For many females, experiencing low self confidence and a dislike of their bodies is a common part of growing up. Having been there herself, and having seen it herself through her clients at the gym, local personal trainer Lauren Cook discovered a unique and supportive way to help girls find a new love for their bodies.
After running a Contours franchise for five years, Lauren was inspired to find a concept that would provide one-on-one training for women but at an affordable cost. One that made them feel comfortable attending a gym, and one that made them feel like they could be themselves and not have to subconsciously compete against other gym members.
“After ending at Contours, I wanted to have a more hands-on business, rather than a regular gym.” Lauren and her partner came up with the idea of a gym that provided one-on-one training with a focus on helping women to gain confidence. Gym equipment in tow, they moved into a home in St Albans Park, and spent three months building the gym themselves in their very own backyard. “I love it! I love being more hands on with the clients than being behind a desk doing paperwork. I didn’t want to work for someones gym and charge a more upmarket price for personal training. I thought if I could do it myself, I would do it myself.”
One of the reasons people may be hesitant in joining a gym is the price that comes with personal training sessions. “I completely understand why trainers charge the way they do, but I wanted to create something that was a cheaper price for people and produced better results.” Toning Fitness provides a mix of indoor equipment and outdoor classes down at Eastern Beach open for anyone to join.
Having learned the ropes of owning a business since she was nineteen, Lauren knew exactly what she wanted to provide for potential clients when her Contours journey came to an end, “I definitely felt I learnt it all through Contours. Contours taught me to do everything for myself. So I was prepared moving in with Toning Fitness.”
As all business owners will know, the journey is not always a smooth one and it is through the challenges that the biggest lessons are taught. The Contours journey was one that taught her everything she knows now. Lauren herself, navigated her way through the struggles of being a first-time business owner, ““It looked like it was succeeding, but it was failing. It was a struggle. We couldn’t just leave, and we found ourselves having to loan money. But I am such a driven person and it taught me that having a failing business does make you appreciate how busy and successful you are now.”
One of Lauren’s goals was to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for her clients, “I want to make sure the clients are comfortable with me. I make sure I meet every single member and genuinely want to talk to them and have that one-on-one. I don’t just want to focus on the workout, I want to focus on the relationship as well.” Lauren understands that not everyone likes to be pushed during their workouts and gives her members the control to move at their own pace. Lauren has grown a team of energetic and friendly trainers and is joined in the gym by sister Kahla and Sheree who also qualifies in nutrition. As well as her lovable, four-legged friend Eddy, who is a hit with the clients.
Lauren credits exercise for helping her to manage her experience with mental health, “I’d been struggling with anxiety in the past year because I was focusing more on work than my own health. Exercise is so good for you if you have anxiety or depression, it increases your adrenaline and endorphins. Seeing a psychologist and picking up exercise is a great cure.”
Having worked with girls who experienced anxiety and social anxiety Lauren would “ love to team up with doctors or psychologists and have a fitness referral plan.” Those needing the help would be in good hands with Lauren as it is one of her top priorities to create a safe space for her members, and she takes their situations into account. “I’ve worked with a lot of girls with anxiety or social anxiety and understand that some don’t feel comfortable being around a class. I wanted to open up the gym for the one-on-one.”
Alongside her hopes for a future collaboration with medical professionals, Lauren has her sights set on travel, starting a family and professional development in post-birth and pregnancy fitness.
“I’m 25 now, checked off the business side of things and I have more freedom to travel. I’d love kids down the track.” Alongside this Lauren would love to work on professional development post-birth and pregnancy fitness. “I’ve trained pregnant women up until two weeks pre-birth before, I’d love to dig deeper and work with women that have particular injuries while pregnant or particular fitness for those that have just had a baby.”
Judging by the glowing reception Toning Fitness receives on social media and the countless women who turn up to workout with Lauren and her team, her success only continues to grow. Lauren isn’t the first boss babe to put this down to a positive attitude, “try not to worry or stress. If you’re continually stressed at work you’ll keep failing, if you keep your head up you’ll be successful.”