We talked to Nicole from So Fitness, a matcha lover and incredible women who wears many hats. She started her business with Vivian and now have a brick and mortar studio! Not an easy feat to do during COVID.
Hey Nicole! Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Im 28 this year, originally from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and came to New Zealand for University 11 years ago (time flies!). I’m a Physiotherapist, Pilates Instructor, Manager, Business Owner and occasionally I teach some Pilates &Physio courses too.
You’ve gone through such a journey with Vivian starting So Fitness, how did this all come about?
Yes it certainly been a journey. Honestly sometimes we can’t keep track. Vivian and I met in 2020. Funny story, I was actually looking for models for Facial Acupuncture service I was rolling out for my Physio business and she answered my call on FB! I already have seen her on social media because she posted some Pilates promotional video before. We got along so well and one day she was like ‘do you want to start a Pilates business together’ and I was like ‘sure lets try it out’. It went from there! We were teaching out of community centers and dance studios on the North Shore, lugging out 11kg each portable reformers in and out of our cars and setting them up. COVID hit on and off and that was disruptive. Honestly not having a brick and mortar was hard, so we decided to bite the bullet and build our own pop up studio in Auckland CBD. 1 year after opening that pop up studio, we now have our flagship HQ on Princes Street!
Were there times you nearly gave up or lost motivation? (we certainly had) How did you get over the bumps?
I haven’t had moments where I nearly gave up because I always feel like I’ve already done so much, its too late to quit (probably not a good mindset). Lost motivation? Yes 100%. So many times. Honestly, having Vivian is a god send. She is the most positive and optimistic person ever, whereas I tend to be a bit negative sometimes. Having someone to go through the hard times, who is in the same situation and understand everything is so important.
Honestly without her, So Fitness would not be where it is now. Also, having a great supportive life partner helps as well! We joke that he’s often the unofficial 3rd owner of the business with the amount of (unpaid) work he has done for us!
We love pilates! How did you first get into pilates and why reformer?
I got into Pilates because of my job haha! When I graduated, I joined a company that required all Physios to be Pilates Instructor (back when Pilates was going through a downturn and it wasn’t trendy). I trained for a whole month in all the Pilates equipment (I was so fit) and loved it ever since. I’ve tried other stuff like gym, cardio, yoga, barre etc but have always always come back to Pilates.
I call the Reformer my All in 1 machine. I love it because you can target most of the muscles of the body with the Reformer, as well as working on stuff like stability, balance, coordination while getting cardio and strength training. Also, what’s not to love, when you can lie down and get a workout?
What’s a typical day look like for Nicole?
Oh gosh Im so sorry but my life is so boring haha. My typical is wake up between 430am-6am depend on my start time, have breakfast and cuddles with my dog Luna, get to work by 7am the latest. From there Im usually doing back to back physio, private pilates or teaching the occasional group classes. When I get breaks I usually take a nana nap on my physio bed and then smashing out paperwork/admin/emails. If Im lucky, I’ll squeeze in a small workout
which usually also turns into social media content creation time. I clock off about 6pm-630pm and will head home and have dinner, play & cuddle with my dog. Im already in bed by 8pm because I'm just exhausted. Typically will do some social media scrolling or reply some urgent messages/emails while I do my skin care. Then 9pm is my bed time, I know. Im a nana haha.
You’ve created your own method - The So Fitness ™ Method, could you explain what the difference is between regular reformer and yours?
Yes I did! I think it all comes from learning the Traditional Pilates Method and experiencing the change in Pilates now to become more commercialised and athletic. Due to my Physio background and treating a lot of injuries/pain and changes in body posture due to the Digital age, I wanted to create a Reformer Method that pays respect to the Traditional Method (because its absolutely genius) ¬ losing the core concepts of Pilates, but also make it more realistic to what the general population would need/can achieve and would benefit them so they don’t break themselves as they go through their daily lives.
Okay, 5 guests you get to train – who would they be?
Oh gosh would it be really tacky to name Kpop idols? I would love to train the Blackpink girls because they already do some much Pilates and I think they would excel do well. I would also like to train Ryan Reynolds because I think it would just be an all round hilarious session. Plus Blake Lively is downright gorgeous and amazing, it would be a plus to meet her!
What’s your first memory of matcha?
Oooh, my first memory would be in Taiwan when my dad was working there when I was in Primary school. I had a matcha soft serve and honestly there was no going back from there! I remember telling everyone about Matcha and no one had a clue what I was on about haha. Im so glad it’s more accessible now, especially good quality matcha!
What next for So Fitness?
So much! Right now, we’re just settling into our new studio (it’s been 3 weeks?). We’re expanding into our Academy/Educational side, expanding our merch line, and always looking to grow our team and our presence online & in person! We’re a small business with big dreams, and its honestly not easy at all. You guys would understand! We just hunker down, keep doing what we do best, listen to our clients and spread the Pilates love because we love it so much, and hope that takes us to where we want to go!