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Huddle: Rebecca Williams | Personal Trainer #ChasingStrong

Fitness and physical activity in adults is on the rise. That’s the good news. More and more people are changing their lifestyles to incorporate fitness and sport, instead of thinking that it’s something that we just tack on the end of the day. We’re a nation that’s inspired, and there are 100s of 1000s of people in the industry that work tirelessly behind the scenes to encourage and motivate.

Latest figures from Sport England show how 57% of males and 49% of females are likely to be active for more than 150minutes a week! That’s 5 x 30 minute sessions. The below infographic shows that females are more likely to invest their active time in fitness (33% vs 29%) compared to males, which is a striking figure! Males who were surveyed showed a more likes to participate in sporting activities (41% compared to 30%) and cycling for leisure (19% compared to 10%).

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I love a good stat, and we can’t argue that there is a surge in demand for fitness professionals to match our busy lifestyles. However, what is even more interesting after reading the information by Sport England, is that more support is needed to inspire people who are from socioeconomic groups, such as long term unemployed – 51% inactive compared to professionals, where only 30% of the socioeconomic group are inactive. There are a range of reasons behind this, from confidence to financial constraints, lack of awareness to understanding of the benefits, but there is always room to improve.

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Fitness is also an integral part of sport. It goes without saying, I’m sure – however, maybe it’s time we do start saying, and being more aware, of how fitness can be the over ruling factor in a game. If a player can outrun or outperform another player who may be more skilful and talented, that hard work displayed by the fitter player usually reaps the rewards by overturning the play and gaining possession.

In a recent interview we held with Welsh Women’s international, Jo Westwood, she stated:

Fitness is one of the most important part of the game now because it is just getting quicker and quicker. Some days you will be surprised but you will play like you have never held a stick before but what you will have is fitness to run round and cause carnage for the opposition so there is always something you can do.

Thus echoing the importance of fitness in hockey.

We have recently got the opportunity to discuss the importance of fitness with personal trainer and workout wonder Rebecca Williams, who has worked with Welsh Athletics, Run Wales and now has branched out to start her own company. She discusses why strength is key to performance, a healthy lifestyle and why she’s ‘Chasing Strong’ every day, and absolutely loving it!

Hey Rebecca, thanks so much for catching up with us. First up, what is the meaning behind the name Chasing Strong?

I see strength as something both physical and mental, which is why when it comes to health and fitness I see strength as paramount. Our body relies on our mind to be strong and our mind relies on our body to be strong, we can’t have one without the other. I think if we strive to be strong we can be more successful.

Some very good points well made. What made you pursue a career as a personal trainer?

I needed to do something that didn’t mean I was sitting on my backside from 9-5. I tried my hand at teaching, but although I enjoyed elements of it, I didn’t need the stress. I’m passionate about health and fitness and enjoy working with people, it just made sense. Exercise makes us feel good – and what’s better than having a job that makes people happy!?

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When did you realise you wanted to turn a hobby into a career?

I had a lot of time on my hands when I came back from 6 months of travelling back in 2013, so I spent a lot of time writing down my likes and dislikes, googling ‘what job suits me’ and all that jazz and a consistent theme was outdoors, working with people and fitness so it just made sense. I started studying to be a PT online for the first year, but that type of learning didn’t suit me, so I upgraded in 2015 to an intense 4-week course, which I loved (though it was tough!) and I fully qualified in Jan 2016.

That’s so awesome! What are the challenges you face as a personal trainer?

It’s a massive industry and there are so many options available, I think it’s just getting your name and face out there. I’m relatively lucky that there aren’t an awful lot of female PT’s around, especially a bilingual one – so hopefully this will stand me in good stead.

Ah yes, speaking Welsh is so important and beneficial in Wales! How do you overcome these?

Be the best that I can be, keep learning, never think I can’t learn from other people and just be true to myself.

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There is a big drive for people within teams, such as hockey, to become ‘strong’ in order to improve their game. What are the benefits of this?

There are so many benefits to being strong in both body and mind. If you train hard you will become stronger, better, be less prone to injury and so on. If you also train your mind, you’ll be able to focus better, support your team and bring positivity to your game.

What advice can you give aspiring hockey players to improve their strength?

On the physical side of things, train hard. A good combination of cardio and weight training is so important. On the mental side of things, consider some mindfulness (apps like Headspace). Talk a lot as a team, be honest, prop each other up when needed – basically look after yourself and each other and you’ll also be stronger as a team.

Some great advice there. Food is imperative in order to build strength. What prematch snacks could you suggest?

A piece of fruit is always a good ‘go to’, I’m a bit of a peanut butter lover, so a spoonful (or 3) of the stuff half an hour before I train is a winner for me, but it really is about finding something that works for you.

Peanut butter is so good! So tell us, who is your role model and why?

The strongest women I know – My Mam and my Gran!

Yes! How do you say focused and motivated?

It’s not always easy I’ll be honest, I’m only human after all. I sometimes have days where I don’t want to exercise and I eat rubbish. I also have days where I feel anxious and filled with self-doubt, but my Gran always used to say PMA (Positive Mental Attitude), so I remind myself of this, try to get some perspective, go easy on myself and I soon find my feet. At the end of the day the main aim in my life is to be happy, so I concentrate on this.

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That really is so important. In your opinion, what is the best thing about sport and being involved in that field as a career and as something you simply enjoy?

Sports is about people and bringing people together and sharing the positivity (and sometimes the negativity) it’s about achieving things you never thought you could, it’s amazing.

What words of advice do you have for people wanting to take their health and fitness to the next level?

Just go for it. Break it down, what do you want to achieve and what do you have to do to get there. It’s about small steps not giant leaps. If you are willing to put the work in you will reach your destination and let’s be real – what have you got to lose? Pob lwc! #ChasingStrong

Thank you so much Rebecca, we sure will be #ChasingStrong and keeping all your tips and wise words in mind as we develop and progress.

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