COVID lockdown moves Taranaki couple into new careers

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Story by Stuff reporter Catherine Groenestein.

A South Taranaki couple used the Covid lockdown as a chance to take stock of their lives, and now, one year on, they are launching a business.

Kodie Huffam and Hannah Baker, both 30, have qualified as personal trainers.

Last year’s lockdown gave the Hāwera-based couple, who have three children between them, time to think about a change, Baker said.

Huffam was working long hours in building and logging jobs that kept him away from the family, and Baker found herself doing most of the childcare, as well as her job as a disability carer.

“It just wasn’t working, so this chance to study was amazing,” she said.

Baker, who is from Gloucestershire in England, came to New Zealand in 2015.

After she and Huffam got together, they settled in Hāwera, his home town.

“I’ve always been into sport and fitness, and I always wanted to do something sporty, but I got the travel bug,” she said.

They both enrolled for the New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4) at WITT, and started the course last July.

“We studied here in Hāwera which was good for us with the kids at school and kindy,” she said.

Now they have started Infinity Fitness in a new partnership with their former tutor, Josh Paurini.

They are building their clientele and enjoying a much better balance between work and family life.

“That's what being a personal trainer is allowing us to do, to have the time with the kids, and it ticks the box for our passion,” Huffam, a kick-boxer who specialises in working with athletes, said.

He also volunteers as a coach at Eltham’s Hydras Gym, and is training for a fight in July.

“It's good to watch the growth in people, they come in shy and reserved, and we see them grow, see them put in the hard work and see they are capable.”

Hannah’s speciality is high intensity training, and she also helps clients with strength and conditioning, weight loss and nutrition.

“I like teaching classes, and I’m looking at where I can find my niche in Hāwera,” she said.

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