Updated: Nov 7, 2020
Welcome...is probably the best place to start.
My name is Jodie and I am the founder of First Steps Fitness. Think it's fair to say I have been "into" Health and Fitness ever since I started Horse Riding at the age of 2yrs old. Despite always being active my actual love of fitness didn't come until Secondary School when my P.E teacher told me I had a talent for Sprinting (Athletics) so I threw myself into this and fully committed my time outside of school to improve my performance which lead me to join a gym at the age of 14yrs (I don't know many places these days that actually allow under 16yrs to join a gym!). I actually still remember my first induction and programme design which is a bizarre thing to remember.
As with many teenagers you spend the majority of Secondary School figuring out what you want to do with your life/career and after finding the Gym this was quickly answered. From Secondary School I completed a BTEC in Sport and Exercise Sciences and from there graduated with a BSc Sport Science Degree.
Through out my studies I continued with my Sprinting and workouts at the Gym whilst assisting many of my peers in the Gym and coaching the Athletics Team. After many years of thinking I would go into Physiotherapy, I found that I was actually good at this coaching malarkey so it made complete sense to form a career from something that I enjoyed and didn't feel like work. Plus, I don't know many careers that can be as rewarding as seeing people achieve their goals and ambitions.
At the age of 20 I completed my Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer and Exercise to Music Instructor Certification and became a Personal Trainer, at what was once DW Fitness. I think at the time I was the only female and definitely the youngest PT there which was extremely daunting but I don't shy away from challenges nor give up. I was soon working full time hours with a range of clients of all ages and abilities, some I still keep in contact with 12yrs later.
I have been incredibly lucky in my career where I have been managed by some incredible Managers and they have since become role models of mine. This was fair to say of my next 2 Manager's who gave me the opportunity to step into Management and become Fitness Manager at Village Hotel Swindon (what was De Vere). This is where I met Nicole who had been recruited as the Group Fitness Manager. Back then we were Ying and Yang - Nicole was the class-machine, pumping out classes left right and centre and I was the PT lead inspiring a team of young, motivated and enthusiastic Fitness Instructors to reach their potential and help members achieve their Health and Fitness goals.
Working with Nicole was awe-inspiring. The amount of energy she had was infections and the way she instructed classes was mesmerising. Working with someone like that makes you want to push yourself further so I started teaching - first with Les Mills RPM, then CX Worx, BodyPump and finally Sprint. I like to think I had the same effect on her as she started to take on more and more PT clients.
After my time at Village I went on to progress my management career to eventually becoming a Regional Leisure Club Manager for Macdonald Hotels. My time at Macdonald Hotels was a challenging one and it's definitely fair to say there were a lot of ups and downs but I am, to this day, incredibly proud of what the team and I achieved in a struggling Leisure and Spa facility. I left the Hotel in January 2020 to go on Maternity Leave with the absolute full intention to return to my role and to the team I loved and had developed.
After a delightful 36hrs in labour my Son, Isaac, was born in February 2020, Who ever says you forget the process and the pain of labour is lying! That will live with me forever. 6 weeks after his birth the Corona Virus hit us with Lockdown 1.0 and as I write this we have now entered Lockdown 2.0 when he is just about to turn 9 months.
I was incredibly excited to get back into the gym after being approved to exercise at my 6wk GP appointment but that excitement was quickly quashed by Lockdown 1.0. After working out for 15yrs I couldn't envisage a time where I would not be able to exercise when and where I wanted to but that freedom had been taken away from me at possibly the most difficult transition time in a Women's life - post birth.
These days Women are desperate to get their pre-pregnancy body back and I hold my hands up...I was one of them! How was I going to do this with limited equipment, time and space!? AS WELL as bond with my Newborn! It's stressful enough being a first time Mum and trying to learn everything let alone trying to navigate a situation that our generation has never experienced before. In a way I was lucky that my knowledge and experience in the H&F industry gave me the ability to put some ideas together about how I could get my workouts in with all the restrictions that were being applied to me. If I didn't have equipment, time and I wanted to spend as much time with Isaac as possible why couldn't I incorporate Isaac into my workouts?
It's worth me mentioning that I am a slight control freak and exercise forms part of that but I would never put my body in a position where I could harm it so whilst I was desperate to get my (slightly bigger bum) back to the gym as quick as possible I waited for my 6wk GP check up.
It was clear when I started to exercise again that my body was NOTHING like it was before, especially my core control which I had always been very proud of. My return to "normality" was going to take some time and patience.
Over the weeks of Lockdown 1.0 I started to appreciate exactly what my body had achieved and was becoming more and more impressed of the body I was building. Granted I was heavier and my physique looked completely different to pre-pregnancy (plus constant bags under my eyes) but I found I was happier now than I was before! Not only was I enjoying myself but Isaac was thoroughly enjoying his time being thrown around and I like to think enjoying spending time with Mummy.
This take us up to where we are today! 9 months in and we both enjoy working out so I thought to myself why do I need to go back to the corporate management lifestyle when I can spend more time at home with Isaac and share my knowledge and experience with you all!
First Steps Fitness is here to help every Woman not just through her journey of Pregnancy and Beyond but to help ALL Women in every aspect of their lives achieve their goals and aspirations of how they want to look and feel. Whether that's exercising with your baba or exercising with us Girls.
I hope you enjoy your journey with us and find your love of exercising.