As a teenager Poppy Alfredou dreamt of a life in fashion, she was underweight and had bad eating habits – the last place you’d find her was in the gym.
But when she moved from her home in Cyprus to study fashion at university in London, she stumbled across The Factory gym in Hornsey and it changed her life.
She’s one of many clients-turned fitness instructors who have quit their day jobs (or in her case her degree) to pursue a whole new career in fitness.
She said: “The great thing about this place is that the personal training sessions are included as part of your membership. I quickly became hooked on the endorphins I get from working out; I knew it was serious when I’d turn down nights out because I wanted to train the next day!
“Joining the gym was a massive turning point – it helped me to regulate my bad eating habits and I soon started to realise what a toxic environment the world of fashion could be. As a teenager who struggled with self-image, that wasn’t healthy for me. I soon realised how invested in fitness I had become, and the next natural step was to train to be a personal trainer.”
Poppy, 26, has been working as a personal trainer at The Factory for six years – she’s also a qualified yoga, martial arts and boxing teacher and is skilled at mobility training.
She added: “It’s funny – anyone who knew me as a teenager would be shocked to see me working in a gym. But The Factory doesn’t have your usual gym vibe – it feels a bit like family, which is why I’ve been here for so long. There’s no judgement here, members get a lot of help from personal trainers and they’re all ages and from all walks of life. It’s a happy place – a kind of second home.”
One of her clients recently fought off an attacker using techniques she’d learnt in Poppy’s boxing class.
Poppy added: “As a personal trainer you really get to know people, you play a big role in their lives. Many clients say the training they do here helps them in every aspect of their lives – feeling stronger helps with everything and training your body and mind can make a massive difference to your working life.”
As well as regular gym sessions, The Factory offers Zumba, all manner of dance classes, pilates, yoga, pole and aerial hoop classes. Local Buyers Club members save 10% on membership here.
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