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Just a few weeks ago, for those that may not know, it was the Association of Colleges’ Sport (AoC) Fitness Trainer of the Year competition. The event took place on 16-18 November 2017 at the World Skills UK Show at the NEC Arena in Birmingham.

The event itself consisted of two categories: the Personal Trainer category, sponsored by Active IQ and the inclusivity category. During the three-day competition, finalists had to complete a series of different interviews and tasks showing their knowledge and skills, including showcasing a client case study live before the judges in a bid to win the coveted crowns.

Last year, Kaja Choma won the Gym Instructor of the Year category and went on to become a Personal Trainer thanks to our support. (Read her story in full here)

One year on, we caught up with Kaja to see how she has progressed and how life has changed for her since winning the competition last year.

Active IQ: What have you been up to since winning and qualifying as a personal trainer last year?

Kaja: Since I became qualified in December 2016 my career as a personal trainer has launched very quickly, teaching me important lessons, and not just about fitness. In January I joined a strength training gym, where I was extremely lucky to get mentored by a highly experienced and knowledgeable coach, learning the secrets of effective strength and functional training, primal movement and kettlebell use. I then experimented with different types of facilities and training styles, eventually choosing my niche in home-based personal training, offering my clients convenient, effective coaching in the comfort of their own homes.

Active IQ: What sort of training are you looking to do next?

Kaja: I want to continue to expand my knowledge in the areas of posture assessment, myofascial release, as well as primal movement. While weight loss is the main focus for all of my clients, my focus often lies in improving the overall function of their body, including posture, pain reduction and improved wellbeing, both physical and mental.

Active IQ: How do you feel now working in the industry you love?

Kaja: Apparently when you’re doing what you love, work stops feeling like work. Well, that most certainly applies to coaching and interacting with people but being a personal trainer demands much more of you than just a good fitness knowledge. From the struggles of securing clients, to the stress of delivering your first sessions, to facing challenges associated with facilities, to the hassle of cancellations and unsuccessful sales, being a personal trainer teaches you resilience and forces you to grow in areas that perhaps you didn’t previously consider. But even with all the challenges and obstacles, I never once considered going back to an office job. Watching your clients get great results and grow into a better, healthier version of themselves, and knowing that you’re the one who helped them get there is worth all the hard work and setbacks.

Active IQ: What are your aspirations for the next year?

Kaja: I feel like I’m still at the beginning of my journey – with constant ideas of how to improve my services and offer more value. In the upcoming months, I want to focus on integrating my background in psychology into my coaching and programmes. It becomes clearer and clearer to me that weight loss struggles are rarely about the lack of knowledge and often about some underlying psychological factors, including insecurities and low self-esteem. I believe combining my experience in physical training with my understanding of psychological mechanisms, will allow me to further impact people around me and help them make a positive change.
I’m currently working on developing a number of seminars and workshops that aim to help people understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle while offering tools, both practical and psychological, to help them enhance their health and wellbeing, and stay motivated.

We’d like to congratulate Kaja on what has been a fantastic year for her and we wish her the best of luck in her next steps as she continues her fitness journey.