WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition: Meet the finalists – Ai Lin Leow and Miyazim Ibryamov

With just eight weeks to go until the start of the Skills Show – where AoC Sport will be managing the finals of the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition – Competition Manager Christopher Pitts chats past, present and future with the finalists.

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The finalists have been competing since March 2016 and have taken part in institution-based competitions, live regional heats and a semi-final at Loughborough University. The competitors will now all be challenged once again across the three days of the Skills Show to demonstrate their talent and skill in either Personal Training or Gym Instructing.

A team of four expert judges has been brought together from the four corners of the UK and will work underneath Karen Stanton as head judge to assess the finalists in both competitions.

This week we’re talking to Ai Lin Leow and Miyazim Ibryamov.

A – I’m Ai Lin Leow, I’m 34 and from Loughborough – yes, it’s a town! I’m a finalist in the Gym Instructor Category and I studied at Loughborough College.

M – I’m Miyazim Ibryamov – call me Miz – I’m 18 and I live in Newport, Wales. I’m a finalist in the Personal Trainer Category and I studied at Coleg Gwent.

C – Why do you want to work in the fitness industry?

A – I used to work in the corporate world and I realised that the happiest time of my day was at the gym. I felt so good after a spin class! Then my personal circumstances changed and I was blessed enough to be able to do a 360 degree career change. It took a lot of soul-searching but it just felt like a natural selection to pursue a course to be a gym instructor. I know I can never be an Olympian now, but this, this I can do.

M – I made a lifestyle change six years ago and decided to get fit and I had such an excitement from that. I decided I wanted to make other people feel the excitement that I get from exercising and having fun. I lost 4.5 stone and decided to do the Level 2 Health, Fitness and Instruction course with Coleg Gwent in Usk and I found it really interesting. After completing my Level 2 I decided to do my Level 3 Personal Training & Instruction and I have started my career at the age of 18.

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C – Do you plan to keep studying?

M – I will be studying a Foundation Degree in Sports Coaching & Development. It’s a two-year full-time course based at Pontypool Campus with a “Top Up” year at the University of South Wales.

C – What made you decide to enter the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition 2016?

A – I first heard about the competition when I came for an open day at Loughborough College. On the day my lecturer to be, Mark Thorpe, was not around because he had accompanied some students to the competition. I went home and Googled it right away and pretty much set my mind on entering it there and then. Yes, I am an eager beaver!

M – By entering the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition I could have an opportunity to show my talent and apply my skills and knowledge.

Before I entered the competition I thought even if I don’t win, I can still benefit from the opportunity to challenge myself. I will learn new things and develop my skills gained from the feedback of the judges.

For me, my competition journey is a process, not an endpoint. Any success is just another stepping stone to the next point along the way. So whatever the outcome, I will focus on what I’ve gained and how to keep on developing.

C – How have you found the experience of the competition so far?

A – As clichéd as it may sound, I am just going to go ahead and say that it has been fantastic. I am saying this with the utmost sincerity. It’s great that Loughborough College have a few competitors so it was a nice bonding time. More importantly, this competition has really helped me to build my self-confidence and made me believe in myself and my potential.

M – Overall, being in the competition feels great. The judges were nice, everyone was really friendly. I also had the chance to chat with some of the competitors and make new friends during the event. Being in the competition has made me feel that I am at the right place, and I won’t regret entering it.

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C – What are your career plans now and after the competition?

A – I am currently working as a fitness instructor and have just taught my first bootcamp and spin class! It was so much fun, I really enjoy teaching classes. One of the members even asked me what other classes I teach so they must have enjoyed it. I intend to enrol in an Exercise to Music Class later this year and go down the class instructor route.

M – My career plan for now is to continue working in the gym as a Fitness Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor, so I can gain more experience and develop my skills and knowledge.

I will be studying Foundation Degree Sports Coaching & Development, with this qualification my future aim is to become a tutor and work in a school and also continue to work in a gym as a Fitness Trainer.

C – What impact would you like to have on the fitness industry?

A – I don’t know if I should say this but my secret dream is to be the Asian Jillian Michaels. Joking aside, if I can get people to enjoy exercise and pass my enthusiasm and positivity on to them, I would be a happy woman.

M – At the moment I work for a community gym as a Fitness Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor, I have been working there since February this year. My first ever client was a nice lady in her 40s looking to lose weight, she came up to me and asked for a one-to-one session, then I asked her about her goals, she replied “I want to lose weight and look better”. I have been training this lady for over five months. She attends most of my fitness classes as well as our one-to-one sessions. She has lost just over 10kgs and her lifestyle has changed completely. She feels much better and I can tell that her self-esteem has improved and she is much happier.

I believe that fitness is the key to a happy body and more importantly a happy mind. I would like to continue working in the fitness industry because I love what I do and seeing people become more confident, happier and better every day, there is no better feeling!

C – What’s your favourite exercise to demonstrate/piece of equipment to use and why?

A – Lateral Skaters, it’s so much fun and such an explosive action it’s really fun to teach especially when some people think they can’t do it and they actually can. We both come out happy!

M – My favourite exercise to demonstrate is squats, because squats use the largest muscle groups in the body which makes them an excellent calorie burner. I believe they should be done in most fitness classes and also one-to-one sessions because they give you a strong lower body and also improve your flexibility, lubricate knee joints and increase the level of good hormones in the body.

C – And finally, what interesting fact would you want other people to know about you?

A – Can I say two? One is a good thing and the other is an embarrassing secret. First, I can play the violin and I can also eat a whole large pizza. Not at the same time though.

M – The trick is to not let people know how really weird you are until it’s too late for them to back out.

The WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition final will take place at the Skills Show, at Birmingham’s NEC in November.

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