Our much-anticipated ‘Empowering Women In Fitness’ Event took place on Friday 23rd September. This was Fitssi’s first ever event and what better way to celebrate the upcoming launch of the Fitssi app than an evening full of inspiration, female empowerment, positive vibes and the most delicious food & protein shakes!

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Fitssi – Empowering Women In Fitness Event 23/9

Our much-anticipated ‘Empowering Women In Fitness’ Event took place on Friday 23rd September. This was Fitssi’s first ever event and what better way to celebrate the upcoming launch of the Fitssi app than an evening full of inspiration, female empowerment, positive vibes and the most delicious food & protein shakes!

The downstairs studio of the Lorna Jane Active store in Covent Garden was buzzing with around 80 women talking about fitness, sharing their stories, and encouraging each other – the feeling of community and mutual support was amazing. As we chatted we enjoyed delicious rainbow salads and chocolate brownies from Soulmate Food, refreshing Watermelon juice from What A Melon, and sweet, creamy protein shakes from Whey Box. Our guests could then get their hair beautifully braided by the Braid Bar before grabbing an Instagram prop and having a fun picture taken in our special photo frame, ready to upload onto social media with #NeverTrainAlone to be in with a chance of winning a block of personal training sessions once the Fitssi app launches!

After lots of fun, chat, glamour, food & photos it was time to take a seat and listen to our Empowering Women panel speak about their journeys into the health & fitness industry. We were extremely lucky and grateful to have five amazing women guests, each with a unique story to share, and valuable advice to impart.

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Melissa Weldon, 1Rebel Master & FemPower Founder, was the first to share her journey to fitness and body confidence and she spoke openly and honestly about her past issues with body image. Melissa used to stick to a very strict (and boring!) diet and trained endlessly to achieve what she thought would be the perfect body. She explained that even though she may have looked physically strong, it was actually the least happy and least healthy time of her life. Melissa finally realised that it’s not about how you look but rather how you feel and what your body can do. She’s now the happiest and strongest she’s ever been; she trains because she loves it and she doesn’t restrict herself – if she sometimes wants pizza and a glass of wine she’ll have it and feel amazing for it because hey, it’s damn tasty! Melissa founded the community Fempower to help women find their self worth beyond the scales, beyond the mirror and beyond the Instagram likes – something we should all be getting behind!

Grace from GraceFitUK, social media star & fitness influencer, was next to tell us how she found a passion for fitness. Grace has over 100,000 followers on Instagram so is a force to be reckoned with and a fitness inspiration for thousands of women. Grace is confident and strong but told us that she hasn’t always felt that way – she explained that she kept her love of going to the gym secret for a long time because she felt embarrassed by it; she didn’t think she looked like the sort of girl who was into fitness and she felt ashamed of her body. In time Grace came to realise it’s not about how you look, it’s about being proud of what you’ve got and making the most of your assets – “fitness doesn’t look the same on everyone” she said. Grace told us she envied girls with long, slim legs and would dream of having legs like that, but she’s learnt instead to focus on what she’s happy with – namely a super slim waist and a booty any girl would be pleased to own! Grace keeps a balanced, positive and healthy outlook on life with no self-judgement; she told us all how she hadn’t gone to the gym that day but had eaten 2 cupcakes – not that she would do that every day – it’s all about balance!

Leigh Fergus, former model & Be:Fit London founder, then shared her story. Leigh instantly captivated the room with her laid-back, positive attitude and determination. She told us about her negative experience in the modeling industry and how she’d left modeling to pursue a career in events, which resulted in her managing and marketing the largest ever Race For Life event, the Cancer Research UK all-woman run to raise funds for breast cancer. After this huge success Leigh was promoted within Cancer Research UK and also supported the Sports Team at the London Marathon. She talked about these demanding job roles and described how she often felt out of her depth, but she was determined, worked hard and believed in herself. Leigh believes it’s her can-do attitude that has helped her succeed and surpass expectations and targets. Then Leigh told us that one day she read a statistic that changed her life – only 1 in 5 women in the UK think of themselves as fit, healthy and happy. This hit Leigh hard – she was horrified that so few women see themselves as being healthy and happy, and she decided she passionately wanted to change that, so she decided to launch Be:Fit London, Europe’s only health & fitness festival dedicated to women. Advocating that “fit is better than thin” and “strong is the new skinny”, Be:Fit London helps women feel healthier & happier by organising motivational talks, fitness classes, health checks, body treatments, food stalls and many other exciting ideas. The first Be:Fit London took place in March 2014 with over 10,000 women joining in and it’s only grown since – so Leigh really has made a big impact on the female fitness industry. Leigh made the women in the room feel capable of anything – her message was, if you put your mind to it, you can achieve it!

Lisa-Jane Holmes – ‘LJ’ (or WildCatFit as she’s known on social media), personal trainer extraordinaire and fitness blogger, was next to introduce herself. LJ spoke with such openness it felt like she was talking to a group of best friends. She told us how she’s gone from a young girl who was

bullied at school, suffered with anorexia and bulimia, and who’d do anything to get out of P.E class, to a woman who feels empowered, strong and confident in her own body. When she was a teenager LJ was dragged along to an aerobics class by her mother and although she dreaded it, it actually turned out to be a hugely positive moment in her life. LJ had never felt good enough and she was used to girls being judgemental and unkind, but this fitness class at her local leisure centre made her feel empowered. She described how the women in the class and the female instructor didn’t care what anyone looked like and weren’t bothered by each other’s fitness levels. For the first time LJ found something she could do without being laughed at or teased – it was something she actually enjoyed too! LJ now has a successful fitness blog, teaches Body Attack and Body Pump classes and is a Lorna Jane Ambassador. LJ reminded every woman in the room that we’re all influencers – whether you have one follower on social media or 100K – you influence people on a daily basis, so say hello to the newbie at your fitness class, create motivating content on social media and support everyone in the fitness community, because you never realise just how much your words and actions can lift somebody else.

Katie Booth, our very own Fitssi CEO, was the final woman to speak to us. Katie shared her journey from suffering with an eating disorder to regaining her health & strength and crossing the finish line of a 12-mile obstacle course race called Tough Mudder, a race designed to drag you out of your comfort zone and push you to your limits – physically and mentally. Katie was rightly proud of her achievements, and we were all inspired by her story.

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Katie then spoke about the fact 75% of women find the thought of going to a gym intimidating, and how many women are too nervous to even set foot inside a gym, and this puts them off working out at all. Katie explained how shocked she is by this, and how she wants to help women find joy in exercise and banish that fear! Fitssi was founded to empower women through fitness – enabling them to train with a personal trainer without the intimidation of a gym and without expensive P.T fees. Fitssi creates a sociable, motivating and effective way to train and will help more women discover the personal power of fitness.

After hearing these amazing women speak we all felt uplifted, inspired and ready to conquer the world! Afterwards we shared our own stories and supported one another in our own efforts, dreams and ambitions. There was a beautiful buzz of positivity, empowerment and friendship – this community of kick-ass females was awesome to see!

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Here are a few of our favourite quotes from a truly inspiring night:”The entire evening was magical – honestly, I can’t think of another word. The panel was awesome and awe-inspiring, and I left feeling not only excited for the app and what it will do for so many women, but also for my own future as a woman.” – HannahRoseFit, Fitness Blogger.

“I can honestly say it was life changing. The authenticity and honesty with which each woman spoke was so incredibly inspiring. Blessed to be a part of it. ThanksFitssi, thanks wonder women panel and thank you to the beautiful women who joined us this evening… you inspired me.” – Leigh Fergus, Be:Fit London Founder.

“It was an honour not only to talk, but also to meet so many inspirational women and hear so many beautiful, positive things that people have experienced because of and through fitness. Thank you Fitssi for bringing us together. This app is going to do amazing things!” Lisa-Jane Holmes -WildCatFit.

“I left the event feeling confident, empowered and ready to conquer my last year of uni… and well, basically, the world!” – Jasmin, Fitness Blogger.

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