that I can be a workaholic at times and am not great at managing my time to ensure there is a definitive separation between work and family time.
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge has been believing in myself as the business has grown. At times I feel like the success and growth of buggyfit means it runs away with me, and I often feel out of control. This is when my Husband steps in and is the methodical calming influence- and confidence booster, to make me realise I CAN do it!.
What has been the best thing about being your own boss?
Greater flexibility on a daily basis. If I get an n invite to join a girlfriend for lunch I will take it and then work into the late evening once the children are in bed. I know I work longer hours and harder now than ever before, but it all feels so much more rewarding emotionally when it is for you. When you love what you do and work alongside others with the same passion and compassion it is so much easier.
I manage to drop the children (8 and 5 years) at school everyday and pick them up when they finish. I often work at weekends too either delivering training days or hosting charity events. Although my Husband also works a lot at weekends my Parents live locally so they have a fantastic relationship with our children and love spending time with them-, which is great.
Who has given you the support to succeed?
My Family, especially my Husband who gets very involved with the running of the Buggyfit (even though he has his own separate business too that he works at 6 days per week 9-5), and my parents who not only are very encouraging and supportive, but on a practical level helps endlessly with childcare. I couldn’t do it without them.
Both of my children came to buggyfit classes with my while I was instructing, and by the age of 2 my son could do a perfect lunge- saying “you do this at FUGGYBIT don’t you Mummy?”
Where do you see yourself and the business in 3 years time?
Buggyfit went international in 2010 incorporating Holland and Spain. We hope to finalise South Africa before the end of the year and have enquiries currently from potential trainers in Germany, Australia and New Zealand along with the USA. I hope to grow the international side of the business while expanding, nurturing and strengthening our network of classes in the Uk and Ireland. I still want to flexible working hours, so will seek help from others who have skills that can help me to do this when I need to, rather than allowing my family life to suffer.
In areas of the Uk now we have such great established classes that we are able to offer adaptations on the original buggyfit concept such as ‘buggyfit blitz’- a 1 week, I hour per day intensive exercise schedule designed for new Mums 4 months postnatal +.
We know that the ‘new Mum market’ is a fantastic area to be in business and is a market that will always be there, so we need to listen to what people want and grow the business and concept to suit that.
I feel incredibly fortunate that this opportunity arose and look forward to ongoing success providing an affordable and accessible fitness solution for all new Mums.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone with a ‘dream’ an aspiring ‘mumpreneur’ what would it be?
Chat it through with people close to you who will be honest. Ensure it is something people truly want and will buy into. Put yourself in the shoes of each customer and realistically decide what you would want from your product or concept and what you would be willing to pay.
Then go for it and don’t look back!
For more information please visit www.buggyfit.co.uk