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Giving back to the community is important to SwitchFIT founders Kelly Payne (left) and Sam Edward who are pictured at a prostate cancer charity walk they organised at Christchurch Adventure Park.

Online fitness hub thriving

An online fitness business created by friends Kelly Payne and Sam Edward, who are based in Woodend and Northwood, is making it easy and affordable for people throughout New Zealand and overseas to stay fit.

The duo, who studied personal training together, set up SwitchFIT a year ago to reach a wider audience and to cater to people wanting a flexible approach to fitness.

Kelly was struggling to keep up with demand for her personal training business BellaBody, so it made sense to launch an online offering.

“With personal training, two children and competitive sport, it’s difficult to see heaps of people in a day. It’s awesome to be online and reach out to so many people. It’s also more affordable than one-on-one time.”

It took a while for the pair to feel comfortable using the live-stream and doing a class without a live audience. A year later, they’re very comfortable in front of a screen, with their classes live-streamed via a private Facebook page.

“It’s great because you have interaction going on during the class with people commenting throughout the workout. We can tailor classes to what people want.

“Some people do live classes, while others watch when it suits them. If they watch the recording, they can pause the workout and grab a drink or take a break if needed.”

Using Facebook Live and their phones, Kelly and Sam deliver four classes per week from wherever they are on that day. They’ve streamed from their homes, the beach, Wanaka and even overseas.

“If we’re travelling, we just fit the workout around our location and members see that you can exercise wherever you are which makes it more real.

“We’ll take our workouts to Fiji and the USA in the next few months, so we’ll give our members a bit of look at where we’re staying before jumping into the workout.”

SwitchFIT operates via a subscription service with members ranging from young mums through to retirees.

“We cater for all levels with classes including HIIT, core and strength workouts. There’s always a beginner and a more advanced option, and no equipment is needed. Every now and then we might use a chair or a drink bottle, and sometimes we’ll do bonus sessions like Swiss ball workouts.”

Three months ago, mobility and stretch workouts were added to the online programme.

“Members love these classes, so we’re releasing a new monthly 20-minute mobility session. We encourage members to do these on their rest days or regularly if their goal is to increase flexibility and range of motion.”

Kelly and Sam were originally concerned about their children interrupting live streaming sessions, but they’ve learned to embrace it and now they sometimes include them in the sessions.

“My son did a workout earlier this week. If you’re a mum, it can be hard to have time for yourself so why not get the kids to join in and exercise together.”

SwitchFIT is also passionate about giving back to the community. Late last year, around 200 people, including SwitchFIT members, did a walk for prostate cancer at Christchurch Adventure Park which raised over $600. They’re holding another event on October 20th at the Adventure Park to raise funds for mental health.

“It’s a great cause and since we don’t get to meet all of our members face to face it helps us build connections.”

Kelly and Sam are keen to grow their membership base by adding new offerings and providing more diversity in terms of instructors.

“We’ve had special guest interviews discussing mindset which we’ll continue to offer. We’d also like to have a male instructor to encourage more men to join our workouts.”

What they are saying...