Kelly is this month’s Featured Fitness Instructor and has kindly taken the time to share her story of how she transitioned from working in an office environment to entering the fitness industry. She has done a lot of training  and hit the road running. I hope it motivates and inspires you to continue working towards your fitness goals. Let’s hear from Kelly…

Hi, I am Kelly Parkin part time fitness instructor and full time mum 😀 . I am the owner of Forever Young Fitness (a community class provider for older adults) and work as a freelance instructor/personal trainer for a community gym. I have been in the industry for two years.

I had my first daughter at the age of 22 and, although I always had a passion for fitness, I found myself working a 9 to 5 office job and time seemed to run away with itself. When returning to full time employment, I continued the 9 to 5 working life until I had my youngest daughter just over 4 years ago. I had always loved going the gym and attending classes, and always said to myself if I ever got the opportunity to train as an instructor I would take it.

In 2015, when my second daughter was around a year old, I decided not to return to a full time employment as I missed out on so many things with my first daughter due to work commitments. I wanted to do a job I loved that would still allow me to be flexible around the children. Later that year I enquired about an ETM course, which I heard was running through adult education.  In September I enrolled, and it was one of the best things I have ever done. It kick started my love for learning and, 3 weeks into the course, I had already decided that I was going to come back in January 2016 and do a Level 3 Diploma in Fitness instructing and personal training.

I was absolutely hooked and really couldn’t wait to get stuck in to another course. I expressed to my tutor that I wanted to do a Level 3 course in ante/post-natal exercise, so he recommended Pure Training and Development, where I first me Emma. As January seemed forever away I enrolled and started the course mid-December.  By the time January came around I was juggling two courses and two kids and I thought “Whatever have I done?” Apart from a few meltdowns (and a lot of wine!), I managed to finish the Post/Ante-Natal course in February 2016 and qualified as a Level 3 Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer at the end of June 2016.

By this time I was lucky enough to get my first instructing job with Norfolk community learning services teaching Keep Fit to older adults. From that moment I knew I wanted to work with older adults and people with medical conditions. I wanted to set up my own classes to give older adults a place to come where they could exercise in a safe environment, and feel comfortable and supported. So, in November 2016, I enrolled on the Level 3 Older Adult course with Pure Training and Development, completing it in the New Year, and then set up my own first Older Adult class in the Heartsease, Norwich, under Forever Young Fitness. By then my youngest daughter was at nursery 2 days a week, so it gave me more time to look into expanding my business (and do more courses -yay!). So, I enrolled with Pure Training again onto a Level 3 Diploma in GP referral and set up two more Older Adult classes in Thorpe and Lingwood.

When I had qualified as a referral instructor in June 2017, I contacted Dan at Broadly Active in the hope there may be opportunities for cover instructors for the main GP referral classes. In addition to this Dan kindly agreed to promote my private classes through BA as other opportunities for GP referral clients. At the time I was teaching a lot of clients with low back pain and, having suffered with this condition since the birth of my second child, I really wanted to know more about how to manage the condition and be able support my clients. So, I enrolled on a Level 4 Low Back Pain Management course with YMCA Fit this September, and I am hoping to run some specialist Low Back Pain classes around Norwich in the New Year.

My success to date is mainly due to being put in touch with Emma at Pure Training and Development, where I gained three of my qualifications, and her continued support. It is also down to having the support of Broadly Active advertising my private classes, and using their network of instructors to gain valuable experience.

I have had to develop a thick skin since working in the industry. It is very hard not to take it personally when a client comes to a class and doesn’t return the next week, or, when you set up a new class and only a couple of people attend. It is hard not to get dis-heartened but one thing I have learnt is that being patient will reward you in the end.

In five years’ time I would love to be teaching more Older Adult and specialist exercise classes in and around Norwich, and at some point in the near future obtain a Level 4 stroke rehabilitation qualification. And of course I would love to own a Broadly Active hoody one day too (please?).

I am still very much learning and finding my feet in the industry. But from my experience so far my advice would be to put your name out there and create your own opportunities, get your foot in the door. Make contact with people in the industry and try and gain as much experience as possible.

My Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/foreveryoungfitnessnorwich/

Thank you Kelly for sharing your fitness journey. We look forward to hearing how your new classes are going in the New Year.

If you would like to be featured as an instructor in future months then please get in touch.

Emma