Sisters’ health and fitness events reach new heights on Cork rooftop

Two sisters have teamed up and brought their life passions together for a new venture - a rooftop workout and food, called Brunchfit, writes PAM RYAN
Sisters’ health and fitness events reach new heights on Cork rooftop

Women enjoying Brunchfit.

IF you are looking for a new way to socialise with old friends, or to make new ones, the Whitley sisters, Michelle and Yvonne, have created an event that might be just right for you.

Michelle Whitley is a personal trainer, and together with her fiancé Cian, owns and runs Roc Fitness, a personal training studio specialising in weight loss and weight training.

Her sister Yvonne, together with her boyfriend Kevin, is the owner and recipe developer at Naturally Nourished, a café focused on healthy food made with premium, locally sourced ingredients, packed with flavour. Both are located at Alfred Street.

Together, the Whitley sisters have created Brunchfit, the ultimate workout, brunch, and socialising event in Cork - on the building’s rooftop!

Yvonne says: “Michelle will teach an hour-long Ripped class, which is a high intensity mix of cardio and strength using resistance bands, followed by a joint-soothing stretch to finish.

“Guests will then come to the café on the ground floor and be treated to a dish of their choice, tea/coffee, and an energy ball.

“It is a feelgood event that leaves you buzzing and set up for the day. A great start to the weekend

“People really want new ways to socialise and spend time with friends that do not involve alcohol,” adds Michelle. “And what better way than to mix fitness and brunch?

“We ran our first event in January, 2019,” adds Yvonne. “It was a huge success! It came about from a desire from both of us to bring something to Cork that meant people could gather with friends, or better still, meet new people, do an activity that makes you feel good, eat healthy food, and hang out.”

Yvonne and Michelle Whitley, the duo behind Brunchfit.
Yvonne and Michelle Whitley, the duo behind Brunchfit.

Michelle’s Ripped class involves resistance bands and music, “which I supply, but we ask that clients bring mats and a water bottle. It’s suitable for all levels and I have designed and choreographed that class to make it tough and intense for those who want it, or low intensity for those who don’t.

“Mainly, we just want everyone to really enjoy the class and the music definitely helps”.

Michelle began her own fitness journey 15 years ago when she felt at her absolute worst.

“I know how daunting it can be. I absolutely love my job; the buzz you get from making someone feel good in a class or personal training is like no other.”

For the class, it is best to wear what you would normally wear to a fitness class and bring a jumper along to enjoy those outdoor views in comfort. There are also changing rooms and shower facilities, if you wish to quickly freshen up before brunch.

While you are building a sweat and producing endorphins, your delicious brunch is being prepared downstairs. Healthy, tasty, sustainable, and locally sourced food – what could be better?

Yvonne said: “The model at Naturally Nourished is to keep all dietary requirements in mind when designing our dishes. Most of our bakes and sweet breakfasts are dairy-free, wheat-free, and sweetened naturally. We have gluten-free bread available also, so we can easily adapt all other breakfast dishes.”

Yvonne began working in hospitality 15 years ago and, having studied nutrition, she wanted to marry her two passions together.

“It was a dream come true to be able to open our first health food café in 2017. It is something that makes me feel incredibly lucky to be doing what we love every day. Based on how much of a low time in my life it was when I lost my taste and smell for almost 10 months post-Covid, I suppose it shows just how much of an important role it plays in my life.

“It really is everything to me; my hobby, my pleasure, and my work.”

You may be reading this and be thinking, ‘I just could not work with my sibling!’ But the Whitley sisters make it work, bringing balance and harmony to this wellness event.

“It’s great!” says Yvonne.

 “We both bring very different aspects to the events and manage to share the workload very evenly. There have been no sister cat-fights just yet!”

Michelle adds that she has always looked up to her little sister.

“She is an absolute powerhouse and if she had not started up her own business first and then encouraged me to do the same, I probably would not be where I am.

“We know each other very well, obviously, but it means we know who is better at what and which jobs suit who, so we use each other’s strengths.”

Tickets for BrunchFit are sold through Eventbrite.

For more, follow @naturally_nourished_cafe and Roc Fitness @r_o_c_fitness on Instagram.

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