Meet Super-mum Nina of F45 Stafford, Newstead, and West End
Nina own three F45 studios in Brisbane: West-End, Stafford, and Newstead. She’s an entrepreneur, fitness trainer, and proud mum to Alastair and Harriet. We caught up with this busy super-mum to talk about finding her work-life-family balance, maintaining a fitness regime as a mum, and her entrepreneurial journey.
What started your entrepreneurial journey? How did you end up owning 3 wildly successful F45 studios?
My partner and I were working in jobs we weren’t passionate about. We weren’t happy with what we were doing with our careers, so we decided we needed to take a risk and do something that we loved.
When we first started we never envisioned owning three studios! We weren’t sure what F45 was all about, but after visiting a studio in Sydney and training in the first F45 studio in QLD (F45 Mooloolaba) for 2 weeks we thought we’d give it a go. It was a major risk and we even worked out how long we’d have to pay the loan off if it didn’t work out for us. It was a huge decision, but it was so worth it!
Drew had to keep working for the first 6 months to support our family and I was doing 80-hours a week on my own to get the business up and running. I was teaching every single session of the day, but it was amazing! We made it work—After 6-months, Drew got to leave his job and come on board full-time.
As avid gym-goers, we saw that typical gym environments lacked a sense of community. F45 is all about service and helping people achieve their goals and building a meaningful relationship while at the same time pushing our members beyond their personal limits.
A year and a half after we bought Newstead, we bought Stafford. And a year and a half after that, West End (the first studio in Brisbane) went up for sale.
We had a meeting with one of our trainers, Kat who has been with us originally as a member at Newstead, then a trainer at Newstead and Stafford. We thought she would be perfect to be a business partner for West End and now she’s part-owner. This journey has been incredible.
What would be your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Know what your goals are and stay true to them because there will be bumps in the road, but if you stay true to your standards and values, you’ll get there in the right way.
Our values are ‘The relentless pursuit of results’. When we relentlessly pursue results for our community, our team, for our business and our family, we know we’re pursuing things important to us especially during the times where it can be challenging.
What do you think is essential for maintaining that work-life-family balance?
Communication is key between myself and my Fiance Drew. Both of us have fitness goals and work responsibilities so it’s important that we communicate openly so that neither of us misses out on the things that are important to us.
We are super supportive of each other and that makes achieving a work-life balance possible (most times). Something’s always got to give; If you put too much into work, your family will suffer. If you put everything into your family, your work will suffer.
I’m still figuring this out. For me, scheduling and prioritising is key, otherwise, I end up chasing my tail and always being late.
Training advice for mums that are pregnant who want to keep active?
If you are already training, there’s no need to stop. Being pregnant is not an illness— your body can handle it if you’ve been training prior to pregnancy.
At every trimester there are some things that you will need to ease up on so make sure you get advice from a trainer that has experience with pregnancy and training as every pregnancy is different.
I would offer different modifications to make mum and baby feel safe, but also to ensure that you respect what is happening with your body during as your progress with your pregnancy. A lot of it is about having awareness of what feels right for your body and ensuring you have someone experienced to guide your training.
As a trainer and mum yourself, with a 6-week old. Can you tell us about coming back to the gym after childbirth?
The Golden Rule for returning to training after childbirth is 6-weeks postpartum for a natural delivery or 8-weeks if you’ve had a C-section. We always request a clearance from your doctor after a C-section as it’s a big surgery and we want to make sure your body is ready.
I felt comfortable enough to get into weights again after 3-weeks and at 6 weeks postpartum I am still taking it very easy. I am mainly focussing on upper body, pelvic floor and maintaining a body weight program for lower body.
I am still not ready to add in exercises like lunges as my pelvis and joints are still very loose and this causes me discomfort so keeping both legs on the ground for stability at all times! I am slowly building my core strength again with advice from my chiropractor and haven’t started cardio yet.
It’s all about listening to your body and being comfortable with your capabilities. Do what’s right for you and be willing to take advice from professionals.
I know many mums can relate to putting too much pressure on themselves. I need to realise when I’m putting too much pressure to look a certain way or be a certain way. I need to stay true to my work and look after my body And respect where I am at physically.
Can you share some advice for new mums that you've found helpful?
Don’t be so hard on yourselves. It can be daunting being a new mum. You read all the books, and they’re all conflicting and confusing. You feel like you’re not doing anything right, but this is your baby and your baby is different to the baby in the book. Just do you and don’t be so hard on yourself.
Build a community of support. Surround yourself with other mothers. At my Stafford studio, we run a 9:30 am class which is mainly filled with beautiful supportive mummas.
We have someone looking after their babies and children while they’re working on their fitness and focusing on themselves for 45 minutes. The mums go for coffee afterwards, and it’s a great sense of community and support.
What has been your favourite moment as a mum so far?
The first time we went on a holiday with our son, Alastair when he was 3 years old. It was the first time we’ve spent more than 3 days with him. Prior to that, it was all work and building the business.
It was 7 days of being at the beach and hanging out as a family, and we thought “Shit! This kid is crazy!”
We had so much fun with him and have focused heavily on a lot more family time since that holiday. It’s my favourite and memorable family moment, and now that we have Harriet, we’ll create more.
You’ve started a new membership program at F45 made especially for new mums. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
It’s the active mum’s membership that’s currently only at Stafford. It’s designed for new mums 6-weeks postpartum with clearance from their doctor. It can be hard to find the balance of what your body is capable of after 6 weeks, and generally, mums stop training part way through their pregnancy, so you don’t want to get back into training so quickly.
We designed this membership with 2 sessions with us at F45 Stafford and 2 yoga sessions with Jamie at Living Well Hub—located up the road from us.
Jamie will help rebuild strength in your core and pelvic floor and we will work on building strength everywhere else! It’s a great way to bring mums together and provide an environment where they can feel comfortable.
Nina is all about entrepreneurship, fitness, motherhood, and community building!
If you're interested in the Stafford F45 Active mums membership or would like to connect with Nina click on the button below!