Online fitness classes for mums seem like a great idea to help you stay mentally well and to improve your physical health too. I am delighted to share my interview with Claire Cole , Founder, Movement for Mums. As with so many of my inspirational business women, she shows that whatever your background and education, if you have a dream and enough self-belief you can do just about anything.
Tell us a little about your childhood and teenager years
I grew up at the bottom of the valleys in South Wales. My mum worked in the local Supermarket canteen as a cook. My Dad had a haulage business and I spent all of my school holidays in the cab of his truck. Holiday camps and clubs were unheard of in the mid 70’s in Wales! At the age of 4 we moved from a pretty normal suburban semi to a rural house on the edge of a forest in the middle of the countryside with a goat, chickens and other random animals for company. Unfortunately I wasn’t living out the idyllic adventure stories of an Enid Blyton and it was actually very lonely. The loneliness growing up has definitely shaped who I am today, I live in London and I love the noise, even the smoggy air and the constant people, it makes me feel safe.
I was an average state comprehensive educated teen. I dreamed of being a Journalist and went off at 18 to sit the entrance exams for three Journalism colleges but sadly I was rejected by all 3. Looking back it would of helped to have read a paper back by then!
What was your first job? What did you learn from this?
At the age of 14 I had 3 jobs, back in the days when no one asked for a national insurance number. I worked in a 7-11, did telesales for a mobile carpet showroom and was a cashier in a petrol station. My mum didn’t learn to fully read and write until she was in her 40’s but she gave me an unwavering work ethic and an ethos that if you wanted something you needed to go out and earn it. I learnt that working hard didn’t mean success. I watched my dad work both days and nights to hold a roof over us and I remember the day my mum found out he hadn’t been paying the mortgage. From that day forward my mum took over the finances and I grew up in a family where my mum was definitely wearing the trousers! With my first 7-11 pay check of £11.60, I spent £6.50 of it on a pink lip gloss, I can still remember the pride and the pleasure of spending my earned money.
I learnt that your destiny is what you create and you have the power to be anything you want to be. I think it’s way back then that I developed an unwavering belief in myself. I believed that with all my disadvantages I could go and be whatever I chose to be.
What led to you setting up your business?
In my 20’s I was agoraphobic and in my 30’s I was on the verge of postnatal psychosis. I returned to work when my second son was 6 months old toa brand new job with an investment bank. Even though this is only 4 years ago there was no mental health or physical health support for me at work. Fitness had always played a huge part in my mental health healing journey and I knew 4 years ago that I wanted to create a fitness brand to support maternal mental health. The Movement for Mums method was born, albeit in my head at this point! I went on to talk about it for 3 years before last year when I took the plunge. I had one of those teary conversations with my husband that ended in either you believe in me or it’s divorce and I did it. Back in 2019 I launched my home live streamed fitness channel to support mums with their physical and mental health. This was born out of me juggling the kids, husband’s and boss’s demands and having no time for me and my mental health heading once again for the shredder.
What are your services?
I offer live home streamed fitness classes via a dedicated channel of 25 minute body weight workouts with me live amongst other guest instructors and experts. Back in November when I launched, Coronavirus wasn’t really on the scene and I felt there was a need to focus on fitness to boost mental health for women. I offer a membership platform to individuals which is currently free and a return to work programme for companies to help support returning mum’s with their mental and physical health.
What makes your business special?
Most people tell me it’s me! I launched my business to help other mums. I didn’t go into it to just make money (in fact I haven’t made any) and they tell me that they feel and see my authenticity. I am totally living my best life by doing what makes other people feel good and makes me feel good.
What tip would you give to someone who wants to set up a business but lacks self-belief?
If you believe in yourself other people will believe in you. You might have fears and that’s OK as we all have fears but remember why you are starting a business. I started Movement for Mums to help other mums. When I’ve wavered or when I’ve woken up in the night and wondered what the hell I’m doing I remember the mums who email and message me and tell me that I’ve inspired them. I remind myself that I set out to help people and to make a difference to their lives.
How do you ensure you look after yourself properly? What do you do for self-care?
I practice what I preach in my online fitness classes for mums. I workout as neither Hell nor Coronavirus stops me from finding a way to fit some form of movement into my day. It helps me get out of my head and forget my stresses and makes me feel like I am better equipped to face the day. Once a week I treat myself to a really strong Jack Daniels & Ginger Ale too!
Who supported you as you set up your business?
My husband and my kids. I wouldn’t be able to do this without them. They’ve shaped me in ways that I wasn’t always prepared for mentally and physically but they have an unwavering belief in me and they see how much I love doing what I’m doing.
What things would you like to see change about the position of women in society?
Flexible working was never available to me in my old corporate life, I would love all companies to embrace a more flexible approach to work life balance for mums, dads and non-parents. Being healthy, happy and mentally & physically strong makes for a much more productive workforce so I don’t know why it’s still not the norm.
If you could recommend one book to women what would it be and why?
I only ready trashy escapist fiction and I love it. I would always recommend to read for you, read to escape, read to laugh, read to cry and read to feel.
If you could recommend one website to women, what would it be and why?
Next, I love a bit of online shopping. The act of adding it all to my basket thrills me but what I do is I don’t checkout the basket and buy anything. I leave it to the next day (at least 24 hours later) and then I go back and I mostly realise that I don’t want most of it. Sometimes I don’t want any of it but if I really want something then I buy it and it makes me feel amazing.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Believe in yourself and follow your dreams, they may not take your where you think you want them to but live your life having tried rather than having wished you had. I am over the moon that I went ahead and offered online fitness classes for mums like me. If you do find yourself becoming a fitness enthusiast, there’s so many different practises within exercise and fitness, such as, yoga, Pilates and even exercise to music. There are personal training courses that will allow you teach in a gym, online and you could even run outside fitness classes.
Do you take part in any online fitness classes for mums at home?