This week Vivid Minds Vivid Futures interviews Selina Anne Ryan of Pulse by Selina Anne Fitness. Pulse is celebrating its Grand Opening on Saturday 13 June!
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I came to Australia as a backpacker in 2014 and worked in a shearing shed in south west Queensland. It was there I met my now husband, Ben. We long distanced for a while and then I officially moved here in 2017 and we got married last year.
When I first came to Australia, I pictured sunny beaches and warm weather. I’m originally from Essex in England so I guess that it’s fitting that I ended up in the New England. I’m used to the cold, but that doesn’t mean that I have to like it!
What inspired you to start your own business?
I started training people in Uralla because I saw a gap in the community. There just weren’t any options for keeping people fit and healthy without having to leave town. I was also determined to provide a service that was accessible for people of all ages to attend, so no one feels excluded or left out, or would feel they couldn’t take part.
Exercise is so important as a preventative. It is one of the most under-prescribed medications available. It’s also extremely beneficial for mental health and well-being. However, a lot of people think that exercise is daunting. I want people realise they can do it, and that it doesn’t need to be scary.
When did you start Pulse?
I started Selina Anne Fitness in January 2018 with a few small fitness classes in the park, through which I built a little following. I trained outdoors three days a week, providing varied bodyweight exercises and cardio for about two years. The classes were getting bigger and bigger and eventually it felt time to step it up. I ended up leasing the old hardware store in Uralla and began the process of turning it into a gym. We were three days off the grand opening when COVID-19 shut us down.
I was devastated when we were shut down before we started. We still had rent and equipment to pay for and invoices coming in. However, I was motivated by the support I found from so many amazing people who attended my online classes every day. I ended up having over 70 people from all over the world take part in my live classes.
When does Pulse open its doors?
June 13 will now be our official opening. It is really exciting that we finally get to open our doors. With social distancing requirements in place, we will be doing a morning of free classes – bookings essential. We will also have a coffee van from The Trader Store for everyone to get their coffee fix.
Tell us about your classes
When we open our doors, I will be offering cardio training on Mondays and Wednesdays; strength – which is a mix of free weights and body weight – on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and Fridays are a mix of weighted exercise and cardio.
I will have two classes early in the morning, at 6am and 7am, and then two classes in the afternoon at 5.15pm and 6.15pm. There will also be a mid-morning class, where we will do lower impact exercise for people who want to take it a little steadier. The class will be suitable for older people or those recovering from injury and will start at around 9.30am. My Saturday morning class will offer high intensity interval training (HIIT) for people who want to get in and get it done.
Of course, we now need to operate under new rules, with only 10 people in each class. However, if the demand is there, we will increase the number of classes so we will make sure everyone gets a place one way or the other.
What have been some of your challenges in setting up new premises?
Aside from being shut down before we started because of the pandemic, transforming a hardware store into a gym was a real challenge. We needed to make sure the building was safe so we put down a new floor, had to remove some of the walls, removing pegboard, and installing fixtures such as mirrors so people can check their form.
Fortunately, my hubby, Ben, is a builder as well as a shearer. We not only had to work hard to bring it up to code, but I also wanted to make the space look as welcoming and inviting as it possibly could. With the shutdown we got a lot more time to set up and prepare the space, so we are now really ready.
What advice would you give a business just starting out?
To have the confidence that it will work and then do the work to get there. When I was starting out, I questioned throughout the whole process and worried whether people would come and what I would do if no one came. Confidence is built with experience and time, so just push forward.
What inspires you?
It inspires me to push my body to see what it’s capable of. Every day, I see people achieve things they thought were impossible. Recently, I had a client who couldn’t touch their toes, and then to see them work to achieve that goal, it’s so inspiring. It’s these seemingly small successes that are incredibly inspiring.
I’m also inspired by my family. My beautiful family, my mum, my dad and my sisters, are all in England and I miss them so much. My mum makes everything feel better.
What’s next for Pulse?
Our first milestone is our Grand Opening where we actually get to open our doors. I’m also teaming up with a couple of other exercise professionals to do some teaching and training in the gym. In 12 months’ time I would love to see Pulse with a great cohort of members, working with people who have realised they are a lot more capable than they thought. After that, who knows? Perhaps we will see Pulse open its doors in Walcha, Glen Innes or Inverell.