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women in fitness Yemi Penn

Our women in fitness series is a celebration of fly girls doing fly things. Meet Yemi – an entrepreneur, podcaster and owner of F45 Brixton who’s passionate about empowering people through fitness and coaching. Her podcast Did You Get the Memo? shares stories of men and women who’ve chosen to challenge the status quo and live life on their terms.

I’ve always been a ‘plump’ girl (some of my relatives would say 🙄). However, when I relocated to London from Nigeria at 12 years old, I pretty much blew up as McDonalds gave me life and I had no concept of what a healthy balanced diet looked like. I carried the extra weight I put on all the way up until university. That’s where shit got real and some people got nasty.
I came across a picture of me and good friend. She was – and still is – stunning, and all the man dem thought she was beautiful. On the back of the picture, a friend of a friend wrote ‘Beauty & the Beast’ referring to me as the latter. That hurt, and I started to associate being overweight with being a ‘beast/ugly’. I decided the only thing I could do was lose weight – it was either that or have a face transplant but that seemed a bit steep. My best friend’s mum at the time used to go to this soca/garage aerobics class in Brixton every Wednesday and Saturday. He played the best music and the vibe was just on point. Motivation was off the charts and whether you were big, small, black or white you were sweating and grooving to the vibe. I loved it! That euphoria I felt? I had to pass it on to others! So while studying my engineering degree I went on to do a weekend course to become a fitness instructor and my hustling officially began.

Discovering F45

I started to teach at my university, Fitness First, GLL and even the United States Air Force in Okinawa, Japan (random, I know, but you’re going to have to read my book to see how that fits). When people would come up to me at the end of a class and thank me, that euphoria doubled and the dream was born for me to open a fitness studio of my own. It would invite everyone from all walks of life to train in a community inspired environment  where you could have fun working out, getting stronger, leaner and healthier while doing it with friends. I relocated to Sydney, Australia five years ago and came across F45. After my first session, I INSTANTLY I knew this was my entry into the industry on a bigger scale and Brixton was the place it would be. Keeping fit isn’t just about the physical for me; it’s more about the mental and therefore it’s vital I keep it as a constant in my life.
2019 has started off strong as I am dedicated to not just nurturing the body but also the mind. To that effect I have recently launched my podcast series ‘Did you get the memo?’. My book will also be launched sometime in April. Developing and delivering programmes to empower others is top on my priority list this year.

Yemi’s fitness and health tips

One secret to success is consistency, however to be in it you’ve got to take that first step.

YemiOwner of F45 Brixton

Follow Yemi on Instagram @yemi82.

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