What is Project HB all about?
Project HB started as a personal mission to get fit and get happier with how I felt about myself... and in 4 years it's gone from self-discovery to a fitness blog, to me qualifying as a fitness instructor. Now, Project HB is a range of classes and inspirational articles to inspire people to move more. I try to spread the message that moving your body can lead to all sorts of great things like better mood, better digestion, and a more confident feeling about yourself. It's all a lot of fun and I like to keep everything I preach real. Eat cake! Dance and sweat! Be grateful for life and make the most of it! (And try not to care too much what other people think about you, while you're doing those things).
What made you want to run a bootcamp session in the Bearpit?
I qualified as a fitness instructor in March and it was a dream come true. Then I got THE FEAR and started worrying about actually running classes - could I really do this? I mentioned this on Instagram and the phenomenal woman behind Bearpit Social got in touch asking if I'd like to collaborate. BearFit burst into life and we decided to further enhance the community spirit down in this brilliant, social space by bringing a weekly bootcamp to the Bearpit!
What's your favourite thing about the Bearpit?
Definitely the community. I like it a lot because it reminds me so much of my old home (Shoreditch) with its edginess and graffiti and social enterprise, but then it's got this incredible story and spirit which captures what Bristol is about. I am honestly still pinching myself that I'm working with the team and associated with this space!
What's your favourite thing about running these sessions?
I cannot stop smiling at the fact that people are willing to get up at the crack of dawn and come down for a session. I preach self-confidence but I'm only human, and the anxious little voice in my head gets to me every week and tells me that I'm being stupid and no one wants to come to one of my silly old classes... and then, every Tuesday morning, I pull myself together and march down to the Bearpit like a determined bear-cub... and every week people turn up, and they dance and sweat and we have a giggle and share some high-five action.
I am so grateful and so inspired by everyone, every week. It sounds cheesy but I can't tell you what a thrill it is to create something that makes people feel good :)
What's the worse myth regarding fitness / exercise?
I cannot abide anything that specifically pushes "weight loss". Yep, you can definitely lose weight - it takes determination and will-power, and when people put their mind to it and massively transform themselves, it is truly impressive.
But I think, to become truly body-confident and happy in your own skin, it starts with learning to love and respect your body, not by thinking you've got to make it "thin". And that means learning how it likes to move, and finding some form of exercise that makes you feel GREAT (seriously, does dieting make anyone feel great?) when you start to move in the way that works for you, you feel happier... you start to feel more positive about yourself... you start to want to look after your body... and you often lose weight as a result of all of these good feelings, because you're learning to like your brilliant body.
I often think that, unfortunately, when weight loss instead of feeling good in your body is the goal with your exercising, it skews everything and can make the whole experience stressful and unsustainable. PLEASE, just do fun exercise that you enjoy and the rest will follow! That was a long answer, sorry, but I feel SO passionately about the mindset behind positive, sustainable exercise.
What are your words of inspiration to the people out there who want to come but are still shy?
Ok so I am an asthmatic, I have cellulite, I am seriously shy in loads of situations and I absolutely HATE getting up early. And I'm running the flippin' sessions! So you KNOW you have a guaranteed ally if you think you're too unfit, or it's too early, or the idea of speaking to new people is horrendous.
I make Bearfit the sort of classes I want go to - massively positive and full of happy energy. You will be TOTALLY encouraged to move in ways that feel good. And if you hide at the back - I get it. And that's ok too :)
Get to know Carly in 5 questions:
Favourite food: porridge
Favourite Bristol place: it's gotta be the Bearpit!
Favourite exercise to carry out: spinning
Favourite words of inspiration: everyone you look at and think "I wish I had my life sorted like they do" well I guarantee at least 50% of them are looking at you thinking the same thing. So, y'know, chill.
If you could do any event in the Bearpit what would it be: a massive morning rave with DJ, glitter and compulsory unicorn dress-code