Misty spinning Bray to fitness
DUBLIN native Misty Barker moved to Bray eight years ago and couldn't imagine setting up a business anywhere else.
Over the past couple of years, the personal trainer has expanded her business slowly but surely. She started outdoors on the seafront before renting a small section of the Barracuda building. She then moved in to her own studio adjacent to the bowling alley. She ran out of space there, and has since relocated to Florence Road, where a spinning studio is the newest addition to the empire.
'I'm terrified every time I expand,' said Misty, who lost five stone herself before training as a fitness expert. 'You have to weigh up the risk against the damage it would do to remain as you are and take that leap of faith.''
One of her biggest assets is Bray Head, a great challenge for clients who want to get out in the fresh air. She added that the people in the town are great and very supportive.
Mother to a five-year-old girl, Misty's juggles motherhood and entrepreneurship. Her day starts in the studio at six in the morning. She collects her daughter in the afternoon and has a few hours with her before another evening shift at work until around 9.30 at night.
That's a non-stop day from dawn to dusk looking after clients aged 14 to 75, but she wouldn't have it any other way. Overweight in her school days, Misty had no idea she'd end up working in the exercise industry, but always knew she wanted her own business. 'I was the girl who'd be trying to hide her PE uniform back then!'
She started this project during a recession and had faith that the clients would come despite those hard times. 'I've been really lucky,' she said. 'I've been busy.' She said that word of mouth is the main thing driving her results-based business. She took on another trainer to make sure she could accommodate new customers. 'I was turning people away, which I definitely didn't want to do but there were no more hours in the day!'
As well as personal training and spinning, the business includes a supplement and health store area with protein supplements, gluten-free treats and low-fat, high-energy snacks. She has also teamed up with the Punnet Health Store in Glasthule to provide the popular three-day juice detox packages.
However, Misty insists that while a healthy nutritious diet is very important, she doesn't preach deprivation. 'Don't deprive yourself of something you like and don't starve yourself,' she said. 'It's all about balance.'
Practical living tips are her specialty, and some of Misty's tips for a healthy and energetic day include ditching the coffee and having water instead, and making sure you don't skip breakfast. 'Think protein and slow digesting carbs – eggs on wholegrain toast or berries, seeds and natural yoghurt.'
To find out more or to look at the prices and timetable go to www.mistybarker.ie.