Start-up Fit

I suppose I should begin by introducing myself: my name is Lauren Hart, and I’m a Business Development Manager (and fitness instigator) here at Airts.

I was born and raised in sunny Scarborough, a beautiful seaside town on the Yorkshire Coast.  I first moved up to Edinburgh for university, and fell in love with this amazing city – so much so that I never left.  The combination of its friendliness, beauty, and the career opportunities available make it a great place to live.  After my degree, I found myself training as an Investment Manager.  Ten years later it was time for a change, which is around the time that I met the Airts team… the rest, as they say, is history!

Growing up I played a lot of sports, focussing competitively on tennis and gymnastics.  Whilst I was at university, fitness took a back seat (let’s just say I made the most of my time as a student!).  It wasn’t until I was working full-time that I started to look for a way back into sport.  It took a while, as I wasn’t keen on training on my own in a gym, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to take up any team sports.  I’d never heard of CrossFit until a colleague’s husband opened a gym.  I went a couple of times to support the new venture, and got hooked.  Ten years later, I’m still training five or six times a week, and have competed across the UK in both CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting.

When I joined Airts just over a year ago, I had to adapt my training habits by starting at 6am instead of my work-from-home 12pm session.  I was unsure how my new colleagues would react to me stumbling into the office with a shiny face, already looking exhausted (by this time, I’ve trained, walked the dog, and walked to work).  This sparked lots of puzzled queries:

“What have you been doing?”
“What is CrossFit?”
“Why would you do that to yourself?”
“6am??”

The simple answer is I that I love it! I’ve been training at the same gym for the past 10 years (wow, how time flies), and I would say my time there has been life changing. Not only in the fitness sense, although I do love feeling fit, healthy, and strong. I’ve learned how to make more positive lifestyle choices (although you will NEVER stop me enjoying the odd margarita), and most importantly I’ve made lifelong friends. In fact, some of the most important people in my life I’ve met training. Another attraction is its global community – I’ve visited CrossFit ‘boxes’ (aka gyms) all over the world, and have stayed connected with many of the people I’ve met in those countries.

What is CrossFit?
“CrossFit is a lifestyle characterised by safe, effective exercise and sound nutrition. CrossFit can be used to accomplish any goal, from improved health to weight loss to better performance. The program works for everyone—people who are just starting out and people who have trained for years.”

So, after encountering so much interest from the Airts team, I decided to suggest a weekly fitness session, which I have fondly named AirtsFit.  At Airts, we’re very fortunate to be in a fabulous location, which is not only directly underneath Edinburgh Castle, and in the centre of town.  We’re also only a couple of minutes jog to the Meadows, a beautiful public park.  The idea was: jog to The Meadows, do a 20 minute fitness session, jog back.

Our first AirtsFit class consisted of two members (including me), but we had fun, came back a little soggy (though it rains less in Edinburgh than you think!), and more than a little sweaty. Here is the first ever AirtsFit workout:

20 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)
20 squats
20 lunges
20 burpees
200m run

My poor guinea pig for that first session (I won’t name any names…) was a great sport and didn’t mind the mud, so we had a good time, and we got a great workout.  He was a little sore the next day, so at least I know he’d worked hard!

I was curious to see if interest would continue, or if enthusiasm would dampen over the next month or so.  I was delighted when AirtsFit started to become something that a group within the office looked forward to each week!

Almost a year on, we still do AirtsFit, whatever the weather, and we have a regular group of between five and ten of the team who come together for fitness, fun, and teamwork.  In a growing office of 28 (and counting!) employees, that’s a pretty decent percentage.  Sometimes we do individual workouts, sometimes we work in teams of twos and threes.  It’s a fantastic way to get to know each other, and to learn to work together outside of the office environment.

We discuss the workout, moan about how sore we are the following day, moan about the weather.  Hmmm, thinking about it, there seems to be a fair amount of (good natured) moaning! More importantly though, we get back to our desks energised for the afternoon ahead.

Another important aspect of AirtsFit is that it allows my colleagues who have busy home lives, for example with young children, the chance to fit in some exercise during the day.  This means that when they get home they can dedicate their time to their families.

We’ve recently started opening up AirtsFit to the CodeBase community, and offices in the surrounding area.  A couple of my fellow CrossFitters, who work nearby, also jump in from time to time to keep us on our toes.

I love the bonds that have grown between the AirtsFitters, and I love that my colleagues seem to be enjoying AirtsFit as much as I do.  Long may AirtsFit continue, and fingers crossed that the numbers continue to grow anywhere near the growth of our business (psst – we’re hiring!).

If you’re reading this and wondering if your workplace could benefit from something similar, feel free to give me a shout. Likewise, if you work at CodeBase or nearby and would like to pop along for a session – we would love to meet you!

Posted in Blog.