Sally Ryan - Director, Fitness Instructor

Sally Ryan - Director, Fitness Instructor

I started work in the Leisure Industry quite a while ago, working for local Government and Sport England to promote health and fitness to people aged 50 and over. The job grew over the next 15 years to incorporate, Leisure for Women and Youth Sport Development. All these services were community based to allow access to people who were either on low income, who may not have taken part in sport or exercise for some time, or who would feel intimidated by the hustle and bustle of a large Sports Centre. We also provided crŤche facilities at all Leisure for Women classes and activities to allow women greater access. During this time I was also asked to set up the Hemel Hempstead Shopmobilty Scheme for people who have difficulty walking round the shops, I then took over the management of two large Buildings, one in Berkampsted and one in Tring.

It was whilst running this varied and interesting section of the Council that I met Declan, who had come to work with me. Some would say this was my downfall, especially when he decided we should open a Heath and Fitness Club. In the past 10 years we have had many ups and downs, plus a few scary moments, but I feel that the latest incarnation of the business, has fulfilled the original ethos of my working life. By which I mean, bringing high value, friendly, accessible and quality fitness to all our members. I believe everyone no matter what age, shape or size can take part at a level that suits them and I hope we are providing the means for them to do this.

The highly motivated and experienced Personal Trainers who take TRX, Kettlebell and spinning classes have added yet another dimension to our members fitness training, having already taken part in a couple of classes myself I am looking forward to making this new concept in fitness part of my usual work out and if I can do it anyone can.

The future is exciting and the Club will not stand still, new innovations using the internet for memberís forum, training and links to information on health, nutrition and lifestyle. Iím very proud of what we have achieved in the past 10 years and look forward to all the new challenges ahead.

My inspiration comes from my family, who have been so supportive of my foray into the business world. I get a tremendous feeling of pride when a new member joins and feeds back to us how much they enjoy their class, their workout or their time spent with a Personal Trainer. Itís wonderful to watch a new member get fitter and stronger week by week and to still see members coming in to train regularly who joined the gym when we opened 10 years ago.

What do you do at active4less?

Anything and everything. For this business to work, everyone is has to pull their weight, whether it be cleaning the changing rooms, teaching a class or looking a future plans for the club. As one of the owners, I feel itís important to be prepared to do everything I expect my colleagues to do.

What makes you smile?

Daffodils, little childrenís funny sayings, a lovely clean gym, daft jokes, my family (although not all the time).

What is your favourite holiday place?

Anywhere in the British Isle, we have a lovely Country, unfortunately we donít get enough good weather to make the most of it. Although there is nothing to stop anyone getting their waterproofs, umbrellas and wellies out, to sit on the beach at one of our many Great British seaside resorts.

If itís abroad, I love Puerto Pollensa, not because itís anything special, itís just so relaxing and I get to read loads of books while Iím there.

What is your favourite food?

I have to say Iím a bit picky, but I love almost everything savoury, not keen on meat or chicken unless itís a Sunday roast, but like fish.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

Spending time with my family and my friends, shopping with my daughters, sitting in the garden on a warm summer evening chatting with a glass of wine or a beer. I like the same in the winter, but preferably indoors around a nice big fire (unfortunately I donít have one in my house).

What are your favourite 3 songs?

This is really difficult, because I like all kinds of music, my favourites at the moment are anything by Harry Connick jnr, Jamie Cullum or Michael Bouble, Iím into my mellow phase. I love musicals and some classical music, but not keen on opera. As the music at the gym is on all day it tends to disappear into the background, but at least I hear quite a lot of new stuff, thereís some excellent stuff out there, even if I donít know the names of the artists.

What are your favourite 3 movies?

Without a doubt, my favourite movies are Some Like it Hot, Breakfast at Tiffanyís and itís a Wonderful Life. I love film, but prefer to go to the cinema rather than watch on DVD.

Favourite books?

Anything by Jayne Austen or the Bronte Sisters, The Island by Victoria Hislop, anything by Alan Bennett, The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly and loads more too numerous to mention. Iím reading Dear Fatty at the moment by Dawn French.

What is your favourite type of exercise?

Up to a few weeks ago I would have said a workout in the gym, but since I have discovered TRX and Kettlebell, Iím hooked. Iím not very good at it yet, but Iím determined to get better. I feel as though I have really worked all my muscle groups after I have done a class. I used to walk my daughters dog, which I thought would be good exercise, but met up with at least 12 other dog owners over the field, the dogs have a brilliant run around and play, whilst we walk very slowly and chat. This group has become so successful, that we now have regular Dog Walkers of St Giles lunches, the dogs are not invited.

What are your pet hates?

Intolerance, prejudices, people who make assumptions without bothering to find out what makes people react the way they do. I find young people as guilty of this as much as older people, which surprises me.

Not being able to do DIY successfully. Having to wait around for ďexperts to help meĒ (does that make me intolerant too)?

How do you motivate yourself?

I think of where we have come from in the past 10 years and all the new exciting things that are happening and are planned for the gym and I want to be part of it. I also think of all the things I would like to do, such as travel, DIY, read more books, spend more time with friends and family, in short, enjoying the moment.

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