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Elizabeth’s Exercise Classes

We spoke to Elizabeth Stout, a wonderful fitness instructor currently running women’s exercise classes at the Aberfeldy Centre. She provides a safe space for women in Poplar to get fit, improve their confidence and self esteem, and increase their social connections.



Read up about why she started in fitness, why she likes running her classes, and how she’s seen the participants of her classes change over time.


Firstly, it would be great to know how you got started in fitness in the first place!

I was always keen on sports at school but really got enthused to learn more when I applied for a general Manager position for this new Women’s gym.  (over 15 years now it think). I didn’t have the qualifications for fitness but had the experience for being a manager. I got the role and did my first qualification. It went from there. Every couple of years I add to my repertoire as I think it is important to be reminded and stay current to your area of focus.


And the classes? What got you on the path to running your own fitness classes?

I was approached by a GP practice manager who had known me when I was running an exercise project a few years back.  We spoke at length about wanting to make a difference and wanting people to take responsibility for their health with aspects they can manage – such as blood pressure and diabetes.  The GP practice manager was then able to secure funding and away I went to teach the classes.


Why did you start running them? Why do you think that they’re good for the area and for the individual women?

As mentioned above, I feel that sometimes people aren’t aware that can take steps to help themselves before picking up the phone and booking a GP appointment. Surgeries are becoming more stretched and a lot of aliments that people go in for don’t actually need to be seen by a doctor, rather they can be remedied by the patient themselves. Besides the bonus of being self-aware, the women who come to the exercise classes are starting to gain confidence and become physically and mentally stronger.


Have you seen the participants of your class change?

Yes! And in many different ways. Each individual has experienced a different journey. For example, I have some ladies who physically look healthier from starting to exercise more – their skin looks clearer. I have ladies who have improved their strength, who started not being able to get themselves from the floor to the ground who can now hold a plank for 1 minute. There are ladies who have lost weight and lowered their blood pressure, ladies who started out timid and quiet and have become jovial in the class.


How have you seen yourself change while leading these classes?

Yes, I’ve learned so much from teaching. I take pride in being a personal trainer who will always gravitate towards trying to get to understand each individual and making fitness a personal experience. I also see my shape change if the group requires me to physically do the exercises with them.


What do you enjoy most about holding these classes?

My favourite thing is laughing, having a giggle when teaching. I also find that pain is universal! When we are in the room and a lot of the ladies don’t understand of speak English very well, if we are in an exercise and it is tough we groan together, we are all the same.

Seeing my participants smile is really valuable.


What advice would you have to anyone looking to start running their own fitness classes?

There are so many out there. Don’t try to copy but do go to as many as you can so you can appreciate and understand what’s out there. I come from a perspective of trying to teach a class that I enjoy and with knowledge of health & exercises that I know will do the job. I have always preferred to avoid branded and franchised classes – I enjoy doing them but I didn’t ever want to teach in that style.

I like talking about the other aspects that make a difference in your life too, so not just moving more but making healthier food choices or talking about posture.

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Seeing my participants smile is really valuable.