WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition: Meet the finalists – Team Wales

With just one week to go until this year’s WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition finals at the Skills Show, taking part at Birmingham’s NEC Arena, Competition Manager Christopher Pitts caught up with two of our finalists to find out a bit more about them and their experiences within the fitness industry.

This week, Christopher was chatting to  Ricky Raybould (20) and Jessica Leonard (18), both from Coleg Gwent.

C: Why did you want to work in the fitness industry in the first place?

R: I wanted to work in the fitness industry because fitness has always been such a huge part of my life, so I want share all the knowledge I have to help others reach their fitness goals and enjoy it as much as I have.

J: Fitness is a massive passion of mine and is a very big part of my life. I believe there is no better feeling than helping someone reach their goals and knowing that I helped them in this process. I want to work in the industry as I have witnessed first-hand the positive effects that physical activity has had on my life, not just physically but also socially and emotionally.

C: And you were studying at Coleg Gwent when you entered the competition, are you still studying now?

R: No, I’ve finished studying my Level 3 PT course.

J: Yes, I’ve stayed at college to study a Level 3 in Exercise Referral and Sports Massage to help me with my career.

C: What made you enter the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition for 2017?

R: I wanted to push my training and knowledge to the limit and learn, learn, learn!

J: I witnessed the competition first hand last year as a client for a competitor in the finals. Attending the Skills Show was an incredible experience and I knew immediately that this was something that I would like to aspire to and that I wanted to be a part of.

C: And how have you found the competition experience so far?

R: I have really enjoyed the competition so far. It has been great to be with like-minded trainers who are also looking to push their boundaries.

J: I have found the experience fantastic and I love to take on new challenges. I feel that I am improving my skills every day; I know I still have a long way to go. I really feel this competition will push me to step outside of my comfort zone enabling me to become a more effective Personal Trainer.

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

R: I am currently a self-employed personal trainer so at the moment I am trying to build my business as best as possible and really help as many people as I can.

In the future I do plan on opening up my own private personal training facility to run my business out of, offering personal training and group training.

J: I am currently working in a ladies’ fitness facility around my studies and love the different challenges that this brings. The facility I work in allows women to workout in an environment where they feel comfortable. For many of my members exercise is also a good social setting where it’s been fantastic to see these members make new friends and help them improve not only their bodies but their confidence and their health. Another group I have had the pleasure of working with is the elderly and those who use walking aids or who are confined to a chair. I currently am working as part of an initiative – ‘Pimp y Ffrind Y Mi’ – an initiative where I have helped many people in my community become more active. I have delivered Zimmer dances to these patients and the feeling that they get from this is truly the best medicine not only for them but for me. This also involves me interacting with individuals with dementia and bringing a bit of happiness and laughter to their day though physical activity. This is an area I would really like to pursue and one of the reasons that I decided to study my Level 3 GP referral course.

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

R: I would like to leave my own mark on the fitness industry being known for using techniques that work and are results based. I have strong beliefs in fitness so I’d like to get them out there.

J: I would like to have an impact on women – hopefully enabling women who feel quite intimidated to acquire the habit of exercise in a fun, friendly environment. I also believe that the elderly and individuals with walking aids often get forgotten – I would love to see in my lifetime every care home have 45 minutes dedicated to fun group physical activity per week and for individuals with walking aids to not feel that they are a barrier to exercise.

C: What is your favourite exercise to demonstrate/piece of equipment to use and why?

R: For me it would have to be the barbell back squat as it’s a very technical exercise to teach which requires total body strength, balance and mobility.

J: My favourite piece of equipment is the outdoors – there’s no limit to your imagination of the environment. It’s full of new and interesting things to do every day. The things around you are endless.

C: And finally, do you have an interesting fact about yourself?

R: When I was younger I competed for Wales in the 100 meters!

J: I am one of 10 children! Family is important.

C: Thanks guys, great talking to you. Best of luck for the finals, I can’t wait to see how you tackle the tasks.

Pob lwc!