Karen Lisa Laing
Inspiring active lives, through Pilates, writing, consulting and Fit School.
“Karen is one of the most outstanding instructors I know. Her passion and enthusiasm for Pilates and fitness means that her teaching is of the highest standard. Karen’s positive support and caring personality has helped so many new mums to get back into shape. I highly recommend Karen’s classes!” [Joanne Cobbe – J Pilates.]
"Your approach to exercise is empowering as well as enjoyable, making exercise something to look forward to and less of a chore. More than this however, is your personal touch - you have always cared about each and every one of us and we are very lucky to have had you as a teacher."
I teach Pilates classes in Epping and Essex. I write and present on health and fitness, specifically women’s health issues and consult on behaviour change and mass participation activity challenges.
My aim and that of Fit School is to break down barriers to health and fitness. My classes are fun and friendly environments. We want to help you stay injury and pain free, reduce stress, help you to find a community of like minded individuals and encourage you to get an exercise habit for life.
Beyond Fit School and the Pilates class, I collaborate with organisations and movements like #thisgirlcan to encourage increased participation in exercise and activity. In 2018 I developed and led the Essex wide, activity campaign #3030Essex. The campaign was run on behalf of the Active Essex Foundation and hosted by Active Essex.
Fitness isn't exclusive or just for gym goers - fitness is for everyone.
My expertise is women’s health, specifically pre natal wellbeing and post natal recovery, beginning with the pelvic floor.
I have presented at FitPro LIVE, the biggest fitness conference in the UK, at two WIFE (Women in Fitness Empowerment) conferences and for corporate events.
I've written a book for the UK’s leading fitness presenter, Rachel Holmes, Kick Start Fat Loss: The Revolution and have written a book, Through the Eyes of a Child for child abuse campaigner, Chris Tuck (published 2013).
Corporate clients include Polestar Fitness, and international fashion brand Bordoni.
I've also consulted for international fitness clothing brand Sweaty Betty.
Karen Lisa Laing (CV)
Fitness business owner, consultant and freelance writer.
15 years UK fitness industry experience.
Practical experience of working with and building relationships with local and national organisations from health professionals to charities, businesses, local government bodies and schools/nurseries.
CONSULTANT CAMPAIGN LEAD: #3030ESSEX, ACTIVE ESSEX, 2017-18
#3030Essex was an Essex wide, activity campaign which took place throughout June 2018.
The premise was 30 minutes of activity, every day for 30 days in June. The campaign was run on behalf of the Active Essex Foundation, hosted by Active Essex and backed financially by National Lottery Funding, Matchroom UK and Essex County Council.
As creator of the campaign and campaign lead, roles and responsibilities included:
Creating the project plan; presenting to stake holders and schools; technical lead on email marketing software (during GDPR); creating content (written and video); designing the website; sourcing and liaising with subcontractors for social media, web design and media production; and public relations including press and broadcast media.
DIRECTOR, FIT SCHOOL LIMITED, 2013-DATE
Fit School is a community based fitness business.
Fit School aims to empower, educate and inspire people to engage in regular activity and plug into a like-minded community of individuals who care about their health (and that of their family) through programmes of exercise and education both in person and online.
Based in Epping, Fit School was founded to offer a community based alternative to the current gym model. Fit School has grown from one Pilates class in 2011 to 100-125 participants weekly, with over 50% of turnover coming from monthly membership fees, in spite of having no permanent facility. We hire a team of subcontractors.
Through Fit School I have successfully implemented corporate classes in large organisations where we have had in the region of 100 participants attending classes weekly.
As founder and director (with my husband) I oversee the following roles and responsibilities:
Pilates teacher. Niche area seeing the full cycle of women’s health from pre natal to post menopause. I have classes ranging from ante and post natal to ‘anti-ageing’ with specific programming for the needs of older bodies (a growing demographic in the fitness industry).
PR and Marketing. I create content (written, video and images) relevant to our audience.Through journalism experience I also write for local newspapers, relevant websites and national press (see below).
Community Engagement/Outreach. Our community ethos means I want to work closely with local and national organisations.
FREELANCE FITNESS & PILATES INSTRUCTOR 2005-DATE
I’ve taught fitness and Pilates in London gyms including Nuffield Health,Virgin Active, LA Fitness,The Harbour Club and corporate gyms. I also set up private classes in Canary Wharf and SE London.
JPilates Active IQ Level 3 Teaching Pilates Matwork
JPilates Active IQ Level 3 Pre and Post Natal Exercise Prescription
Future Fit Pilates Matwork Fundamentals and Intermediate Pilates Matwork
Nike Rockstar Workout Hip Hop Instructor
Holmes Place Personal Trainer and Pre-Natal Certification
Body Training Systems Instructor, Les Mills Body Balance, Body Combat, Body Jam, Body Pump, Body Attack. YMCACambridgeCentral YMCALevel2TeachingExercisetoMusic.
FREELANCE WRITER 2005-DATE
I write about health, fitness and business.
My writing experience ranges from tabloid health news at The Sun to political reporting at the Independent on Sunday. I’m a writer for the Huffington Post, Babycentre, The Guardian and a columnist for Fitpro magazine. My features have been published in major fitness titles both on and offline such as: Health and Fitness, Zest, BodyFit and Sainsbury’s magazines.
I’ve written four books as a ghost writer. Child abuse campaigner Chris Tuck’s autobiographical first book, Through the Eyes of a Child (published 2013) and Survivors of Abuse (published 2016). I’ve also worked with fitness entrepreneur and presenter Rachel Holmes for the book to accompany her UK/Ireland fitness programme, Kick Start Fat Loss (published 2016). My most recent collaboration was with women’s health expert Jenny Burrell.
I’ve created web copy, blog posts and press releases for UK and international businesses ranging from online startups to UK leading fitness fashion brand Sweaty Betty.
My first book: The Pilates Instructor’s Guide to Pregnancy, is due for publication next year.
GROUP FITNESS MANAGER, HOLMES PLACE HEALTH CLUBS 2003-2004
As Group Fitness Manager I was responsible for the timetable and studio budget. I sourced, managed and paid instructors. Group Fitness was consistently ranked at the top for Holmes Place clubs in the UK under my management.
RESEARCHER, BBC SPECIALIST ARTS (FACTUAL), 2003
MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT, PWC CONSULTING 1999-2002
PwC Consulting (previously Pricewaterhousecoopers) provide business expertise combining technology, strategy and management consulting.
Position held: Management Consultant, specialising in IT, training and relationship management.
Roles and Responsibilities:Technical Lead and training course manager for UK graduate induction programme.
Training team leader for international graduate induction programme in Tampa, Florida, US.
Business analyst and software designer for the Performing Rights Society (PRS).Whilst on this project I was recognised for my competency in running client meetings, which exceeded expectations of my role and level of experience. Business analyst, data modeller for British Sky Broadcasting.
I trained in and used Oracle, Oracle Forms, PL/SQL, SQL, Java, C and Unix.
London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London. Postgraduate Diploma in Periodical Journalism 2005.
University of Exeter, BA Hons English Literature, FIRST 1998.
Available on request.
Image thanks to Dan Rouse,