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Hello, hello and welcome to the very last day of May! Today brings the third and final instalment of IR’s “A Day in the Life Of…” series. For this final adventure, we meet Babs, the force behind Refresh Health Club in Caversham.

Over to Babs…

Babs Afolayan, Founder

Usually my day starts around 7am with a personal training session as people like to fit these in before work. My favourite part of the job is meeting so many different people and helping them achieve their goals. This personal touch is the reason I moved out of the corporate fitness world I was working in, in London and into what I do now.

After that first session, I catch up with my admin, which can be anything from class timetables to newsletters. There’s a lot of admin that I have to do so this can take up to two hours.

Once the admin is done, there are usually more PT sessions. Often these are back-to-back from 10am until 1pm. Then I run a lunchtime Pilates class at 1pm, so the middle of the day is really busy for me. We keep our classes small, with a maximum of 6 people per class so that everybody gets a really high quality workout.

I think class size is also really important for the mindfulness part of what we do. There’s a misconception that mindfulness can only be achieved through activities such as meditation, when actually a challenging exercise class can focus your thoughts into a state of mindfulness.

The Pilates Studio

After that class, I’ll catch up with staff and do my own training until around 5pm when classes start again. We run several evening classes as well as the lunchtime one and once they’re done, I tidy up, check my emails again and head home around 8.45pm.

Since we opened a year ago, I’ve worked 7 days a week but I’m really pleased that we’re so busy and we’re looking at expansion opportunities. At the very beginning, I wasn’t sure we’d even reach opening as the build ended up costing double the budget and the builders ran over time by 4 months. I was working full time in London to fund that and also trying to manage the build.

The big lesson I learned at that time was to always have a plan B. I only had one plan and it was very optimistic. I thought I was doing everything perfectly but sometimes it’s out of your hands, so you have to provision for that.

As well as the day-to-day Pilates, boxing and PT sessions we run, we also run events once every 6 weeks. We recently took a group out to the Cotswolds where we ran a combination of classes with social activities and relaxing spa sessions. Other events are held on-site and have included vision board workshops and retreat days which combine physical and mental health activities. My vision is to make what we do enjoyable and sociable, which is why we also have the coffee bar here.

I’m really passionate about what we do and helping people get moving instead of being sat in a chair all day. If you want to learn some more about us, drop in and say hi!

You can find Refresh Health Club at:
87-89 Caversham Road (opposite TGI Friday’s)