Tag Archives: personal trainer

‘Food is for fuel, not comfort’

For as long as she can remember, sport and exercise have been key to Rosemarie Uzomba’s life.

Now she is trying to make them similarly important for others too, as having just completed a Sports Science degree, the 23-year-old from Hackney is carving out a career as a personal trainer.

“Trainers need to ensure they stand out from the crowd to gain clients”

“Sport has always played a large part in my life,” she told me. “Some of my fondest memories involve physical activity such as swimming lessons with my father as a toddler, or playing football in the local park with my sisters – one of whom now plays for Leyton FC.”

When it came to her choice of study and subsequent career path, the science aspect was just as important as the sport.

“I believe sport/exercise science is the health degree of the future because across the whole world, obesity is an ongoing and rising issue,” she explained.

“The USA tops the rankings with 30.6% of its population suffering from obesity, but we’re not far behind – the UK has the third highest level, with 23% affected.”

Fiercely competitive

With the personal fitness market in the UK growing rapidly, trainers need to ensure they stand out from the crowd to gain clients. Rosemarie says you need to plan ahead before launching yourself.

“It’s fiercely competitive, especially if you’re a freelancer, so you need to learn how to network to get more clients,” she explained. “You also need knowledge, time, dedication, and to be personable, so people will come to you, rather than someone else.”

“The skills for personal training are also transferable to teaching – motivation, hard work and consistency”

Pricing and knowing your target audience are also key to success – as is building a good personal rapport, to retain clients once you have them.

“An hourly rate that may be reasonable for some customers could be outrageous to others,” she said. “I don’t change ridiculous prices in order for people to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

“I try help people change their lives around and listen to their stories whilst transforming physically. Being a PT means you’ve got face to face interaction with people all the time, so you have to learn how to deal with different personalities. Being cheerful and outgoing goes a very long way.”

Motivation

The expertise Rose has acquired in her work as a PT, together with the interpersonal skills she uses every day, help her in another part of her career – working in primary schools.

“Once you turn to food for comfort, that’s when bad eating habits evolve”

“As a PT, I’m teaching and assisting a workout and I’m educating about also nutrition, so it’s a similar task in schools,” she explains. “The skills for personal training are also transferable to teaching – motivation, hard work and consistency.”

A report in the Guardian newspaper found that, according to the Active People Survey, nearly 80% of the UK population fails to hit key national government targets for fitness – performing moderate exercise for 30 minutes at least 12 times a month.

It found that just over 8% of adults capable of walking had not – with the exception of shopping – walked continuously for five minutes within the previous four weeks, while 46% had not walked for leisure for 30 minutes continuously over the same period.

Almost nine out of 10 had not swum and a similar proportion had not used a gym.

Bad habits

The link between exercise and health is obvious – and this is where Rosemarie’s scientific background and knowledge of nutrition come into play. “We need to have a healthier and happier lifestyle,” she explained.

“Exercise regularly and eat food for fuel not for comfort. Once you turn to food for comfort, that’s when bad eating habits evolve.”

Another fact highlighted by the results of the survey is that women are less likely to take part in sport than men. But despite being sports-mad herself, Rosemarie does not think everyone should be made to follow in her active footsteps.

“Sport shouldn’t be forced on people,” she said. “That would devalue the purpose and enjoyment factor sport provides. But with obesity rates for women in the US and UK increasing, the question is – what can be done to make women more interested in working out?”

Photo of Rosemarie Uzomba (right) with Team GB’s Perri Shakes-Drayton courtesy of Rosemarie Uzomba

Q&A with Damian Wyszomierski

Elephant Sports spoke to Damian Wyszomierski, an aspiring MMA fighter and personal trainer from Poland about his life in Britain and using sport, fitness and diet to help him find his path in life.

At what age did you start to play sports?
I played football since I was 10 years old, that lasted for six years. After that I decided to swap the ball for weights and the gym, as well as getting into mixed martial arts.

You’re a person that has experience in the fight game and strength training. What is the main difference between these two and can you implement them together?
Stand-up practices in sports such as kickboxing, Muay Thai and karate are about polishing your technique, speed and agility. Let’s not forget about the aspect of strength that also plays a major role. The name ‘strength training’ says it all. Fortunately, you can link martial arts and strength training together and that’s how it works out for me.

What is the difference between sports such as football and full contact sports?
In such sports, a team is responsible for everything that occurs on the field. On the other hand, in contact sports you’re the person that has control over everything. It’s only you and the opponent in front of you.

Tell me more about your adventure with the craft of martial arts and gym training? When did you actually become serious about it?
I was 16 years old. There was simply a moment when I came to the conclusion I need something else than football. Honestly, it didn’t give me as much happiness anymore. I decided to try a different sport and that’s how I found myself in the place I am today. The seriousness towards giving it a 100% in martial arts and strength training made me quit football once for all.

What impact did your move to the UK have on you?
To be honest I never had a problem with communication and adaptation. I’m a person that acclimates and gets on with people, so I can’t say I had to worry about this.

Is it hard to overcome the language barrier?
When I first came to England I didn’t understand a single word. Literately nothing. Nevertheless, I still managed to train normally and participate like I did back home. So no, I don’t think it’s a problem. At least for me.

Have you ever had any trouble because of misunderstanding what the people are saying to you?
No, never. I tend to laugh if such a situation occurs.

Tell me about your role as a personal trainer
I’m here to help people that are having all kinds of problems. Whether it’s being overweight or wanting to gaining pure muscle, I’m here for them. Often I encounter people searching for a trainer that will help them with a training routine in order to become simply a fitter person. Others need the training to put them in a better frame of mind.

Diet or training? Which aspect is more important?
Both aspects are really important. Although when it comes to our physique the diet takes the podium, as 75% of what we look like comes from a well-balanced diet and the 25% is hard work done in practice. On the other hand, if you’re concentrating mainly on pure ability, speed or efficiency, then training takes over.

So a well-balanced diet is key?
I believe a well-balanced diet linked with the proper training programme, as well as sufficient cardio routines is the true key to success. Hard work and dedication.

Diets, training routines and personal consultations – are you a one-man band?
Ha ha, that’s my role! I’m using my knowledge to help people reach their desired physique or any other goals they have.

How long does your client have to wait for a plan?
I always tell the interested individual that it usually takes three days until I send the diet. Although, when I have time it takes no longer than 24 hours. It depends whether I have a lot to do at work or any other responsibilities. Trust me, it’s time-consuming.

Many people believe the effects of training should be immediate? What do you have to say to those people?
On the internet we can read a number of false statements such as “I lost 10kg in 30 days. You can do it too!” Ads like this are practically everywhere, however it’s simply a fraud. Let me repeat one more time: a balanced diet, along with disciplined training will give you the desired effect. The level of metabolism varies, that’s the reason for some people it takes longer to reach their goal. It might see a difference within a month, whereas you’re training partner will by the end of the week. Just train hard and be patient.

Hard day of workout along with crisps in the evening? How does it sound?
From time to time everyone should allow themselves to have something different to eat. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’re all humans and we’ll have a moment of weakness. When I’m working with a client I implement so called ‘cheat meals’. Instead of having a healthy meal an individual can eat whatever they want.

You’re a realist and I guess you know how hard it is turn what you do into a real success…
Sure, I know how hard it is. Hopefully all the hard work pays off one day and I’ll be able to say because of this I’m making the money I need in order to have a normal life. Although at the moment just like everyone else at the beginning of their road I have a full-time job and the money I earn from being a personal trainer is just a little bonus.

The popularity of training is huge at the moment, and summer is just around the corner. Would you say the buzz will slowly fade away?
Honestly, there are a lot of seasonal gym goers that train just because they’re going on vacation and want to show off on the beach. These are the people that often end up leaving before they even started. On the other hand, there are many people are passionate about strength training and other sports. In my opinion, there will always be people that treat the sport differently. At the end of the day it’s their decision in what category they fall into.