Inspiring Figures is a monthly blog column where I share with you people who are catalysts in inspiring and motivating me. They are people you should really know about. Last month featured David da Silva, Product Designer, hackathon goer and more! You can read his feature here.
Just like always, this month’s feature first took place live on Instagram – thank you to everyone that joined in!
This month features, Aimee Browes.
Aimee and I first connected via the Sheffield Bloggers Facebook group which I posted on looking for other local bloggers to connect with – particularly those that shared similar interests in health, well-being and personal development. Aimee responded and we connected all over social media. Since then, I’ve enjoyed following along her journey of building a company around improving mental health with fitness. It’s been truly inspiring to watch her grow in just the past year, it was a true pleasure to chat to her this month for Inspiring Figures. I hope you get as much out of the interview as I did!
Aimee Browes is the Founder of The Happiness Bootcamp, originally founded in Sheffield, United Kingdom. She runs fitness events and classes across the UK that focus on getting stronger, well-being, the impact of exercise on the mind rather than how to get abs etc. For her, it’s always been about being healthy from within. Aimee is also a Personal Trainer, where she trains her clients on a 1-2-1 basis.
Aimee is quite open to talking about mental health on her social media channels, because she believes that the more people that speak about it, the less stigma there is around mental health, the more people will start to recognise it and ways of overcoming it.
💙Journey into Health & Well-being
Since Aimee was 16 years old, she was on medication for anxiety and depression. When looking for help and support, she quickly found that at the time
In 2016, her friend who runs a cafe in Sheffield offered Aimee a slot to speak at the cafe about her experience with her mental health. Although she was terrified because she had never done public speaking before, she went ahead and did it. The Facebook event reached thousands of people!
It wasn’t until October of 2017, that she launched The Happiness Bootcamp after having the idea for over a year. Her aim with the Bootcamp is to get rid of the stigma around it, improving conversations by spreading awareness and to show that people with mental health issues are equally as capable.
Aimee ended up doing a BBC Radio interview which led to the Happiness Bootcamp really taking off; becoming viral!
In January 2018, Aimee started running POP Pilates classes. Her classes cost around £3-4 to make sure that it is accessible to all! They are also run to have a laugh, rather than being too serious. People that have taken part always describe the classes as fun!
Back at school, she had quit A Levels and didn’t finish her AS level exams. In order to do something, she chose to undertake a Level 2 Fitness Award. Before this, she hated health, fitness, sports related. But once she had given it a chance, everything changed. Fitness truly changed her life.
There is a perception on social media that health and fitness are all about how you look, and that if you don’t have the working-out-7-days-a-week dedicated lifestyle, then you’re not apart of it. But once Aimee educated herself in the world of health, she quickly realized that this perception is so different to real life.
So, she wanted to be different from other Personal Trainers that focused on measurements. She shifted her focus on other goals, for example, being confident in dresses for Christmas or bikinis in the summer. Her aim as a PT is to bring something different to the industry outside measurements. Health from within.
This is a scheme that the Happiness Bootcamp run. The exact idea is still a work in progress, but essentially, the aim is to provide training days with schools about mental health, offering free training sessions, counseling and providing resources.
The hashtag developed and now it is a huge movement online and has become the motto behind The Happiness Bootcamp.
As a current project, Aimee is looking for support to make a Mental Health qualification so others can also learn how to help others with fitness as Aimee is doing.
💫Building up the business
Aimee reached out to the Careers and Employability team at University that helps current students and graduates with setting up their own business. This was the first step for Aimee to become a sole trader. Serious about The Happiness Bootcamp, she attended most of their workshops to learn about finance, taxes, bookkeeping, etc. It was very daunting as no one in her family was in business.
Recently, the Social Enterprise Exchange helped The Happiness Bootcamp with funding. Other places Aimee had secured funding was from winning the Hallam Enterprise Award. She is now fully self-employed, putting in a lot of work to sustain the business. Aimee helpfully reminded us that beyond the social media glam, there is a lot of work that goes behind setting up a business from late nights to excel sheets.
Her main advice for anyone interested in setting up a business is to never rush an idea and you need to be mentally ready for the hard work that goes behind it. Because there’s a lot!
🏆Awards and recognition
2018 has been the year of recognition for Aimee. These were her main highlights:
- Being on BBC Radio One
- Running a class at Reebok Be Fit in London
- Being a Bodypower speaker – the biggest fitness expo and is one of the biggest things you can do in the industry. She also got to explore Bodypower HQ.
- Going full time self-employed, when I interviewed her she was 6 weeks in. She had never thought that she would be earning enough to support herself. But she’s gone and done it!
🏋🏻♀️What you should look at implementing into your exercise routine…
For Aimee, her favorite exercises to share with others are those that get your heart rate up as much as possible, also things that are fun including circuit training, sled pushes, tire flips, boxing. She loves seeing those she does 121 PT with go from strength to strength every session! It’s an amazing feeling.
🦋Remedies for Mental Health
This was something that I really needed to hear from Aimee, I hope you found it as informative as I did. Here is her advice:
- Don’t avoid things or situations. Avoidance is good for short term, but you still have to do it in the long term. Face it, be brave and be proud of yourself afterward.
- Take the time for yourself. Don’t say yes and overload yourself with everything. Try simple things like having a shower, watching TV, breathing, turning your phone on silent.
- Breathing – breath in for 7, hold for 8, exhale for 5-6. This helps calm you down quickly.
- Description method – describe everything around you. Look around you. Shifting your mind to something else in the short term.
- Acknowledge how you’re feeling and remembering that it is a bad day, not a bad life. It’s not the end of the tunnel, it’s just a small section of a life. Remember no one’s life is perfect.
- Being open about these bad days – Aimee talks openly about these days even when running the Happiness Bootcamp. Being real is so important!
Rememerthat it is OK to feel the way you do, as long as you understand it’s not your entire life.
🌳On being Sheffield Born and Bred
If I haven’t convinced you how great Sheffield is, I hope Aimee has 😉
Catch up on the live conversation
You can catch-up with our conversation on YouTube below! A huge thank you again as usual to Clark Narvas for putting these together.
You can find Aimee on social media, primarily on Instagram but also her website! I hope you found her story interesting, and find ways you can support what she does in the health and well-being space; she truly is an Inspiring Figure. ✨