In 2011, after working in the fast-paced world of television for 12 years, Laura Mitchell decided it was time to press pause on her career and start a family.
Aged 34, Mitchell was pregnant with her first child and knew she needed a healthier work life balance to focus on being a mum.
“I think a lot of people believe a career in television is really glamorous, but that’s not always the case,” explained Mitchell, now 40.
“It can be really long hours, getting up very early and then working until past midnight some days. I knew I needed to take a break and focus on my family rather than trying to juggle the two.”
Mitchell’s first son Noah was born in December that year and 19 months later, she gave birth to another son, Jack.
“I certainly had my hands full but I really enjoyed being at home with the boys,” Mitchell continued. “I also found myself getting to know my neighbours better, many of whom are elderly. I would pop in to see them and help out if needed – it was really rewarding. I was very close to my grandparents and it was like having them around again.”
When Mitchell’s youngest son started nursery, she decided it was time to get back to work. “The thought of returning to the hectic world of TV filled me with dread,” she said. “I knew I wanted to do something different – I needed to feel fulfilled in my career.
“I searched online for jobs working with older people and that’s when I discovered the instructor training with Move it or Lose it.”
Move it or Lose it is a fitness business that delivers exercise programmes and classes across the UK for older people and those with limited mobility, to encourage them to keep active in later life.
“Straight away I thought ‘this ticks all the boxes’,” Mitchell noted. “I could fit it in around the children and make a difference to the generation I love working with, and I didn’t need any previous experience as a fitness instructor.”
Mitchell completed her online training within two months, followed by a two-day assessment to gain her qualification. “The Move it or Lose it team was so incredibly supportive throughout the training,” she said. “It was the first time I’d learnt something new in a long time and I really enjoyed it.
“Training with Move it or Lose it gave me a new lease of life. I never dreamt I’d become a fitness instructor and have my own business but here I am! That’s the beauty of Move it or Lose it – you don’t need to be a fitness expert to become an instructor because the exercises are not overly technical or strenuous.”
Mitchell now runs three weekly Move it or Lose classes in her hometown of Harrow while her children are at school.
“Seeing the improvement and independence that the classes give to people who had previously written themselves off is really lovely,” she said. “I’ve got one lady who after four weeks was able to lift her arms above her head – something she hadn’t been able to do for years.
“I never thought I would find something so rewarding with the perfect work life balance. I’m my own boss so I make my own hours and I don’t have to worry about missing out on my children growing up. I love it.”
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