Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Sure... Hi, Im Sousanna. I'm a Personal Trainer, Movement Specialist, mother of 1 and founder of FullStart Inclusive Fitness.
I've studied and performed as a professional actress & movement artist most of my working life with both international and UK based companies before moving into the fitness industry.
I set up and ran a theatre company after my degree in performance art and cultural entrepreneurship and I took a bit of an unusual path in that my artistic passion was inspired by the expression and language of the human body and how that can be translated.
I suppose, as odd as it seems, it has been somewhat of a natural progression for me to come to a place where I am now focused on the health elements that movement brings to us and in turn, the beneficial effects that has on our whole wellbeing.
Coming from a Theatre and Dance Studio to a Gym Studio was so transposable that I felt at home the moment I walked through the door and I have allowed my own journey to organically progress in the fitness industry using the unique set of skills I have obtained throughout my creative background.
Fitness for me is a way of expressing myself through my body, connecting with my health, harnessing my skills and developing my wellbeing in its totality. How often do we give ourselves time to really take up space with our bodies and create a change, even if its just a little and even if its just for yourself, in that moment. That's what fitness is about for me. The focus and the dedication it takes to harness your body inspires me to create something for others to connect with.
I remember reading somewhere that standing still is the smallest dance in the world and I love that. The work I am doing with FullStart is encouraging everyone to "dance" in a sense, to move your body and connect with yourself... only loudly and with weights... *laughs*
What is FullStart?
In a nutshell, FullStart is an Fitness Company Based in Norwich and wider Norfolk community, supported by the Princes Trust Foundation. FullStart is committed to working inclusively; providing a wide range of fitness services from Classes, personal Training, group fitness and workshops with a unique creative ethos towards health and wellbeing.
Everything from practical mobility in house to training for a sports performance event... we are more than a fitness company :)
What inspired you to create FullStart?
Well, it kind of grew around me if that makes any sense?
I was working as a movement artist on a stage show at the time and the rehearsal process was tough, not anything I hadn't experienced before but I didn't seem to be recovering as quickly from a lengthy rehearsal than I had before and eventually I took myself to the doctor.
After some time had passed I was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E) and I took time away from the rehearsal studio to focus on my health and that's what started me on my new working journey.
Id always thought I had a strong connection with my body and here it was stopping me in my tracks as I was just warming up to who I was supposed to be, or so I thought.
After what seemed like hundreds of doctors visits and tests later It became clear that if I was to have any sense of a life back and still retain a level of artistic merit I was going to have to take matters into my own hands. So that's exactly what I did.
I came out of the dance studio and into the gym. I studied the human body in more depth, taking my human biology and sports science papers and obtaining my personal training qualifications as a by product of my own journey to health. I learnt more about nutrition and how to harness it for fuel more effectively in my own life and I learnt the importance of work to rest ratio.
I started my own training and found that just as dance has spoken to my soul previously, this new way of movement was rewarding me in similar ways I hadn't expected.
Not only did I see an improvement in my overall health, I was able to better manage my condition, read my body, listen to its warning calls, perfect my form and connect with a deeper understanding of what it it to be in my skin.
There are those out there who have a longing to connect to their bodies with more substance than the average gym session and that's were we come in.
All of that combined is what inspired me to create FullStart and I believe it is a message worth sharing with others.
What does it mean to you to be inclusive?
For us it means giving everyone a fair chance. I've always worked inclusively and I don't intend to be giving that up any time soon.
From running marathons and competing in sporting events to functional mobility solutions and creative movement workshops, our aim is not to turn anyone away. Its that simple.
We are professionals in the industry, don't get us wrong, we can stand up wit the "big boys". Working inclusively does NOT limit our training experience or client base in any way. we adapt as and when we need to and we take fitness extremely seriously.
With our One2One focused training, we take an in depth look at your personal goals and identify your route to success so each client is completely different from the next. I train people to competitive level and I've also recently taught someone how to ride a bike in their adulthood so its such a brilliant mix of people I get to meet and I love what i do.
From Strength training, power lifting, Hiit Classes and much more for the adrenaline junkies along with a balance of community based functional fitness and movement workshops,
We offer a full range of services all under the umbrella of a conscious fitness experience with a side order of creative play at FullStart.
A marketing manager once told me that having the word inclusive in our company name could in fact suggest we are more exclusive than we realise and I'm are pleased to report that we have not experienced this so far and will continue to be an advocate for inclusivity becoming normalised unapologetically.
What makes FullStart relevant today?
FullStart was born from a stop in action for myself, a full stop as it were.
I believe that when things change there is an element of responsibility we have to ourselves to adapt and create from the ashes and this is something we can do through movement, through focused fitness training, through connecting with our bodies in a conscious manner.
I think we are living in a time where a lot of full stops are happening for people and I believe its relevance comes in the ability to be able to harness the next steps effectively.
Making a FullStart is a full force commitment to yourself for yourself, your health and your wellbeing. To unlock what your body is capable of is an experience that I welcome everyone to take advantage of.
What is unique to FullStart?
FullStarts unique qualities stem from its creative roots and the expression of art through movement and play.
In addition to our more traditional personal training and gym based classes, we have also grown a unique series of movement based workshops in collaboration with local djs and music artists bringing a mixture of live music, physical games, community spirit and wellbeing together. This fully immersive sober event makes for an infusion of theatrical pulse rising fun :)
What are some of the challenges you faced along the way?
I must say the biggest challenge I have faced is becoming part of an industry that is predominantly male based. Being a female trainer, standing only at 5'2 and with a different take on fitness, its taken a lot of courage to solidify myself in the fitness industry as a serious contender whilst continuing to stand by our mission statement.
There are hundreds of people out there in the fitness industry scrambling to keep their name at the top of the food chain, hundreds more fitness marketing gurus claiming they are the key to your business success in fitness... If I listened to them all id never have taken my foot of the ground and FullStart would still just be a concept.
Sure, we have faced bumps along the road and if i claimed to know everything now id simply be lying... its a continuous journey, an evolution of ideas built on the strength of integrity and a genuine desire to share my knowledge to benefit others.
What's in the future for FullStart?
We hope to continue to expand our team and range of activities in the community.
We are living in a time when connection to one another is more important to our overall health than ever. We hope to be able to bridge that gap when the time comes and bring back faces together in local spaces.
To learn more about FullStart and its full range of Classes, Workshops and Personal Training sessions firstname.lastname@example.org