Fitness, reloaded Lindsay Harris left her corporate career to start a fitness company that would provide clients with effective, personal classes without the permanence of lengthy gym memberships. She started the venture in parking bays of malls in Pretor
I worked at Deloitte in Tax and Legal. I then resigned and started working for my dad in our family business.
Where did the idea come from?
While working for my dad, I couldn’t help but feel that I wanted to do something by myself – even as a small sideline thing. I’ve always been very passionate about sports and fitness, so I decided to start a small outdoor training group.
What motivated you to turn it
After running my training group on the side for about a year, I realised how much I loved working with people in achieving their health and fitness goals. I also realised that there was a lot of potential to grow. So I resigned from my job with my dad and pursued FitFirst (FF) full time. At that stage, my business model was not at all clear. All I knew was that there was a lot of potential in the fitness industry, and I loved what I was doing.
How did you make the first class happen?
I posted an amateur video on Facebook, which got me my first three clients! They are still with me today – almost three years later – in our virtual studio.
When did you officially start operating?
FF has officially been operating since the beginning of 2014. I was at Pretoria Country Club but I struggled to expand from there due to weather elements and lack of viable outdoor options. I then came up with the idea to rent parking bays and running an “urban boot camp” in the basements of malls. I started at The Club Centre (a shopping centre in Hazelwood, Pretoria) in August 2014. The idea was to open urban boot camps at various malls. Unfortunately I could not win the malls over to allow me to rent parking bays, so after a year I was back to the drawing board. That’s when I came across the virtual studio idea. We opened our studio on 1 February this year.
How does the virtual studio work?
Workouts are pre-recorded and edited to inform clients on what they need to do, when to do it and how to do it. Instruction regarding your form for each exercise, which interval of the set you are on and a timer are all displayed on the screens on studio, along with the actual workout on screen. Added to this, we have a personal trainer in each session to guide, motivate and instruct clients. So our clients get best of both worlds – modern technology with motivational onscreen instruction, and traditional one-on-one personal attention from a trainer in a group environment.
Where do you currently operate? Tell us about your expansion plans.
We are still at The Club Centre in Pretoria. We have had immense interest from people
FitFirst plans to grow its retail front in the future.
The FitFirst virtual studio opened at The Club Centre in Pretoria on 1 February.
Lindsay Harris Founder and owner of FitFirst