Fitness student and mum Debbie sets up her own business

Mum of three and fitness student, Debbie, recently completed fitness and nutrition courses from home with Open Study College. As a mum, Debbie needed a flexible way of studying that she could fit around her busy lifestyle. Debbie chose the distance learning route and after successfully completing her courses, she set up her own fitness business to help other mums keep fit. We caught up with Debbie to find out more about her motivations for changing her career, choosing distance learning as a fitness student, and what advice she would give to other mums wanting to study.

You have started your own fitness company for busy mums who want help with their mental and physical health. Where did the idea develop?

I found as a busy full-time mum of three children that opportunities to exercise without little ones in tow were limited. I also found that on the rare occasions in the evenings when I did have the chance to prioritise movement, I was too exhausted. I realised I wasn't alone and that other women endured the same struggles. This was when I decided that to make fitness more accessible, I would create a class/sessions in which children were always welcome to join meaning women could enjoy fitness without the worry of childcare issues whilst creating positive examples for the children.

What can mums expect from your classes? And how is it beneficial to busy mums?

Ladies can expect a quick efficient workout using their own body weight (and sometimes the added weight of their toddlers!). My sessions are just 20 minutes making them easy to fit into a busy day.

Why did you want to train as a fitness instructor?

I decided to retrain as a fitness instructor as I had a growing interest in this area. I wanted to ensure I was suitably prepared to teach others how to improve their physical and mental wellbeing and Open Study College was the place I knew I could achieve this due to their flexible method of learning.

Were you apprehensive about starting an entirely new career?

I was apprehensive, but with 19 years of childcare and family support work behind me, this was just another avenue to explore and another way to help families grow and develop. Studying with a new baby wasn't always easy, but developing knowledge in a new area of interest made it all worthwhile and kept me motivated.

How did you find distance learning? And what made you consider distance learning as an option?

Distance learning via OSC was my only option as I couldn't commit to physically leaving the house child-free - much like the ladies I train! I appreciated that each module didn't have a specific time frame so when things were busier at home, or one of the children was unwell; I didn't have the added pressure of a deadline! Being able to manage my own learning schedule with Open Study College was really beneficial and kept the process enjoyable.

How do you organise your time between being a mum and helping other mums with their fitness journey?

The main benefit for me is that my little one, just like the mums I worked with, could come with me! I had the luxury of working with like-minded ladies, helping them achieve their goals, whilst also still being around my own child. It is very rewarding to know I am juggling my responsibilities whilst sacrificing none of them.

Who influences you as a mother? Who is your role model in life?

I think any mother who can juggle life daily is my role model. Life can be stressful and the days busy but mums just do it all! I look up to all Mums. Those who are home full time, those who work full-time, and those who do a bit of both!

Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

I have just accepted a really interesting role in the community working in dietetics, thanks to my OSC nutrition qualification. The scheme will support adults who are malnourished due to health issues or dietary choices. I will be doing this part-time alongside my fitness routine!

So in five years, I will hopefully have progressed in my career and will hopefully be able to continue to help many more people look at fitness as a lifestyle and a priority.

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Sharnie Carter

Passionate about marketing and education. Currently studying a CIM Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing via distance learning. When I'm not working or studying, I'm spending time with my young son and husband or hinching!

Fitness student and mum Debbie sets up her own business