#smallbusinesssaturday vol.1 — Fit-School

‘A little fitter’ is a mantra I can get on board with and that’s exactly where Fit-School can start. With an aversion to group exercise but really wanting to give Pilates a go, co-owner Karen Laing eased me in perfectly and I attribute her ante-natal classes to (just about) surviving child birth. That’s why I have asked her to be our first #smallbusinesssaturday feature on EppingAbout, because they rock.

“Cake motivated me to start teaching fitness. And a love of dance and nurturing others. The corporate world wasn’t for me. I re-trained as a fitness instructor and later as a journalist. This meant I could still eat cake (I love cake — and I make cakes for all my Pilates workshops). Fit School was a natural progression. Chris and I (we met when we worked together at a gym) wanted to offer something different from the current gym model, where people pay their money but don’t learn or progress. We wanted to share what we knew via classes and programmes.

I love our community. One of our members hit the nail on the head when she said it feels like we’ve created a space she can plug into, with like minded people (mainly active mums or grans). I would happily enjoy coffee and chats with every one of our class participants. The best bit about running this business is the magic. It’s hard to quantify. There are some events I run, like my workshops and the spa retreat day, where it just all comes together and we ALL feel elated after. But there are also some Pilates classes where there’s the most amazing energy and it feels so great to do what I do. It’s not all serious and breathy either. We laugh. Lots. I’ve been known to corpse whilst teaching a class and have uncontrollable giggles.

I’m originally from Waltham Abbey and went to school in Loughton. I knew from the outset Fit-School had to be a community business, something which would grow roots in a town, so it wasn’t until we moved to Epping and had our first child that I felt this was the right time. Epping has a great combination of ages. My classes span from prenatal to anti-ageing (55+).

We don’t just teach exercise. Between us we know nutrition and women’s bodies almost inside out. We have collectively 25 years in this and we’re fussy about professionalism. So we’ll answer questions about diastasis recti or stretch marks; about training for a marathon or why beginner runners feel they might die; about exercise post breast cancer or managing arthritis. It’s definitely the add ons we offer that are most popular.

My perfect day off would involve a leisurely breakfast and a run or bike ride in Epping Forest. Good coffee and cake and I’d read Psychologies or Red magazine cover to cover, ideally in a sunny spot! I’d take the kids out for the afternoon for a picnic and then the theatre. I love musicals. It would also have to involve a good gin and tonic or a mojito based cocktail (at Pivaz they do a martini/mojito/gin cocktail which is my absolute favourite thing). Oh if I could get my toes done and a facial from Jo Van Praagh then that too.”

So many thanks to Karen. Fit-School has a range of classes throughout the week, for all ages and abilities. Go follow them on facebook/twitter/instagram for all the latest information.

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