Former soldier shapes up for success with web-based fitness venture

A former infantry soldier is on mission to make personal fitness “easy and attainable for all” with the launch of a web-based fitness business.

James Hesling, from Leeds, is the founder and director of AllShapeUp, an online platform with more than 100 full length workout videos that can be done from home or wherever users may be. Workouts range from beginner to advanced and cover yoga, HIIT, body sculpt, kettlebells and dumbbells.

The site also contains more than 100 recipes including vegetarian and gluten free options with nutritional guidance.

Hesling, who founded the business in 2016, said he created AllShapeUp to help the 13 million people across the UK who want to improve their fitness through other means then a traditional gym membership.

He said: “There are a lot of people who want to exercise but because of time constraints or their jobs or other commitments, it isn’t feasible for them to have a gym membership. They may also not like going to a gym full stop which is why AllShapeUp is the perfect solution for them. Users can do a workout at home or somewhere else where they are comfortable. People want variety too in their workouts and we offer more than 100 options, and are adding to our library regularly.”

He added: “I founded AllShapeUp to follow my passion in helping people from around the world to become fitter, healthier and to feel more confident in an affordable and accessible way. I advocate living a healthy balanced lifestyle combined with regular exercise. I do not believe crash diets work in the long run as they’re not sustainable, hence why I believe we have received such great feedback since launch.”

The business has recently hired two interns and future plans include adding content for the workout and recipe libraries, and attracting new members. There are currently more than 300 registered members.

To support his business, Hesling joined the Entrepreneurial Spark Powered By NatWest programme based on the Headrow in Leeds.

Run alongside partners KPMG Enterprise, Dell Technologies and Pinsent Masons, Entrepreneurial Spark is a free business accelerator for start-up and scale up businesses and has provided free support, mentoring, networking and office accommodation for hundreds of businesses in hubs across the UK.

Hesling said: “The programme has been fantastic. It’s given me the space to really transform my ideas for the business into reality, and the support from the enablement team based at the hub has been invaluable.”

Melissa Hulme, entrepreneur development manager at NatWest, said: “We are very excited for James and AllShapeUp. The business goes from strength to strength, and James’ passion for health and fitness is closely connected with all of his business achievements. We look forward to seeing what else he can do.”