Today, I hopped on the Gosport Ferry from Portsmouth to meet Shelley Buxey, a personal trainer and sports therapist. Shelley has recently moved back home to Gosport from London to settle down, and has created a new style of gym workout right here in Portsmouth, at StrongLiving PT!
Shelley went to school in Gosport at Bay House, where she discovered her love of running! Bay House didn't just nurture her academically — they nurtured her specialist interest in sport, too, so she was in good hands. Shelley ran for the county from the age of 13 through to 15.
While we talk, Shelley reminisces about her father and sister, and remembers that from a very early age, when her friends’ parents would take their kids down the pub, her dad would take her and her sister to the track and make them run and run and run! Her dad was a great runner himself, but his family was too poor to help him with starting a running career, so he did everything he could to stop this sad history repeating itself, and trained his girls and cheered them on from the sideline.
Shelley made it through school — academia didn't come easily to her, but she had her heart set on going to Fareham College to pursue a BTEC National Diploma in Social Science. The day her GCSEs landed on her doorstep, she opened them to find she didn't have the grades she needed to get onto her dream course. But Shelley got on the phone to the college and pleaded with them to enrol her — and they did, because they could see how determined she was, so girls, don't take ‘no’ for an answer! There's always a way to jump each hurdle.
Shelley worked three jobs during college — as a shop girl in Burberry in Gunwharf Quays, at Domino’s Pizza, and at a local caravan park. She planned to save enough money to go travelling for six months, during a year-long break from studying, while being sure that she had a secure place at the University of Brighton for the following year.
She packed her backpack and headed off to Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand. On her travels, she lived life to the full — snowboarding, skydiving, and a canyon swing! This is apparently a fun thing to do: they strap you to a massive pendulum and swing you over a canyon — terrifying if you ask me!
Shelley made it back to ‘Ol Blighty in one piece, and began her university course in Brighton, studying Sports Science. This degree in turn enables you to become a sports exerciser and sports physiologist which, in a nutshell, means you can train top athletes to improve their technique and be the best that they can be in their field, or become a sports lecturer.
Shelley took on the latter role, landing a job as a sports lecturer at Sussex Coast College, which wasn't the best of jobs, as the students were mostly of a poor background. Every day, she would have to deal with students coming into class drunk, and sometimes homeless. On top of teaching, Shelley worked as a personal trainer and class teacher at her local gym.
A couple of years later, London was calling. Shelley landed a job at Premier Training International in Islington, teaching classes, personal training, and sports massage. Again, alongside her teaching job, Shelley coached personal training at her local gym and taught spin classes. This is when she had her lightbulb moment.
Shelley had her team of ready eager students wanting to get jobs in sport, so she thought, why not put all of her knowledge and knowhow to good use and open up her own gym and offer it out to the public for HIIT classes. And so, Hackney HIITsters was born.
Shelley hunted down the perfect venue — she wanted an airy warehouse feeling, and found an artsy space, which she filled with key pieces of equipment to aid her HIIT classes: battle ropes, power clubs, TRX, etc. With a Facebook ad campaign kicking things off, HIITsters got busy pretty quickly, but Shelley still worked her teaching job, ran her other gym classes, and worked as a personal trainer and sports massage therapist.
This year, for family reasons, Shelley has moved back to Portsmouth. Luckily for our kids, she very quickly got offered a job at Portsmouth College teaching sports massage, and of course, with her incredibly hard-working ethic, she has plans to open up her HIITsters gym right here in Pompey! Again, she’ll be encouraging students to work and run it, and will carry on teaching fitness classes, working as a personal trainer, and giving sports massage therapy.
Shelley now offers one-to-one personal training sessions and sports massage treatment at the Coastguard Studios in Clarendon Road, Southsea, as StrongLiving PT. It's a great space for functional exercises: no gym nonsense, just the use of body weight in both cardio and resistance exercises.
Follow Shelley’s StrongLiving PT updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and book classes, personal training sessions, and sports massage therapy through her website »