I met HulaFit’s Anna Byrne at one of her classes in London Fields, having been introduced by a friend of mine and fan of hers. After my first class I left with a feeling that this is a class I can go to regularly and advance at, but also a class that I want to! Anna has introduced me to HulaFit training, a class that she created, which I had never done before and I now love and walk away from smiling and enthused and inspired by her. Her classes are a perfect mix of having fun and working out. Anna’s passion for what she does is so clear and I could not recommend joining in with her class more.
What is HulaFit? – What can someone expect from a class with you?
HulaFit is a hula hoop fitness class… it’s like a boot camp class but with hoops – it’s fun and silly, but it will give you a great workout too! Don’t expect to come and have a ‘nice and easy’ class, you will get a proper workout! We use weighted hoops which are not only easier to use but they give you a greater abdominal workout than a regular hula hoop. We stick to very basic hoop moves so you don’t have to be a pro-hooper; we get total beginners in the class, but everyone gets a good fitness boost from it.
What do you love most about your job?
I get to hula hoop every day, I get to stay fit and have a lot of fun in every class!
What was your inspiration for setting up Hulafit?
See website ‘About‘ section!
Some people work out, but don’t see the results they are expecting – what common mistakes do you see people making when it comes to their fitness?
Everybody wants a quick fix when it comes to fitness. What everyone needs to get their head around is the fact that it is a change in lifestyle that will reap the most benefits. If you understand that no one fad diet or one class will change your life, but instead know that if you alter your diet to make it healthier and you take part in different activities, classes and exercises, then the long-term benefits will become apparent. I had to change my own lifestyle to see the benefits and I not only see the results in my body, but my mentality regarding my body is much healthier too. HulaFit can help with toning and strengthening the abdominal area, it can give you a great cardio workout, but if it’s the only exercise you do every week then it will take a long time to see the benefits.
What are the advantages of incorporating HulaFit into your exercise routine and what are its effects on the female body?
A lot of the time in the HulaFit class people are surprised that it is such a good workout, that they sweat and they ache the next day, so if it’s incorporated into a healthy routine then it is likely the main areas to see benefits are the abdominals and the glutes. The weighted hoops will tone, and the movements and exercises will also aid coordination. We do some exercises on the arms and other areas as well so women could see the benefits there too… the hoops and exercises aren’t designed to build muscle, just to tone and help coordination.
How do you manage your life, fitness and health balance and what advice would you give someone that struggles with this?
Don’t stress about it! Exercise is meant to relieve stress and yet people can lose their perspective on its benefits if the focus is entirely on weight loss. It is a lifestyle change and I know from experience that anytime I cut things out immediately or do heavy amounts of exercise, that initial buzz of motivation quickly disappears. If you want to change your life, your body and your mentality, make the changes gradually. If you do no exercise at all then just start going to one class a week, after a month, do two classes. Maybe invest in a personal trainer to boost your enthusiasm and push you harder after two months of starting out on your own. You will be amazed at how much you will enjoy and crave the exercise and eating healthily. But don’t be dismayed if you stop being so committed, just keep going to one class if you can and know that you will get back into your routine in time. It has taken me about four years from starting to change my life and I’ve taken long breaks from a healthier lifestyle. It can be a struggle to get back into it, but I know that I can and I will and once I commit to it all again, I feel happier, lighter and focussed. The benefits are immediate and it’s always worth the work. HulaFit may not be for you, but i’ve had many a woman come to class who haven’t exercised since school and after a few months I’m usually told that they’ve joined a gym too and are going regularly. You’ve just got to start and commit to the change; you’ll be a happier person for it. I try and do a bit of exercise and eat healthy for five days in the week, but I have two days when I eat whatever I want and i do no exercise at all. I can be greedy and lazy, I put weight on easily and as a performer and fitness teacher it is important to look healthy, so this lifestyle suits me perfectly! I used to get obsessive about my weight, and exercise… I would then give it all up quite easily and struggle to get back into shape, so keeping fit and eating well, but having a couple of days where I don’t care has changed my lifestyle and it’s made me mentally happier.
Where is your favourite London wellness spot (fitness/wellbeing/nutrition)?
I’m quite frugal when it comes to exercise and I get a bit overwhelmed by the glossy gyms where everyone has to look ‘perfect’ so I’m a bit of a mix and match. My husband, Rowan Byrne is a personal trainer and a qualified dietician and nutritionist, so I get a lot of information from him, plus some great tips on exercising. My favourite place, however, is the London Fields Fitness Studio by Sapan Sehgal… it’s super friendly, relaxed and very ‘shabby chic’! You can drop in for most classes which are typically £5 or you can get a £20 class pass and go to as many classes as you like every month. It’s a space for classes and personal trainers, it’s not a gym where you can pound away on a treadmill. Anything goes and everyone is welcome. I also like to indulge in a sauna every week if i can!
What’s your ideal way to de-stress?
As my lifestyle is incredibly active… I teach classes during the week, manage the business and perform in the evenings and on weekends so, if and when I get time off, I generally do nothing! Or walking my dog, Tino! And dancing… I love a dance.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
What advice would give to HLL readers?
If you are lacking in confidence or the desire to exercise then find a class where the focus is not on you (the teacher won’t judge!) but is something that makes you smile. Happiness is the best booster of endorphins, combine that with an exercise and you will be on your way to changing your lifestyle, but be kind to yourself, expect your motivation and changes to plateau, just don’t stop completely as it can be so hard to start all over from scratch again.Follow HulaFit’s Anna Byrne on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
Read my review of HulaFit classes.
*Health Advice: Consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.