In the year that brought us the Zoom meeting, it was no surprise that my interview with Stefanie Williams, was nothing short of a WFH call and a few technical difficulties. Despite not being able to meet face to face, Stefanie, who goes by the name Stef Fit on Instagram jokes that she isn’t video call ready as she has spent the morning filming workouts for her 1.4 million Instagram followers. With a lot keeping her busy during this uncertain time and her new, highly anticipated GLOW app in the pipeline, it’s no wonder that a call will have to suffice. We are first drawn to chat about the shoot for this interview and how it ties so well with her current Instagram content.
She details, “The concept of GLOW was very much embodied into the shoot. The colour of the app is a burnt orange colour, so I have tried to make my feed nice and glowy in the lead up to the launch. It’s the first colour scheme I’ve ever done actually. It is actually very difficult. A lot of thought goes into it and I am running out of orange things now.”
It’s clear that 2020 has served as a glow up for the fitness influencer, who has used her time in lockdown to nurture her business ventures to completion. Promising a fitness movement like no other, built on empowerment, accessibility and inclusion, GLOW was dreamt up and built to educate, support and give its community the tools to find the confidence to GLOW, whatever their fitness level or goals may be.
She revealed, “I have always been very sporty. I was the first one to get involved in sport with the boys on the playground. When girls were doing dolly stuff, I thought ‘absolutely not’. I had never really been that academic, so for me it was my happy place. That’s how fitness started for me, but as I got older other things came into play and into life.”
Struggling to find her feet initially, Stef revealed that she even started a career in makeup artistry, but feeling as though she wasn’t passionate enough about it to excel in it, she fell back in love with fitness.
She confessed, “I would speak to my family and they would ask what it was I have always loved. It was always sports. Fitness makes me my happiest, so that is why I started this journey.”
Starting her Instagram four years ago, Stef found her feet in the fitness industry and landed a self-made role as a fitness influencer with 1.4 million followers to her name by 2020.
She admitted, “Instagram wasn’t as big as it is now, no one was really posting educational fitness content. It was all very much about posting booty pics, which is great also, you can’t go wrong with a booty pic.”
Although Stef dealt with the difficulties of friends making fun of her and battling with a platform that allowed a lot of hate online, she explains that her platform was always well received.
She reminisced, “I started creating fitness videos and that’s where I saw I was getting a real engagement. I continued doing that and got such a great response. But straight off the bat I was giving people information that was useful and it became an incredibly positive space.”
Throughout lockdown, Stef shared regular live sessions on her Instagram feed, gaining the attention of a new audience all experiencing time at home together.
She said, “My platform grew a lot in lockdown and I think that was because it was all very raw. Baggy t-shirts, sweating away. It is all very relatable and what happens when you work out. You just feel yourself when you’re working out because it’s a very candid experience. So new followers got to see the real me straight away.”
Her unifying presence on social media gave her the opportunity to bring her existing followers and new followers together with a brand new platform.
She explained, “My followers have grown with me. I started my journey very much with them and over the past four years, I have been the first person to say you can never have enough knowledge. Never stop learning, if you think you know it all then that it just stupid.”
Stef had an entire career as a hockey player for the Welsh international team before she launched her digital fitness empire. Sadly her hockey career ended abruptly after she sustained an injury.
She confessed, “I was incredibly low, I suffered badly from depression. The focus on mental health became a reason to start my fitness again because something was missing and that was sport.”
She added, “When you are young, playing sports is solely for enjoyment. When I stopped playing, I lost myself a little bit. So regaining fitness and starting on that journey again allowed me to find my GLOW and my happiness. That is now translated into the new app.”
GLOW has been tailored to the individual. Simply programme in your age, weight and factors that determine who you are and you will get a bespoke plan that works around you. From how many days a week you work out, to your nutrition, the app caters to what you require from a fitness plan.
Stef said, “That’s what I think is so important. Everybody is so vastly different, so therefore we all require different things from the app because we live different lifestyles.”
She added, “It was fantastic to be able to connect with so many people during lockdown and having so many people tuning in for my Instagram Lives. It really gave a new sense of community.”
GLOW is a 360 degree app that helps to educate and inform and even sends you cute little messages to motivate you each day. The app aims to take out all of the hard work so all you need to do is show up as the best version of yourself, both inwardly and outwardly. Anything from nutrition to mindset is covered. Designed to make life just that little bit easier, Stef and her team have created an app that doesn’t dictate that you need to be a certain size and weight. The app allows you to pick and choose what you need it for, whether it’s with help correcting form or increasing mental stimulation with educational information.
Stef said, “I think what really stands us apart from other apps, is that we have a learn section. With knowledge comes so much power and you feel empowered when you know why you are training. This section enables you to educate yourself and do things properly, from the perfect push up to a well executed squat.”
She added, “I want to get other women in fitness involved in the app because I do not represent all women. It would be impossible to believe that, so I want to get more trainers and people within the industry involved. It is one of my priorities for next year.”
With a body-positive platform in the running and a new influx of followers brought to Stef’s page by overcoming the hurdles of a global pandemic and innovating her content to help others, Stef’s favourite quote seems only fitting to end on: ‘may the flowers remind us why the rain was so necessary’.