Raunds mum celebrates success of free fitness class for health and happiness

A Raunds fitness instructor who promised to give something back to her community is celebrating the first term of her free fitness class.

Saturday, 14th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 16th December 2019, 5:18 pm
Tanya with the class

When Tanya Griffiths, a personal trainer, suffered a nervous breakdown she self-referred to Rushden Mind for counselling and was helped back to health with sessions offered at a charitable rate.

Her experience inspired her to set up First Free Fitness - a no-cost, weekly exercise class held in the Saxon Hall in her home town of Raunds.

She said: "I made a promise to my counsellor to give something back. The idea came to me during a meditation.

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Tanya Griffiths

"Times are tough and you can't get free gym membership but I can help, I am a personal trainer and I can offer this for free."

Once a week, Tanya takes her class through a low-intensity workout tailored to everyone's ability and to be completed at their own pace.

She guides them through four sets of five exercises, a half an hour of stretches and a meditation to finish.

The 37-year-old mum of two said: "This is not a boot camp with me screaming. There are no egos. I want to make people feel better about themselves.

Tanya with her class

"We focus on core strength with push, pull, lunge, and squat to help strengthen wrists in case of falls because prevention is better than cure.

"One lady told me that she would never have been able to afford this type of class. Some people do it for the social time, some say it's their 'me time'."

Tanya previously worked at Virgin Active Gym in Northampton but left after 10 years in June 2019 to set up her own fitness service.

She said: "We don't have any guys yet but I am planning for some of my former Virgin Active colleagues to come along to get the guys out."

First Free Fitness

"I want to make the class all encompassing, for people with learning difficulties and their carers, for people in wheelchairs.

"Because it's free there's no funding barrier and the beauty of being in the Saxon Hall is that the hall space can be adjusted as we grow - there's no limit. "

Raunds Town Council has gifted the space in the Saxon Hall for free since her first class in September.

Tanya has 40 people on her books with about 20 to 25 keep-fitters attending any one class.

Tanya says she literally skips and dances to and from the sessions

She added: "Everyone should put their own mental health first. People can have elderly parents, young children - there's a lot of pressure and you can get overwhelmed.

"Materialism does not make you happy. I literally skip and dance after each session. Let kindness rule the world."

First Free Fitness classes continue this Monday, December 16, when the Mayor of Raunds will be visiting the group.

Classes restart in the new year on Monday, January 13, at 7.30pm at the Saxon Hall, Raunds.

For further details of Tanya's class click here.