Linda Oldfield showing her strength at her women-only fitness studio in Masterton. PHOTO/ELISA VORSTER
After 15 years of nursing people back to health, Linda Oldfield thought enough was enough and embarked on a journey to prevent people getting sick in the first place.
Last month marked three years since the opening of her women-only fitness centre, Shape Shop, in Masterton, providing Wairarapa women with a high-quality, safe, and judgment-free training facility.
“It was about getting woman back into being healthy – mind as well as body,” she said.
“I have a background in nursing, so I’ve spent a lot of time at the other end picking up things where it went wrong.”
Her manager gave her a 12-month sabbatical from her job, which was the opportunity she needed to chase her dream.
“I knew I had 12 months to prove to myself that I could make it work,” she said.
She had previously competed in, and won, body sculpting competitions with her husband, Stephen, and knew that between the two of them, they had a wealth of knowledge they could share with others.
Mrs Oldfield went on to become a qualified personal trainer and in 2015 opened Shape Shop in a small space in the Lansdowne Business Centre, where she could provide personalised training for small groups as well as one-on-one training sessions.
“We’re quite a social group – we talk and encourage each other.
“It’s about belonging and creating a sense of community.
“Women have made friends here with women they wouldn’t usually get to know.”
The business started “very small” with a few pieces of equipment and a couple of personal training clients, in what Mrs Oldfield said was essentially “small offices”.
By August 2017, Shape Shop had reached the point where the building needed to grow with the business, which saw it move to a purpose-built open space facility on Lincoln Rd, in Masterton (behind Bryan’s Furniture).
Mr Oldfield jumped onboard as a qualified exercise nutritionist who could provide a ‘non-diet’ nutrition course. His programme focuses on healthy eating as a long-term lifestyle solution, as opposed to a non-sustainable fad diet for rapid weight loss.
“We’ve had really good success with it – it changes the way we think and feel about food.”
“If you teach people habits and practise them often enough, it becomes ingrained.”
As her sabbatical came to an end, Mrs Oldfield made the risky decision to give up nursing completely, which she said would not have been achieveable without the support of her clients.
“I certainly don’t look back on it,” she said.
“Their motivation to achieve and just seeing them want to do something positive for their health and well-being – it’s the whole reason for me being here.
She was proud her resistance weights training programme was able to provide a safe environment for middle-aged women who wanted to feel comfortable about going to the gym and working out.
“When you feel good in your body, you feel good in your head.
“It’s cool to see people progressing, it gives me a buzz.”
The business has now grown enough for Mrs Oldfield to give back to the community in other ways, with Shape Shop co-sponsoring the Wairarapa Mitsubishi women’s hockey team and supporting women recovering from cancer through a partnership with Wairarapa Cancer Society.