Welcome to the Fitssi Wonderwomen series, where we’ll be spotlighting ladies who inspire us to be our best. By telling their stories and journeys into fitness, we hope to inspire you too! First up, it’s the founders of ethical activewear brand, Bella Kinesis. Meet two ladies who left their city jobs to start their own business; activewear made for real women with real bodies. Roshni and Shaleena, founders of Bella Kinesis, share their inspiring journey into fitness.
Welcome to the Fitssi Wonder Women series, where we’ll be spotlighting ladies who inspire us to be our best. By telling their stories and journeys into fitness, we hope to inspire you too! First up, it’s the founders of ethical activewear brand, Bella Kinesis.
Meet two ladies who left their city jobs to start their own business; activewear made for real women with real bodies. Roshni and Shaleena, founders of Bella Kinesis, share their inspiring journey into fitness from an unlikely start.
Roshni and Shaleena, please introduce yourselves and explain what Bella Kinesis is all about…
Shaleena and I have been best friends since we were kids. We were never the sporty girls at school. Fitness seemed so intimidating to us. We weren’t picked for any teams and were often made to feel incompetent because we couldn’t make it over hurdles or cradle a lacrosse stick. It made us think that fitness just wasn’t for us.
As we grew up, staying healthy and active became more important. As we started to shop for sportswear, we found that most brands seemed to target women who were already fit and neglected those who were just starting to get active. We started Bella Kinesis because we wanted to make activewear for women like us – sometimes we go for yoga, sometimes we go for pizza.
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Bella Kinesis aims to be encouraging and inclusive for women at any and every fitness level. As we were getting stronger and more confident through fitness and also from working on something that we loved, we decided we wanted to help other women feel the same. We created a ‘strength for strength’ mission which would help support one woman in India with every item sold. We are able to do this through our partnership with the Mann Deshi Foundation. For every item we sell, we donate $5, which funds a one month business education for one woman so that she can go on and start her own business.
What kick-started your journey into fitness, and what keeps you motivated now?
Initially, we got into fitness because we both had different weight issues that we needed to address. But as we both got stronger we found ourselves feeling more confident, which had nothing to do with our weights. We enjoy trying crazy new workouts like trampolining or kangoo jumping, and we work out for the endorphins, not to burn calories. Sometimes we go to classes with friends, which is always fun but during the week it’s more about finding some time and space to zone out or blow off steam.
What’s your favourite way to train?
Roshni: I go for regular yoga classes at Triyoga Camden. Dynamic Vinyasa classes are my favourite as you get the great combination of a sweaty workout along with a long relaxing, mind-clearing savasana.
Shaleena: Barry’s Bootcamp. I can’t walk for two days afterwards but it’s definitely the best workout in London!
What do you think is the biggest challenge faced by women around training and fitness?
Women are always being shown how they ‘should’ look and I think that’s what puts a lot of them off fitness. Sometimes if they don’t look like the instructor or the stereotypical image of someone who attends the classes, they assume they can’t do the activity. A lot of women have had negative experiences with fitness in the past, like we have, which also makes them think they’re not suited to exercise. Shaleena and I can’t count the number of times we’ve heard ‘I can’t run’ when trying to recruit people to join our running club. It’s just a mental block and that’s what we really want to address with our brand.
How does Bella Kinesis support women on their health and fitness journeys? Do you have any tips for women new to training?
Given our own past experiences with fitness, we wanted to create clothes that would make women feel supported and comfortable and events that would make exercise accessible. It can be quite daunting to try something new as an adult. You’re always afraid that you might look stupid and those childhood anxieties of being the last in class come rushing back. What you eventually realise, however, is that no one is looking at you. It’s not school and it’s not a competition. Everyone in the class is just like you. They’re focusing on enjoying their workout and working on improving their strength. Don’t be afraid to try something on your own. It’s great to have a workout buddy but in the end your fitness is all about you.
What’s your favourite workout tune?
Roshni: ‘Pompei’ by Bastille
Shaleena: ‘I’m in Control’ by AlunaGeorge
Last but not least, what’s your favourite not-so-healthy treat?
Roshni: Salted caramel anything….
Shaleena: A burger from Tommi’s Burger Joint!
Find out more about their story, Bella Kinesis and the Strength For Strength campaign