You'll have heard me talk about my former life as an Account Manager in the high-pressure world of Advertising and the effects that can have on your liver, your body and your mental health. So i was truly inspired to hear about a fellow comrade of the Advertising world who gave it all up to follow her dream, a bit like moi!
Claire Finlay worked at JWT for many years, but her entrepreneurial spirit was calling her and she gave it all up to start her own fitness training business. A few years later and she's thriving, but if you read our interview with her you'll see why - she's tenacious, she's inspiring and she knows exactly what she wants in life.
Read more about claire and be inspired by her story as she our Wellness guru seat this week ......and keep an eye on our Facebook page for her amazing competition prize on offer.
1. Tell us about yourself Claire, and how you got to be where you are today?
Two words: Hard work!
It all started when I took a work sabbatical from my job at global ad agency JWT and headed off to an ashram in southern India some 15 years ago. Having changed career, I started Personal Training clients in my home studio. My way of training seemed to really hit the mark, word spread and to cope with demand I had to find a bigger space.
I started with a 6 month pop-up and then in May 2014 took the plunge and opened Transition Zone in Parsons Green. It’s a brilliant space: 3,000 square feet of open plan, urban edginess with a Recovery Cafe that offers freshly prepared organic smoothies, juices and nutrient packed power snacks. The studio is big enough that we’ve been able to host supper clubs and community events. I’m really keen to educate people on all things related to health and fitness so we’ve organised workshops, fitness collaborations, events and have lots more in the pipeline.
2. Tell us how you spend your average working day
My days start early; I’m usually at the studio by 6.15am and teaching or training myself by 6.30/45am. I then race back home to get my daughter ready for school before heading back for the next run of teaching from 8.30am-11am, which is usually a combination of classes and personal training sessions.
After that I’ll squeeze in some admin and catch up on emails while knocking back a smoothie from our Recovery Cafe. Then the lunchtime crowd come in off I go again.
I usually have some time to sit down mid afternoon but not for long as I’m back to school for pick up and then spend time helping my daughter with homework or ferrying her to various after school clubs. Once she’s sorted, I’m back at the studio for the evening shift until 9pm – my days are long but I have a good team around to help and support – I’m just a bit of a control freak... I like to call it VERY hands on!
I start every day with hot water and the juice of half a lemon. It naturally hydrates, oxygenates and leaves me feeling refreshed and revitalised. It’s also incredibly alkalising and makes me feel less bad about the coffee that I drink mid-morning! Breakfast is usually chia with almond milk which I pimp with fresh berries, nuts, seeds. If I’m flagging later on I’ll get one of my nutritionists to whizz up a green smoothie and then for lunch and dinner I have an amazing Pollen & Grace box delivered (organic clean healthy salad boxes). At the weekends I have a bit more time and can afford to eat more but I still keep it pretty clean - protein such as fish and chicken with loads of chargrilled veggies and salads. We never use the oven at home - winter or summer, everything is whacked on the barbecue. My husband’s in charge of that one.
3. What inspires you?
The memory of my mum keeps me going. She taught me to always have a go, give it my best shot and never give up. Everything I’ve done I’ve done for her.
4. What’s your goal in life?
To work hard now so I don’t have to later... at least not too much later.
5. What does Wellness mean to you?
I think Wellness is optimal physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. It’s that harmonious feeling when everything is working in sync with each other.
6. What advice would you give to a person looking to transform their life?
Do your research and look at the reasons why you want to change. Don’t compare yourself to others and dream of a world or existence that’s simply not attainable. Transformation can comes in all shapes - be it physical, mental, attitudinal.
7. Tell us more about your Training Methods and what differentiates them from others on the market?
I think methods of training are all just reinvented with a different label. In essence it’s about putting the effort in and the results will come. However, what works for one person’s body may not work for another; it’s about devising a plan that’s totally bespoke and tailored towards the individual’s goals.
For every session I like to mix it up in order to keep it fresh and to keep the body guessing. It avoids the dreaded plateau phase and keeps people motivated.
Strength work – don’t be frightened to lift heavy weights (safely). You need to feel challenged to see changes in your body. Equally you can use your own body weight too.... no equipment needed!
Cardio: splice short bursts with longer, endurance-based efforts. Try sprints flat and then uphill.
Flexibility and mobility: a good sports massage pays enormous dividends both in terms of recovery and looking and feeling good. Get a regular yoga session in the diary is very important too.
The name, Transition Zone, comes from my triathlon days and relates to fitness training’s phenomenal transformative powers. All our classes are deliberately kept very small (a maximum of 10) so that clients receive a truly personalised service but remain part of a group environment. I wanted to create a buzz where you can see other classes going on at the same time as yours and feel motivated and inspired about what you might potentially do next. We only offer tried and tested disciplines, ones that truly bring about change. Like our general approach and attitude to health and fitness, you won’t find anything faddy or trend driven on our timetable.
8. Tell us your Top 3 Tips for Wellness?
Keep your exercise regular with a mix of cardio, strength & conditioning and yoga.
Spend time away: Be it holidays overseas, time with friends or weekends en famille – make room in your life to step away from your routine and experience new things.