GETTING the French into shape is a challenge fitness instructor Becky Jeffery is ready to accept.
A former graphic artist in London, Becky is now a personal coach for the people around the village of Labastide Murat in the Lot region.
And with a purpose built gym at her disposal the chance to try out her fitness and pilates training in France was a chance not to be missed.
“When my family decided they wanted to head to France they found this gîte complex, which had a gym under the main house,” said Becky.
“But when I actually got to see it there was a studio for ten people, a weight training room and a sauna and massage area.
“It had been used before by the locals and when they saw we were re-opening it they were very keen to start the fitness classes again.”
Becky had worked on the BBC’s Radio Times magazine as well as a variety of cycling titles, but the office world was getting her down..
And this allied with the cost of property in London meant she trained as a fitness coach and headed back to Derbyshire where she built up a strong client list.
But setting up her business in France has not been a simple matter.
“One of the problems I’ve found is that the authorities are not sure which category to put a personal fitness instructor in,” explained Becky.
“And the pilates qualifications I’ve got are not recognised even though they are through the international organisation.
“I’m sure that bit by bit I will get it all sorted out, with a little help from French friends.”
The fitness classes are also proving a benefit to both Becky’s clients as well as herself.
“I had done A-level French before I came out but I’ve soon picked up a lot more by listening to people in the class when they help each other,” said Becky.
“What is amusing is when I try to explain the movements in the pilates class as they are more internal and deeper, so I’ve put together a cheat-sheet to help me out.
“But the clients have been great and many turn up week in week out, so they must be happy.”
Although the complex has a gîte, which is being overseen by her family, Becky’s own plans revolve around the fitness world.
“I would love to be able to provide cycling holidays, pilates sessions and fitness and nutrition breaks for people in this beautiful area,” Becky said.
“It’s all there in my head, I will just take things step by step but I’m sure it will happen.”
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