I’m Colette McShane, and I’m the founder of health and fitness businesses, The HIIT Factory gyms, PT in My Pocket App and The HIIT Mum.
I’ve always had a massive passion for fitness and getting people super fit. I take a very realistic approach with it. For me it’s about eating well – which means a balanced diet of everything (including carbs!) in moderation - and training hard, but also having fun.
The idea for these businesses came about when I was pregnant with our daughter, Isla in 2012. It was a real ‘now or never’ moment. I could either go full steam ahead or play it safe back in the corporate world. I’m not afraid of taking risks, so I went in, feet first.
In creating these businesses, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to create something for people who didn’t like traditional gyms, for people who wanted to be part of something bigger. So, I created a series of 30-minute, high intensity interval training sessions, to get people great results in a shorter amount of time. And it’s working – we’ve launched a franchise model this year and are planning to launch The HIIT Factory globally!
The key to success – in business and life - is all in your mindset. For me, that mindset is wanting to live my best life. That means loving what I do, running my own show and being a role model that my daughter can look up to and be proud of.
My daughter was the catalyst for my career change.
It was while I was pregnant with Isla that I completely changed my career direction. I knew that when I was going to be a mum, that I wanted to work in something I was really passionate about. Something that would make my daughter and myself proud. I wanted her to know that when I’m at work, and she’s at childcare or at school, that her mummy is doing something she loves. So I decided to do my Personal Training studies while I was pregnant. I knew that in having my own business, I would have freedom to spend more time with her than a 9 to 5 job could offer.
Isla is our world. Her being here has totally changed the trajectory of my career and our lives in more ways than I could have imagined! She’s five now. She’s got the best personality and a wicked sense of humour – she’s already taking the mickey out of my Scottish accent. She’s grown up at The HIIT Factory and can even lead a class warm-up! She absolutely lights up any room and she is so kind-hearted. I’m so proud of her.
Health and fitness begin at home.
I come from a super active family. We started athletics very young, I think I was seven years old when I did my first triathlon in Scotland, where I grew up. I remember that it was absolutely freezing! It was a good motivator to keep moving, that’s for sure. We would spend most of our weekends racing. I really excelled at long distance and cross country running, 10km fun runs and then I got into cycling. I raced in the British triathlon championships when I was a junior. One of my sisters just competed for Australia in the Commonwealth Games in triathlon.
There isn’t really a sport we didn’t try. Karate, cycling, swimming, sailing, volleyball, badminton – you name it. My parents sacrificed a lot to get us to early morning sport practice, especially swimming. Now as a parent, I have so much more respect for them and what they did.
I want to be a great role model for my daughter.
We owe it to ourselves and to our children to love what we do. I look back on being a new mum to a newborn baby, and it was completely consuming. Every single moment, I was thinking about her. But that first class I took completely grounded me.
In those early days, I definitely experienced some guilt. “Why am I away working when I should be with my daughter?” I think most mums and dads go through that at some point. But it’s about finding your purpose and living true to you. What I’m doing has purpose, to me, to my family. Isla will look to me for inspiration and think ‘Hey, I can do anything, just like my mummy!’
I learned that doing what I love and being a mummy is the perfect co-existence of a complete, whole me. I can be a great mum and a successful business owner – they don’t need to be two separate entities. It’s important that we give ourselves permission to do the things we love.
Success is living your best life.
I think the secret to a successful business in today’s world is owning your mindset. For me, that’s a mindset of wanting to live my best life and to run my own show during the time I have on earth. And wanting to be a really great role model to my child is a massive driver.
You can’t be afraid to take risks - to face your fears will put you in good stead. I also believe that staying true to your authentic self, is EVERYTHING. Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’s, focus on your business and family, and be kind.
Work life balance is about doing what you can.
My biggest challenge has been trying to strike a balance. Between running multiple business, training clients, being a boss, a mother, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter…I really struggle trying to get it all done. We definitely don’t have a stress-free life right now, and maybe we never will, but we are happy and we know we are building a great future for our family.
Being in the public eye has taught me resilience.
Having a public profile has been a double-edged sword. On one hand, it opened my business to thousands of new clients wanting to improve their health and fitness. And on the other, it opened me up to personal attacks. There were really nasty comments from online trolls, who didn’t know me, but I took it all in, and I did it for an entire year. I was really hurting.
I realised I had to stop taking these comments personally. These trolls didn’t know me, or my work ethic - that I never stop, that I commit all my energy to my clients. I had to regroup and draw on my inner strength. We can’t control what other people think. We need to channel our energy into what fulfils us and gives our lives purpose. For me, that’s my family, Isla and my work.
Never take your health for granted.
The impact of exercise on my own mental well-being is profound. If I didn’t have my own training, I think I would lose the plot. Running multiple gym businesses, it can be hard for me to prioritise my own training. But I make a point of doing it and giving myself the same advice I give to our clients. I really believe that 30 minutes or so each day can have a massive impact on mental wellbeing, as well as productivity.
Seek gratitude in stressful times.
There’s enormous pressure managing multiple businesses, and there have been as many lows as there have been highs. When times are tough and I feel close to breaking point, I’ll open my inbox to read an email from a client, thanking me for what’s happened to their life since joining The HIIT Factory. Or a Facebook message from a PT in My Pocket user about the impact it’s had on their lives. It reminds that this is why I do what I do – to make a difference to people’s lives. And I’m so grateful that we’re able to do it and it’s something I am really, really proud of.
Colette on taking me-time.
I utterly adore films, and the cinema is one place you absolutely will not see me with my phone, so it’s brilliant me time. I love old school cinemas where you can have a glass of wine and watch a movie. It makes me warm and fuzzy inside.
On finding her happy place.
I absolutely LOVE training at The HIIT Factory with all our clients, and Isla by my side joining in. I feel super happy when we’re away as a family, exploring somewhere new, and also seeing Isla reach new milestones and have a very cool little personality at such a young age.
On her legacy.
I want to be remembered as someone kind who made a difference to people’s lives, whether through fitness or business. As someone who inspired others to take chances in life and lived with a sense of adventure. I want to be remembered as a pioneer and a trailblazer.