Quitting one life to start another for your dream career can be a huge step. It can be a terrifying change that only a few dare to do, but those who make the leap certainly have some amazing stories to share!
We chat to Bami from Bam Bam Boogie Dance Fitness - an awesome twerking dance workout class in London that empowers participants and gets them fit, happy and confident!
Bami shares her story about how she went from an office job at Google to taking that scary leap to make her dream career come true. Find out how she discovered fitness, how Bam Bam Boogie was created and how she realised it was her future - time to get inspired, yo!
From Corporate life to Bam Bam Boogie!
When did you realise that your future was in fitness?
I wasn’t a huge fitness fan when young - I was definitely a late bloomer! I started dancing at the age of 4 - typical jazz, ballet and tap classes a few times a week… but as I got older, I got more interested in boys rather than sports.
I remember attending an athletic meet at the age of 15 just because my crush was there. I entered the high-jump and completely flopped (literally) - I didn’t even clear the first bar! It’s safe to say that fitness was never really a priority in my mind during my youth.
It was only when I started struggling with my mental health during my move from Toronto to Dublin at the age of 22 that I turned to fitness as a way to feel better about myself.
I started training with a personal trainer and loved how fitness made me feel. I wanted to help others feel good about themselves too, without the social pressures and intimidation of entering a gym. That’s why I created Bam Bam Boogie as it’s for everyone! A super sweaty cardio workout that’s a ton of fun.
When did it click that you wanted to turn Bam Bam Boogie into a full-time job?
During my office job at Google, I found myself daydreaming about my classes during meetings. I’d run to the work studio or the toilets to practice routines for that evening - I just knew I was onto something and I could really feel my passion. I was literally walking, talking and breathing Bam Bam Boogie!
But it wasn’t just the fact that I didn’t want my work to suffer - my decision to leave my office lifestyle was also impacted by hearing the amazing testimonials from women who attend my classes.
One woman found the strength to leave an abusive relationship, another found the confidence to ask for a long awaited promotion, and another began feeling brave enough to take the chance on the dating scene - she found the man of her dreams and is now married!
These dance classes aren’t just keeping women fit. They are instilling inner-strength and confidence for people to follow their hearts. The community of Bam Bam Boogie has worked wonders and when I realised this, I knew I had to take the plunge and do this full-time. It’s a really special job.
What is Bam Bam Boogie?
Bam Bam Boogie is a movement centred around innovative dance fitness styles (like twerking) that get people feeling AMAZING about themselves and channelling their power to attract the lives they dream of. It started as a corporate diversity and inclusion project focused around afro-caribbean dance, but has now become so much more than just a corporate class.
What to expect at Bam Bam Boogie:
At our signature class TWERK AFTER WORK you can expect heart-thumping and booty pumping workouts to banging beats. After getting your sweat on, the sessions are wrapped up nicely with holistic meditation and positive affirmations at the end. If you are looking to spice up your weekly routine and get out of your comfort zone (in a very welcoming community) then this class is definitely for you!
As a certified personal trainer, I designed the structure of the class with maximum fat-burning and booty-building in mind. We start off with a HIIT warm-up, then jump right into a sweat sequence (check-out some of the videos on my Instagram - they look similar to dance routines) then we get into the circle of empowerment. You’ll have to come to a class to see how that looks! And then we cool down and meditate.
What are the benefits of these workouts?
The benefit is that you get to GROW in confidence, fearlessness and positivity which translates into other areas of life. A few fearless females have actually come out of depression because of these classes and the network they have built from them.
Most recently a regular Twerk After Work attendee shared her great news of getting her dream job thanks to the confidence exercises we use in class - she strutted right into that interview and although she didn’t get that job, they loved her passion so much that they created a job just for her!
And physically, you get to plump your peach and grow your glutes - your body will get curvier in all the right places. The workout is not only good for the body, but also good for the mind and soul! It can be life changing - it has certainly helped many who’ve attended… and also me. I’ve changed so much for the better so I’m so thankful for working hard at creating this. It’s saved my life!
Why did you decide to bring Bam Bam Boogie over to London?
Whilst working at Google in Dublin, the classes were very slow for the first 6 - 8 months before I rebranded as Twerk After Work at the end of 2017. And just as I decided to leave Google and Dublin, my classes blew up! Word had got out.
I had about 3 - 5 attendees in my weekly class, and by the time I was due to leave 6 months later I had a pumping class of about 30 women! I never expected this, especially since Ireland is a Catholic country, but I was so pleasantly surprised when they finally embraced Dublin’s first ever twerk workout.
I moved to London in February 2018 but didn’t actually start teaching until April 2018. I settled on London as it had always been my dream to come back and live as a Londoner. The classes have been really well received in London - I’ve gone from hosting one class a week with on average 8 attendees per class, to hosting 3 (and more to come) classes a week, teaching an average of 40 women per week.
Londoners are very open-minded and love to try new things. Twerk After Work is now a part of hundreds of women’s weekly fitness routines which is fantastic!
How has your life changed since ditching the office job and creating your own business?
It’s literally been a whirlwind! I’m a completely different person now compared to just 12 months ago. I’ve grown in confidence and I see the world completely differently now - I used to be a serious pessimist but now I wake up everyday with a grateful heart and positive mindset.
As an entrepreneur you have to be optimistic and believe that even in bad times things will get better... because they do! Building your own empire is challenging but rewarding in so many other ways - I love being so close to my community and getting to see first-hand how this movement is positively impacting lives.
On the other hand, I’ve struggled financially because I have had to invest so much of my personal savings directly into my business. I’ve also struggled with missing out on major social events with friends and family due to work commitments - there is no paid vacation or sick pay when you are self-employed.
But most importantly mental health can take a battering when starting your own business as it can be a really lonely journey. My first self-employed summer was hard because I didn’t have too many other freelance or creative friends to interact with, but now I’m much more well connected in London through attending business courses at places like The Princes Trust, Hatch Enterprise and The Trampery Republic. This really helps since your network is your networth - they helped me in all scenarios: financially, socially and professionally.
What advice do you have for others looking to follow their fitness dreams and run their own workouts/businesses?
100% DO IT! Even if you’re still working or at university, test the business idea for free with a group of trusted friends. Then expand to friends of friends before finally releasing to the general public. Get lots of feedback, tweak, change and improve until you feel you’ve got it nailed. Then begin charging and go full throttle with your business.
Get advice from people who have already done it - I’m just an email away if you want to chat you can hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org
Trust your instinct and go with your gut. NOT the opinions of others, no matter how close you are to them. When I first had the idea to get into fitness in 2015, I set up an Instagram account @bamifitness and told ALL my friends on Facebook to check it out. I got so many messages making fun of me that I deleted it out of embarrassment.
Now I look at the growth of Bam Bam Boogie in under 3 years and I think ‘wow, @bambam_boogie could have been even bigger if I hadn’t let myself be so vulnerable to other people’s opinions’. So just go with what you think will work and don’t be afraid of criticism - bite the bullet and just FLOWWW WITH IT!
If you fancy checking out Bami's classes, head over to your MoveGB account and check out her timetable.