Shara Tochia, founder of fitness-freak.com, a London-based top table for fitness, talks to The London Word about why you don’t need to slog your guts in an expensive gym to get fit and have fun in the city.
27 year-old entrepreneur Tochia believes a pay-as-you go model is changing the fitness market from being an industry notorious for locking people in to expensive long-term contracts, to something far more flexible.
She started Fitness Freak a year ago after realising there was a gap in the market for finding discounted online fitness classes. ‘I initially started doing research when I was working in restaurant marketing,’ she says.
‘We target people who don’t have gym membership and might want to do something unusual like circus training.’
More than 3,000 classes are available through the site per week, which now has more than 120 partners.
‘There really are some fantastic classes on offer in London. You can try Sexercise [which focuses on those bump and grind muscles] or insania resistance training in Old Street, boxing in a nightclub with a live DJ in Brixton or pole dancing on the streets of east London.’
Does she think people find it hard to find the money and time to exercise in London?
‘It really is a question of the person’s priorities. London is an expensive and busy city for everything so it’s all about balance.
‘There is so much on offer all the time, it takes an organised person to find that balance and save the pennies. That said you will always save more money going to a fitness class or exercising rather than going to the pub for six drinks!’
Unsurprisingly fitness also plays a big part in her time off from the business. ‘I really like to keep active, and do a lot of the classes. But I also enjoy rock climbing when I get the time. I love finding new coffee shops, usually in east London and trying unusual pop-up restaurants.
A perfect night out in the city includes a couple of cocktails with friends followed by a low-key dinner, probably sushi or Turkish, she says.
But right now Tochia has her sights set on the future of the business. ‘We need to scale more in London, and then the next city will be Manchester at the end of the year.’
‘We’re also working with Time Out to run a giant fitness class rave for around 500 people, with trampolines, and glow sticks.
‘Our message is very fun and funky and we try to encourage people not to see fitness as something boring but for people to find something different to do,’ she says.
For more information visit the Fitness Freak website