Gymnastic Strength Training Coach As A Career

BodyTree Gymnastic Fitness

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strength training coach

Do you remember your first job?

My first job was an Industrial Engineer. It was apt based on my education but the experience was discouraging. I had a terrible time with a senior manager — “you are just a newbie” — and he flaunted his seniority in most encounters.

Now I am working with a 22 year old millennial, Zhi Qian. I met him 2+ years ago and I have no idea how it’s going to pan out. I proceeded with my intuition and the belief: skills can be taught but start with the right values.

For millennials starting their first job, read Gary V’s blog Advice for Millennials Entering Their First Job.

Zhi Qian is our youngest gymnastic strength training coach. Yet his contributions are no less than someone with experience.

Here’s an interview with him. Find out who he is as a person and as a coach.

Have you always been active as a child?

Nope! Unfortunately not. My parents never allowed me to participate in any physical activity of any sort, for fear of me getting hurt. So instead of spending my childhood at playgrounds and parks, I was kept at home watching TV and playing computer games.

My fitness journey began back when I was 15 years old. During that period of time, the Street Workout culture was getting popular, which inspired me and got me started in Calisthenics. I’d see videos on YouTube of guys doing consecutive one arm chin ups, explosive muscle ups and hopping around bars and be like, “Eh, this looks cool! I wanna be like them!”

My passion for Calisthenics grew since then. I became so motivated and disciplined with my training that I made up my mind to have a career in the fitness industry. My parents were initially against the idea, and tried to persuade me to have a job with a stable pay. I was firm with my decision though. I believe if I weren’t doing something that I was passionate about, I’ll not excel at it. I can’t see myself being motivated with a boring desk bound job.

Something interesting to share: At one point of time, I was aiming to try and break the world record for muscle ups. (The known record was 26 reps back then) Did I ever make it? Well, I did go up to 18 reps, and everything went downhill after I got my wrist injury. Fast forward to now, I think this goal of mine is pretty much impossible now. I’d like to work towards getting past 20 consecutive reps though!

What was your course of study in your tertiary education?

Diploma in Sports & Wellness Management.

How did you get started on GST? And, how long have you been training since?

ZhiQian on rings

I first heard of this training system from Bruce & Jay, back when I was their student. When I came on aboard to the team as an intern, I began integrating GST into my training regime. (I think it has turned out to be a pretty good decision, as you can see from my Instagram. @Tay_ZQ *Shameless plug-in*)

It’s been close to 3 years since I started GST, and I feel much stronger and have better mobility. Haven’t gotten any injury ever since. I have been making good progress, and I’m enjoying every bit of the process.

Where do you draw inspiration from in your coaching?

 From my other fellow coaches! They’re real good at what they do! There’s always something to learn from them every time I train with them, or attend their classes. I look up to every one of them, and aspire to be as good as them.

I count myself to be really fortunate to be part of the team. I’m constantly kept on my toes, and striving to give my best every time I teach. I wanna do the team proud and live up to expectations, y’know? 😀

Describe a typical day for you – how do you manage your time as a coach for personal training, coaching others and amongst other things that you do.

 Everyday’s pretty much the same – teach, train, read, gaming (referring to tactical computer games). Life’s pretty simple and monotonous, and I prefer it that way.

The biggest challenge for me has been time management. To be honest, procrastination is always an issue since years ago, and it’s starting to bite, now that I’m starting to coach full time. It’s still a work in progress though; still in the midst of trying to manage my time better, and be more productive.

What excites you about gymnastic strength coaching?

ZhiQian coaching

To be part of someone’s fitness journey! I find it enjoyable to share my knowledge, and helping people with their fitness goals in whatever way I can. It’s really satisfying to know that I’ve played a part in someone’s success.

With that being said, the learning process is real fun too. So much to learn, so much to improve on. It’s never ending! The more I know, the more capable I am to help students.

What do you think are the challenges from a coach’s perspective?

The biggest challenge I find is probably to see and understand things from each student’s perspective. I have often encountered situations where students can’t seem to understand what I’m trying to say or teach – they could not do a certain exercise correctly no matter what cues or instructions I tried to give. It’s quite perplexing and even frustrating at times.

Over time, I’ve slowly developed some sense of empathy and patience, to understand the student’s perspective. I’ve figured – deciphering the thought process of a student is part of the coaching journey. I recall a piece of advice duing the days I was gaming: “Whatever happens, it’s always your fault, not your teammates. He might make a lousy player, but what could YOU have done to make the situation less bad?” It’s quite relatable to coaching too, because it’s always easy to blame the student for not being able to comprehend your instructions, right? Instead, what I can do is – I could find some other ways to get my point across.

What kind of books do you usually read?

Self help books! They include improving communication, habits building, etc. It is through these sorts of books that I’m able to gain more insights on how to better improve myself – be a better individual. It’s like prying into the minds of the “giants”. I’m able to cut short the process of improvement by learning from those who have compiled their experiences in a book.

Is there anything else you’re looking forward to learn, or are currently learning?

I’ve recently picked up dance! To be specific, it’s Popping. As a movement enthusiast, I was intrigued by how these dancers were able to isolate each joint movement with control and precision – moving every joint individually like robots.

 I’ll probably consider other genres of dance and movements like capoeira, yoga and many others. This movement work is just so diverse; it’s fun to explore, play around, and find more ways to express physical freedom.

 Anything else to share – that most people are not aware of?

Err…I’m an introvert. HAHA.

Outside of teaching hours, I’m really bad at making conversations. I’M NOT TRYING TO BE RUDE or ANTI-SOCIAL AND STARE AT MY PHONE WHEN I’M AT A GATHERING. I really don’t know what to say! I’ll probably look all over the place other than straight at your face, because I find it awkward to look at you and not say anything (and I’ll come off as being creepy, maybe?). So, if you know me and you’re reading this – you all can carry on with your chat, I’m listening. I’ll say something when I have something to say.

Compiled by : LayYong

Interviewed by: Louisa Lau




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