Mums Join Cressida’s Virtual Gym For Fitness, Nutrition, Lifestyle & Community
What’s your story?
I am a health and fitness mentor for women looking to get fit and healthy from home after having children.
I grew up near Oxford in the UK and went to Manchester Metropolitan University to follow a career in fashion. I wanted a glamorous life but soon realised an office based job was not for me! I spent most of my 20’s travelling and working around the world in hospitality. During this time, I met many fascinating people, many of whom I’m still in contact with now. In 2009, I was managing a ski hotel in the French Alpes when a cheeky South African swept me off my feet! I returned to London with him where I worked as a Business Travel Manager. We married in 2013, and our son was born the following year. I decided to stay at home to raise my children but soon realised I needed more than that to be fulfilled. And, Strong Like Mummy Fitness was born!
I have always been into sports and fitness. I played Ice hockey in my late teens, I was a member of the Territorial army for 2 years and I did a 70.3 Ironman in 2011. Having lost 20kg twice after having my children, fitness and nutrition seemed the obvious route for me to take.
What excites you most about your industry?
Right now, the online fitness and nutrition business is booming! Many gyms are closed and people are worried about being in a gym environment. Gone are the days of watching the same exercise DVD on repeat, doing nothing for your fitness or mental health!! Performance nutrition is also moving forward from strange tasting chewy bars and calorie laden sugary drinks. Understanding your own body and fuelling your body with healthy nutrition is pushing the fad diets and dangerous diet pills out of the window.
What’s your connection to Asia?
My husband was given the chance to develop the Asia side of his business and we jumped at the chance to move to Hong Kong. My son was just 3 months old when we moved! It was certainly a challenging time for me as a new Mum in a new city!! Over time we found our feet and created a great little life for ourselves. My daughter was born there in 2016 and I will never forget holding my baby girl looking out from Matilda hospital overlooking the ocean.
After 5 years in Hong Kong we decided a change of scenery and fresh air would benefit the children so we crossed the water to Singapore arriving in the summer of 2019.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong has a fantastic network for Mum’s setting up business and the law there makes it easy to do so.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best advice I received was during an assault course while in the TA! Believe you can do it, commit and don’t overthink it! The Sargent may have been talking about running over a plank high up in the air, but this translates to all areas of life! If you doubt yourself and waiver you will never achieve your goals.
Who inspires you?
Michelle Obama. She put her own incredible career on hold to support her husband in following his dreams. She turned her new role into a mission to help girls and women reach their potential. She chose not to sit on the sidelines. During this time she raised her own daughters while not forgetting about her own needs. She is a fitness enthusiast and enjoys spreading lifestyle advice to other women. She understands that physical health is incredibly important.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Watching how people are reacting online to the virus has been fascinating. I am astonished to see people pointing fingers and blaming people for its inception, it’s spread, and for how it’s affected our lives. Many people have gathered together, online, to help and support people while others are doing the opposite.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. If I changed my past I wouldn’t be where I am today. We all make mistakes but learning from those is how we grow.
How do you unwind?
I’m not very good at relaxing!!! I’m not a bubble bath kind of woman! Usually, doing something physical, like one of my workouts, helps me unwind! Or even a walk. Moving my body re-centres and calms me. Or I have a glass of wine while watching a favourite Netflix show with my husband! Two quite contrasting things!
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Langkawi! It’s fantastic for children as it’s very safe, the beaches are stunning, the wildlife is abundant, and it’s easy to leave your hotel to explore the island. I’m sure we will become more intrepid as the kids get older. Right now a secluded hotel and a fab pool makes them very happy!
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals,” by Rachel Hollis.
Women spend too much time worrying about what other people think and holding back for fear of judgement. This book will give you strength in your own convictions and push you forward.
Shameless plug for your business:
“My Virtual Gym” is the perfect gym if you are a Mum looking to feel fit, healthy and confident again. We are a supportive community following online workouts together and eating healthy nutritious food while still enjoying the things we love the most.
My programs are for you if you are looking for long term lifestyle changes, not quick fixes. I can help you change the way you see your body, your relationship with food, and get you super fit without ever leaving your house! The workouts start from just 20 minutes and you can press play at any time. We have programs ranging from Barre to Weight lifting to Step. The workouts are laid out in progressive programs to enable you get fitter and stronger over the course of a program.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.