The story of Slim Brother... by Jody Bunting
How we went from a simple fitness class to a health club promotion tool, and finally ended up as the Slim Brother you know and love today...
1994 - Fitness Class - I started teaching aerobics fitness classes for my friends and family at a local hall, at the age of 16, after losing my childhood weight
1996 - Qualified - I qualified as a group fitness instructor, aged 18, and continued to teach fitness classes in my local hall, plus taught some classes for Derby City Council "Exercise for the not-so-fit."
2001 - FLAB-U-LESS - The Council asked me to lead a new fitness class exclusively for overweight people (as I was 31-stone at the time) called "EXXXercisers" and this included an optional self weigh-in and at the end of the class a 5 minute health tip. This very popular concept featured on BBC East Midlands Today TV news, and also led me to me appearing on Channel 4's The Big Breakfast, and I started doing a weekly slot with a fitness workout and a health tip, "Lose it with Jody" and "Jody's Food for Thought." Back in Derby I parted company with the council and set up the concept on my own called "FLAB-U-LESS." This ran for a number of years all across the city. I also started to teach freelance fitness classes at local Health Clubs.
2002 - H.O.P.E. - I started to volunteer for the obesity charity H.O.P.E. - I attended a government obesity event at the House of Commons. I was regularly a guest speaker at various events, including the National Obesity Forums annual meeting in London, an East Midlands NHS Obesity event at Pride Park and regularly at Derby Hospitals Obesity support group.
2004 - Rosemary Conley - After reaching my goal weigh, I trained with Rosemary Conley to become a Diet and Fitness Club leader and gained my first qualification in nutrition.
2005 - Fitness First I signed an exclusive contact to work for Fitness First Health Clubs. I taught, and managed, fitness classes in my local club, plus I was the "face" of their new weight loss clubs that was launched nation wide. I got to do a full UK tour promoting the clubs, however the down side to this was I had to give up all my other diet and fitness work. After this I went into to teaching/managing just mainstream fitness classes in London and then later in Egyptian holiday resorts. I won a UK national fitness award due to my community work, Group Exercise Manager of the Year.
2006 - The Fat Factor (the free course in born!) - I moved to work in a health club in Kent. A friend there (Natasha Gant) and I, launched a free community weight loss course called The Fat Factor (as we loved the X Factor TV show, plus loved helping people lose weight, so this what the dream job for us!). It was hugely popular, we ran courses in Kent, Surrey, Essex, Derby, Burton and Nottingham, plus it starred on BBC 1's The One Show. After this I moved back to Derby and Natasha launched her own projects called Health Idol in Essex (I helped out with fitness for a bit), and then The Health Bug online.
2008 - Maxine - BBC Radio Derby contacted me and asked for my help with a listener, Maxine Wood (RIP), who needed to lose weight urgently for a life saving stent operation. The Fat Factor team, me and Natasha went in to help her, and she lost over 2-stones in time for the op, plus featured on all the local media outlets for her great success, including ITV's Central News East. Sadly Maxine passed away a few years later due to her diabetes.
2008 - Derby's Biggest Loser - I qualified as a CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach and set up some of the free courses alone in Derby, using the "Biggest Loser" name, and I added in a weekly online video diary (for accountability for slimmers and marketing for me) and they featured on BBC Radio Derby and in the local newspaper, the Derby Telegraph. The courses got sponsored by Debenhams for an End Event fashion show party, and by Firefly photography for the course "winners" makeovers and photo shoots.
2009 - Barry - A local resident in my village of Hatton Derbyshire, Barry Fowers, featured in the local press saying he was "too fat to work." I contacted him offering my services for free. Barry lost over 2-stone in a few months and featured in the national media for his success.
2009 - Slim Brother (was born!) - I rebranded the free courses to Slim Brother (as the whole concept is me coaching slimmers in a friendly way like a brother) and ran them for several years in Burton and Derby (aka. Slim Brother 1 - 5). The courses featured in the Burton Mail. From 2011, I focused on just my fitness work as I worked on my own holistic health, firstly in Egypt again, then back in Derby.
2012 - Jalloh - I ran a special Slim Brother bootcamp in East Staffordshire with a friend Jalloh.
2015 - Happy Hens - I ran a free Slim Brother course in South Derbyshire at Happy Hens Farm Etwall (Slim Brother 6).
2017 - Weight Watchers - I got back into the weight loss industry, working for the world's biggest wellness brand, WW. I gained another nutrition qualification and learnt so much about wellness, coaching and the weight loss industry business.
2019 - Slim Brother reborn - After leaving WW, I relaunched the Slim Brother brand with one to one coaching and some "slimming club" style groups (for people who didn't want the public nature of the free courses), which moved to online from the pandemic in 2020.
2020 - PHC - I became an ambassador for the obesity charity PHC (Public Health Collaboration)
2022 - Free Courses - I relaunched the free weight loss courses online (Slim Brother 7 to 12) with Facebook live interactive coaching videos, plus continue the private 121 coaching which is leading to the best results for my slimmers.
2023 - The free courses have evolved to become private with optional group coaching in a closed support group! Our 121 coaching now offers an option to do the private video call instead publicly via Facebook/Instagram live for those who want greater accountability or to share their journey with their friends.