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Coming from such an active background, it only seemed fitting that one day, Farah would open her own fitness studio in the town she grew up in. You may already be familiar with this international Strongwoman; she's been running her business, Fonseca Fitness, in Basingstoke for 10 years.

"I've always been the active one; from participating in netball, athletics, horseriding and swimming throughout my school years, to joining the college football and basketball teams and starting my career in a hotel gym at just 17. I was lucky to have parents who encouraged me to try as many things as I liked to ensure I had a healthy, varied and fulfilling childhood.
When I started working in fitness, I knew bootcamps were what I wanted to run and growing up in Basingstoke; it always seemed like the most obvious choice to run my business here- give back to the town you were raised in."

Having spent the last decade working out of other gyms and facilities, it seemed only fitting that to celebrate such a milestone; I opened my own studio!"

"Is there a need for 'another gym' in Basinsgtoke?!".

Well, yes, because this isn't just a gym. It's much more than that. Farah has brought a fresh concept to the town, something we haven't had before and should be proud of.

“I wanted to create an educational space for women to feel comfortable when training or seeking advice on eating or women's health issues. My slower pace of life during lockdown allowed me to make plans for my future, so here we are! I opened my own studio in February 2022, which runs a variety of sessions, including Mother and Baby, Pre and Post Natal Exercise, Self-Defense, as well as fitness classes, and of course, Strongwoman! All sessions are run by a group of fellow fitness professionals I have worked with over the years.

I also hold educational seminars covering everything from eating disorder management to how to properly understand the menstrual cycle, and we welcome girls from the age of 11 to participate in these talks.  Educating our future generation on the real, practical stuff is so important, so if I can go a little way to pushing that education forward, I'm all for it."

If lockdown taught Farah anything, though, it was the importance of slowing down, prioritising life's simple pleasures and giving back to her community.

"I learned how to sit down and enjoy a meal again; how mad is that?! I realised I spent so much time in my car, with clients, on my feet, that most of my meals were eaten on the go, cold or convenient usually. For someone whose childhood consisted of fresh, homecooked meals each night and an appreciation for my mum's delicious recipes, I faced the sad reality that I had lost that love. Lockdown allowed me to explore food again; learn new skills from talented friends, be present when I ate and rediscover some of my heritage."

"I lived in Overton at the time, and prior to lockdown, I'd never explored the village; I realised that I'd become a victim of the commute to work and home, with no exploration outside of that. Once I had the opportunity, I discovered so many beautiful walks and shops I just had no idea about; they even have a Greengrocer. I didn't know they still existed! That was a very pleasant surprise. I did also find one of my new favourite independent shops, The Artisans, where I spent a lot of my time (and money!)."

But with all the leading she does in the rest of her life, she eventually sought solace in something that allowed her to be the complete opposite to her everyday persona.

"Mum and I joined Salsa dancing lessons just before the first lockdown, and I absolutely loved it. Part of the Alchemy Dance school, it caters for all abilities and taking the opportunity to be a follower rather than a leader all the time really allowed me to start relaxing in other areas of my life, too. Salsa allows me to let loose, relax, smile uncontrollably and for once not be competing with anyone else. Don't get me wrong, I've loved my sporting background, and my success with Strongwoman has propelled me to where I am today, but sometimes being out of your comfort zone is the most comfortable you feel."

Farah, July 2022