ARE YOU CONSTANTLY INSPIRED BY SUNRISE IMAGES OF PEOPLE BEING FIT AND ACTIVE IN FRONT OF ICONIC NEWCASTLE BEACHES AND THINKING ABOUT HOW YOU SHOULD BE THERE? WELL, THESE GIRLS ARE THERE TEACHING THESE CLASSES AND INSPIRING A GENERATION OF WOMEN TO BE ACTIVE.
I sat down with Shelley and Brittany of Pineapple Fitness one afternoon for a coffee at Suspension Espresso and a conversation about being fit, holistic health and career shifts.
Can you explain Pineapple Fitness? How you both fit together, how you operate?
Brit: You know that we were BUF before? Then we rebranded it in March. We loved being BUF. It was BUF for five years, then Shell and I got to a position where we wanted our own baby and we wanted it to be 100% in line with our mission, so we branched out.
Shelley: We were feeling less connected to the brand. Again, it's not a good thing or a bad thing. It's just evolved over that time. Yeah, so a lot of people would say, ‘What's different now because you're Pineapple? What's the difference?’ We're like, ‘We've been operating the way that we operate for a long time now, and I think we're just creating a brand that represents the way we operate rather than the other way around.’
B: We exist to create a community of women who, yes, we work out, but we want to do life together. It's about inspiring and motivating each other to live your best life, and we need to be fit and healthy to do that.
S: We believe it's movement, it's mindset, it’s nutrition, and then that community all comes together.
Holistic seemed such a strong word in your bio. Does that really encompass what you're about?
S: Yes, totally. We don't think that one part of your health can operate without the other parts. You can be eating really clean, you can be exercising every day, but if you haven't got a community to share it with or to back you up or to support you when you're down, you're not going to be a whole well person. You can have the plainest diet in the world but, if you hate yourself, then you're still not a whole healthy person.
But connect the word ‘holistic’ to health… When we think about fitness or health, that fits into a whole big part of your life. We don't want fitness and nutrition to be the only focus in life and then you forget to actually have fun.
So, it's holistic in the sense that you have a holistic approach to health and wellness, but we want to have a holistic view about life and see how all the pieces actually fit together so that we’re doing life really, really well.
B: That sometimes means eating a massive load of cake, going out and enjoying yourself. We launched Pineapple Fitness by having a cocktail party and we all had lots of cocktails and yummy food and finished with cake. It's about not being scared of any areas of your life, so ‘holistic’ comes in there. Does that make sense?
I think so. That whole community feel happens because you care about someone's life beyond eating right and your mental health.
B: That's it, yes. We get questions all the time, nutrition-based questions, like, ‘Is sugar bad for me? Should I stay away from sugar? Should I stay away from fat?’ We always say yes, it's great to not have those things all the time because they can be bad for your health. But if it’s your kid’s birthday or your best friend's birthday on the weekend and you have cake, you're not going to get to your deathbed and go, ‘I'm so glad I didn't have that cake at my kid's second birthday.’ So it's about weighing it up.
S: Yeah, and I come from being more hardcore. I wouldn't go out and have a bloody glass of wine and a pizza. So it's just having that balanced approach. And it's saying you have to do those things, but just knowing that it's not the glass of wine and a pizza that's going to throw your health and wellness life off-track. By the same token, you can't do that all the time and expect to be really vital and able to go and climb a mountain or whatever it might be.
Both of you had a career shift around fitness.
B: Yes, totally.
S: Huge, a massive career shift.
Does it feel like home? Does this feel like the career path you were always destined for?
B: Yes, for me definitely. I was hating hospitality. That's a very strong word, but it didn't suit my lifestyle. I'm very much an early morning person and that's what I get to do every day now. I get to see the sun rise and I get to go to bed at a reasonable hour, where I couldn't before. It's definitely in line with everything that I love as a lifestyle.
So, who is Pineapple Fitness for? It's for women? What's an average day of training look like?
S: It's all one business, but I guess there's two parts. Predominantly you have people who train in the mornings or the evenings. Then we've got mums’ classes. We call them mums' and bubs’ classes, but anyone can come; any one of our clients can come. We have babysitters at those classes.
B: I think there's 24 classes on the timetable, because we also have four mornings out at Warners Bay as well.
S: It exists for those women wherever their lives are at. We have a bunch of clients who start and mornings are where they're at, and then they might fall pregnant and start training there. And the other way around, mums might train with us in the middle of the day and then when their kids are big enough, they're like, ‘Okay, I'm going to go and pretend I'm not a mum for half an hour and go train in the morning.’
B: We've got a broad age range. Our youngest client is actually sixteen. She comes along with her mum once a week. But I think predominantly they are mid to late twenties and then early thirties.
S: In saying that, we've got a bunch who are in late thirties, early forties, fifties. I've got PT clients who are [in their] sixties.
B: It's quite vast.
S: It's a really broad range of women, a broad range of goals, different walks of life and different fitness levels. What you see unites them all together is what we spoke about before. They're looking for something a little bit different from their gyms. Even different boot camps or crossfit gyms. There's a place for all of them.
B: I love that it's the cool thing to do these days, to actually move your body. But I guess we seem to collect the people who are really looking for it to be a sustainable, holistic part of their whole life.
S: And I think the three things that people probably say the most as to why they're here is because it's outdoors, so they get to see the sun rise every morning and they get to be in the fresh air and swim in the ocean after class.
That's got to be a pretty inspiring start to the day.
B: Yes, exactly. We just get you here and then fifty percent of it is already done. Barefoot in the sand, giving you that grounding.
With a shift in business, are there big goals on the wall to land both this year and into the future?
S: Yes, we started working with a business coach at the end of last year as well. They're fitness specialists, so they just work with fitness businesses. Brit and I are really big picture and have lots of dreams. I especially, though, get stuck in the planning and just want to execute.
Imagine for a second that someone is reading this and they are that person who is a little scared. Maybe they've already followed you on Instagram or they’ve searched you right now and go, ‘Shit, that looks like good fun.’ What would you say to someone who’s apprehensive? What should they expect when they turn up for the first time? Should they email you first to say they want to come? What's the best process?
B: Well, we actually like to meet all our clients before they first turn up so that they do feel welcome and they do feel heard and included. We have a consult with them. We sit down and have a chat at our studio, and it's pretty much just listening to their goals, what they've done before, how they've achieved them in the past and how they haven't achieved in the past. What are you scared of? Talk to me – we've all been there.
S: Yes and then, from there, understand them. We spend almost an hour with each of them. They can come to our class knowing who we are as people and feeling like they've already got a friend when they first start.
B: Then we buddy them up with someone in the class or we introduce them to the group and pretty much they get started.
S: And it's so cool. Again, the people who stick around are the people who value what we've just been speaking about. We do buddy them up with someone, but usually we don't even have to because the girls are there and are like, ‘Oh, it's a new person. Hi, how are you?’
B: Literally, we've had four or five new girls who started last week. It's been a good week and a half. One of the girls said this morning, ‘I already feel part of the furniture.’
S: I guess it's us continuing to cultivate that culture and that environment. The girls then do the work for us in that community aspect.
When you're not being inspired overlooking the water or Carrington, where do you like to hang out in Newcastle?
B: At the beach. Even when we're not working, we're at the beach, pretty much.
S: That's where we'll often go to get inspiration and write some sessions or to actually just be, ‘This is all getting... Let's go back to the ocean.’ That's where we like to be.
B: The ocean is our happy place.
S: Our sanity is the ocean. It's where we find inspiration, peace, everything.
Sounds sweet, right? Pineapple Fitness can be found online www.pineapplefit.com.au or on Instagram @pineapplefitness_.