Project 500 Champions women working in Physical Activity and Sport
New community champions to support women in the sector.
Date: 7 June 2022 Author: Energise Me
After being diagnosed with hypermobility, Nik had to find a way to be physically active that better suited her needs. Now, at 48-years-old, she is inspiring others to take their first step into their fitness journey.
My name’s Nik and I am a fitness instructor and Project 500 community champion from Basingstoke. I live with my cockapoo, Doris, who I love to take out on walks exploring our local area.
From my late 20’s, I really got into fitness and enjoyed everything about it. The satisfaction of a completed workout and the thrill knowing I achieved what I initially thought I couldn’t. I used to train three hours a day, every single day. As well as two back-to-back high intensity classes and an hour strength work.
Unfortunately, this led to some injuries. At the time, I wasn’t aware that I was hypermobile and doing 200 press ups a day destroyed my wrists. So, I had to adapt the way I was active to better suit my body and its needs.
I couldn't exercise as much, but I could encourage and support others to do so.
I was so passionate about fitness that I decided to redirect my energy into helping others to be active. I couldn’t exercise as much but I could encourage and support others to do so. Soon after, I qualified as a Level 2 gym instructor. And although I wasn’t sure how I was going to use it, it felt good to still be connected to the world I loved.
Aiming to find a new activity to enjoy, I chose to attend a spin class. However, I was left completely uninspired by the instructor who lacked passion and enthusiasm. I almost felt like an intruder to her own workout routine. It was then I decided to ensure no one else had an experience like that when trying to pursue an active lifestyle.
Using my Level 2 qualification as a springboard, I soon became qualified in indoor cycling, running, circuits and various other disciplines. Then I started teaching indoor cycling on a regular basis. I mustered all the passion I had towards my own training and used it to motivate those attending my classes. Whether they were beginners or pros, I loved being a small part of their active journey.
It was not long before I chose to follow the source of my own happiness. So, I gave up my senior operations management position to become a full-time fitness instructor.
All I can do is open the door. It is down to you whether you run through, march through, or take a timid step through. But all the hard-work and credit goes to you.
Due to my hypermobility, I’ve undergone five wrist operations and four shoulder operations over the years. Simultaneously, living with chronic pain for the last 15 years. But never has this dampened my thirst for knowledge, my passion for teaching and my love of movement. Now, I teach 26 classes a week at 48 years old. As an overweight woman, I am trying to prove there is no specific body type associated with being physically active.
If there is a movement I can’t do because of my condition, I will ask an experienced participant to demonstrate it instead. But I refuse to be defined or stopped by my hypermobility. Moreover, had it not been for my diagnosis, I would never have become an instructor.
It is an honour to be a part of people’s journey. From the very shy person who plucked up the courage to attend a group class alone to the incredibly active participants that rarely need pushing. I believe every person’s achievements must be celebrated. Whether it’s a high-five after their first ever burpee or a shout-out when they hit their personal best sprint speed in spin class. It is my job to notice and praise these things so that they continue to work towards their goals.
People often give me credit for something they have achieved, and every time I say the same thing: “All I can do is open the door. It is down to you whether you run through, march through, or take a timid step through. But all the hard-work and credit goes to you.”
It's a very small group but out of little acorns mighty oaks grow.
Earlier this year, I became a Project 500 Community Champion so that I could help more women to work in the physical activity sector. I wanted to set up a network of women that can offer support and knowledge to one another.
The scope of what women do in this sector is so vast. From a mum that runs a weekday walking group for fun, to an instructor that has managed to have their own gym and is PT’ing 30 clients a week while employing numerous other coaches. This is something that should be celebrated.
I wanted to help connect all these women together so that they could access information, or ideas, or career progression possibilities in a non-judgmental environment. Somewhere safe where no question is deemed to be silly. Where training needs can be recognized and supported – this is incredibly important for women who work on their own.
I want to make a difference. One of my aims is to continue to pursue my passion as a physical activity provider, being able to rub shoulders with people that know much more than me. I also want to be available to help others that may be nearer the beginning of their journey.
Currently, I am reaching out to any instructor I find and inviting them to join the Facebook page. It’s a very small group but out of little acorns mighty oaks grow. If we end up with a network of ladies with a combined varied wealth of experience across all the genres of physical activity, we will be able to bring the next generation forwards in a positive, inspirational way.
New community champions to support women in the sector.