Based in Swindon, Sam at Inclusfit runs fully inclusive fitness classes for a wide range of participants. Sam is an experienced, award-winning fitness instructor, personal trainer and a UK Disability Fitness Expert. We caught up with her to find out more about her offer.
What is Inclusfit and what is your offer?
Inclusfit is a no-boundaries fitness solution, which means that my classes are open to absolutely everyone regardless of ability, fitness level, disability or health condition. All of my classes can be done stood up or sat down and this is what a fully inclusive class is. I also offer online personal training where all sessions are geared around the person’s individual goals and what they want to achieve.
How did Inclusfit start?
Inclusfit started because I have mild cerebral palsy and when I fell in love with Zumba as a participant, I was always the only disabled person in the classes. I then cracked a bone in my shoulder joint and through the rehab I worked with a PT friend – I had more results from working in the gym then through my actual physio. He said I should do it as a job to get more disabled people involved, and I said that I wanted to train to be a Zumba instructor a few years previously but was told I would not be able too due to my disability. After finding out what qualifications I needed to work with disabled people I found Instructability, who are funded by Sport England to train disabled people to work within the industry. I thought it sounded too good to be true, but I applied. A few weeks later I found out I had an interview, which was successful, and within a week I was starting my training.
I believe I have had the best possible training with Instructability and it gave me far more confidence and knowledge to go out there and be able to work with disabled people of any age. I have gone on to achieve many further qualifications since, and I am now a Level 4 rehab/ neurological specialist. I am a great believer in adding to my knowledge and that no personal trainer or fitness instructor knows everything. We are always learning, especially as the industry evolves all the time.
I have now been qualified 7.5 years, and I have achieved so much in this time. I became a master trainer for Clubbercise, training disabled people to become instructors, and educating current instructors on how to make their classes fully inclusive to disabled participants and how to adapt routines for different scenarios. I have also worked with other group fitness brands – I have assisted with writing manuals on working with disabled participants, helped to create a seated SOSA brand, and became the first disabled fitness presenter in the UK. I have since presented at many of the UK’s top fitness conventions.
How has Inclusfit coped with 2020?
I had built my business up last year – I was going into local day provisions and charities and all my classes were going swimmingly. Then Covid hit. I actually came back from holiday straight into lockdown. Whilst I was away in Cuba for my birthday, I was getting messages of cancelled work and on returning to the UK I really had to act quickly to keep my business running. I looked at what other instructors were doing nationally, and they had all taken their businesses online. I researched online platforms to stream from, and after testing several out with a few of my participants. We all chose Zoom and I was so lucky that participants donated so I could upgrade to the pro version.
I was lucky that I was in touch with most of my participants through Facebook or WhatsApp for the classes they attended. I picked a few more up through sharing information in local, free for-sale groups. I am in a few cerebral palsy groups too, and I picked up a few clients from there. I also worked with a CP charity – Adult CP Hub – on a movement challenge, as so many people with CP were struggling with the lack of movement, including myself.
I had a steady stream of clients through the first lockdown, and when I went back to face-to-face clients, I managed to gain more for the second lockdown. I have lost a bulk of gym-based classes thanks to Covid, but I have managed to move them online and keep them going until I am able to find a new, affordable venue for them. Covid has hit the fitness/leisure industry really hard, especially as it is used a lot for rehabilitation and condition management.
What are your ambitions for the future?
In the future I am hoping to design a training /CPD course for instructors and expand my online business to include on-demand classes. The short term is about finishing off a few qualifications I started this year.
How can people get involved in your classes?
My classes are evenings and Saturday morning and they include: Clubbercise, HIIT, Rockbox, Zumba + Zumba toning.
Personal training sessions are available too, please contact me for more information if this is of interest to you.
I am running the 12 days of Fitmas on my social media platforms so please come across and join in!