I am thrilled to introduce you to Kirsten Osborn, Group Fitness Trainer and Personal Trainer with Optima Health and Fitness.
I first met Kirsten at my kids primary school.
My kids joined the local school during the first lockdown (as we came from Japan in February and then Australia closed the border!), so as you can imagine it was hard to meet other families at the school as we were all not supposed to socialize. We were expected to do quick drop offs and pick ups at the school gate, so I hadn’t had a chance to meet any of the other mums and dads yet.
Then one day someone called out to me from her car, and it was Kirsten Osborn! Our kids were friends in the same class, so we swapped phone numbers and arranged to have a play date with our kids. It was at our play date on the weekend that I discovered that she is a personal trainer!
I asked Kirsten if I can interview her for my blog, and I am so delighted she said yes!
Kirsten is the kindest and most genuine person. She’s also extremely strong and powerful (just see her Spin Classes on Optima’s instagram for proof! :))
Make sure you read Kirsten’s interview below and join her for exercise classes on instagram, or in person at Optima Health and Fitness after the lockdown.
Interview with Kirsten Osborn
1. Please tell me about your work with Optima and as a Fitness Trainer and how you started?
I have been working as a Group Fitness Trainer and Personal Trainer for 17 years and have been working for Optima Health and Fitness for most of that time. As a group fitness trainer I have worked in several gyms and have varied my work from being a supplementary job a few hours per week, to it now being my sole employment (until Covid-19) where I also work as 2IC to the manager. I first began working at Optima Health and Fitness as a supplementary job to my full time work as a Dance teacher. It meant early morning rises several mornings per week, but the energy and passion I felt for teaching group fitness meant it was worthwhile. My classes ranged from high cardio spin classes, strength based circuit/HIIT classes to Barre pilates and wellbeing classes.
My work as a group fitness trainer increased after the birth of my first child. The hours of teaching dance were not conducive with a newborn, and being a more flexible industry, fitness training allowed me to choose my hours and gave me opportunities to work both in and out of the gym.
Optima has a fully accredited childcare on site, so I was able to take my son to work with me. As time went on and I had my second child, I was able to take leave and return to work having both children minded the hours I worked. I also had opportunities along the way to teach at other gyms and in other studios under my own business which allowed me to become a part of a lovely community of women, taking classes at Plover Wellbeing.
My main role at Optima is taking Group Fitness classes, however I take on clients for Personal Training and work reception. We have a wonderful community of people at Optima and I love working alongside the other trainers who all have similar goals and training styles.
I became interested in the fitness industry after suffering an eating disorder in my late teens. During my recovery I wanted to learn about how to look after my body in a healthy and safe way. It was then that I decided to complete my Certificate III and IV in personal training.
2. How has been your experience during the COVID-19 pandemic? What kinds of struggles/unexpected outcomes have you had for your with Optima and as a Fitness Trainer?
Covid-19 began to start affecting Optima and gyms like many businesses. The importance of hand hygiene and wiping equipment became more important, then the distancing rule came into place which fortunately for us, we had large spaces which allowed room to train with appropriate social distancing. Then things progressed to more cleaning, bringing own mats, class numbers being reduced and changing formats to allow for non sharing of equipment etc. As a trainer it required more lateral thinking so sharing equipment no longer occurred, which meant circuit style classes change to single station and everyone had to fully clean equipment before and after class, so time needed to be allowed for that. It was then just a waiting game to when we would be closed like other businesses.
That’s when lockdown 1 happened. Initially it was a huge sense of loss, as the gym was somewhere I had been going nearly everyday for the past 7 years. The staff were like family and clients were not just clients, they were close friends. Often after classes we would go for coffee and weekend catch ups were not uncommon. So not only had I finished work, I was losing my social network and support too. The gym is a lot more than just a workplace for me, so emotionally I was devastated. I felt I had no purpose. After this initial struggle I was worried about the financial loss we would suffer from no longer working. Finally I went into the third stage of worrying about the physical affects of not training as I usually would.
Once I had overcome the initial shock, I accepted the loss of the gym as I had two children to be my sole focus, I accepted I would socialise online and not lose contact with friends and the gym supported it’s staff in its closure.
To stay connected to the Optima community the trainers decided to offer online classes which kept us connected to our members socially, mentally and physically.
Having the online classes gave me purpose once again, I could give something back, I had another focus and one where I could still be Kirsten the fitness trainer, not just Kirsten the mum.
Covid has been a rollercoaster of emotions where some days I feel fine and that we can get past this and Optima will be pumping once again, then boom, we are dealt more bad news, more restrictions and increasing cases.
Optima opened back in June for 2 1/2 weeks, which of course was not the same as we were subject to such strict hygiene measures and restricted class numbers, but it was a positive step forward and everyone was so happy to be back.
Unfortunately as covid cases increased in Victoria we were forced to close again, a harsher blow than the first time as we watch gyms in other states continuing, as we see people in other States enjoying training, group classes and outdoor exercise as we get deeper into tighter restrictions. We had just started getting used to the “new normal” before it all stopped again.
Once more we are trying to support members and any in the community free Instagram classes where they can do it in their own home.
3. What advice would you have for other business owners in a similar business or interested in starting their own business?
After Covid-19 I feel for anyone with their own business. Not only is your own income affected, but your staff and brand are also affected. I honestly have the utmost respect for people who start their own business, they are brave and I admire their faith in their service. These times are tough whether you have your own business or you are working for someone. Covid has affected every person in one way or another.
What I am taking away from this experience is that never will I take a hug for granted, never take a job for granted, a get together with friends or the opportunity to be with people.
Thank you so much Kirsten. I cried when I read your interview responses. You’re a beautiful writer! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your story.
Here are the key links for Optima Health and Fitness where Kirsten works:
- Business name: Optima Health and Fitness
- Address: 36 Milgate Drive, Mornington
- Website link
- Instagram link
Make sure you sign up for Optima Health and Fitness and go and see Kirsten’s amazing Spin, Barre, and Resistance classes as well as other classes offered by Optima trainers on Instagram!