For many people, fitness is a way of life – being physically fit is not simply something they do, but a part of who they are.

For others, the prospect of getting shape is a goal that always seems out of reach, not because it’s physically impossible, but because the challenge would involve a level of emotional struggle and embarrassment that just isn’t worth the sacrifice.

Body confidence issues are by no means new, but fitness classes that are geared specifically towards individuals with body confidence issues certainly are.

This is the niche that Becky Scott, who works in student services at the University of Essex, has managed to carve out with her business MissFits.

It is a business where the concept is even cleverer than the name, and the idea has even managed to win Mrs Scott a national award for her efforts.

Following nearly three years of work, MissFits has won the Inclusive Award by the Community Fitness Network, an organisation that tries to improve people’s health in a communal set-up.

The aim of MissFits is partly to get women and girls fit– but in particular the goal is to improve the confidence of those who simply feel out of place doing exercise in a fitness studio.

And Mrs Scott openly admits that one of the main ways her fitness classes help participants is by allowing them to follow a fitness instructor who has a similar body shape to their own.

She said: “I thought that other people could benefit from having someone like me at the front of the class to make them more comfortable about coming along.

“I used to go to fitness classes, but I found out that when I didn’t lose weight, I didn’t go back – which really defeats the purpose.”

The idea of a fitness class was there, but it was a bursary from Active Essex that allowed Mrs Scott to put it into practice.

Read more:

• Colchester fitness instructor helping people with their mental health

• How Iceni Gym in Colchester has adapted due to coronavirus

• Get Monkwick Moving campaign aims to boost town's fitness

The 40-year-old from New Town saw that there was a bursary scheme for fitness related qualifications worth £250, and quite simply thought “why not?”

“I set up some classes in the hope that people come along, and if they didn’t then I would give it up – I’d have only lost £250 anyway,” Mrs Scott said.

“But I felt there was a need to offer proper beginners’ classes – it gives people a chance to do something less intimidating or overwhelming.”

Now part-time at Essex University, Mrs Scott now has more time to commit to her fledgling business, which runs three times per week – in the Hythe on Mondays, St Benedict’s School on Wednesdays, and the Stephanie Cook School of Dance on Fridays.

Although there won’t be any classes running through December, Mrs Scott will add in a fourth weekly class in January 2022 as she hopes to welcome more members who would be more comfortable and productive in a less intense environment.

“People who come to the classes will say it is a safe way for them to step out of their comfort zone,” she said.

“It’s about the consistency – that people can do it at their own pace without any pressure on them.

“They can do it as part of a community where the women support one another – there are opportunities for people to push themselves without me demanding that they give me 110%.”