WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition: Meet the finalists - Thomas Gallivan
The finalists have been competing since March 2016 and have taken part in institution-based competitions, live regional heats and a semi-final at Loughborough University. The competitors will now all be challenged once again across the three days of the Skills Show to demonstrate their talent and skill in either Personal Training or Gym Instructing.
A team of four expert judges has been brought together from the four corners of theUKand will work underneath Karen Stanton as head judge to assess the finalists in both competitions.
This week we’re talking to Thomas Gallivan.
T - I’m Thomas Gallivan, I’m 28 and I’m from Cwmbran in South Wales. I’m through to the finals in the Personal Trainer category of the competition.
C - Why do you want to work in the fitness industry?
T - I want to work in the fitness industry because training brings a lot of enjoyment to my life. As I suffer from mental health problems, I want to be able to offer the benefits training and fitness has given me to support others to get the same rewards. I have led a very insular lifestyle but whilst training this year, I have not only lost two stone, have become more disciplined and also got the opportunity to take part in my first fitness competition. Here is where I have met and integrated with so many wonderful people, which has expanded my horizons and has given me the confidence to take part in life. As my main motivation to work in the fitness industry is to support other people, I feel my achievements can impact others achieve their fitness goals.
T - Currently, I am learning how to start a business and studying techniques that people can not only use in the gym but outside of the gym which can bring positive changes to their lives. I am also learning up to 16 different skills over the next 16 months to go hand-in-hand with my business start-up.
C - What made you decide to enter the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition 2016?
T - My instructor Cerys Hopkins noticed my determination and after four months under her tuition, she recommended two of us from the college - my college friend Miyazim Ibryamov and I - try out for the first time representing the college. It has been a great platform to practice the skills I have learnt and the feedback I have received has been fantastic in improving my skills for the future. After each round I have competed in, it has given me the appetite to learn more and develop myself further.
C - So how have you found the experience of the competition so far?
T - Taking part in this competition has energised me and has given me a zest for wellbeing that comes with personal training. The exposure to this competition has also motivated me to develop my lifestyle going forwards such as; meeting new people, improving my training skills and knowledge and starting a business where I can support others. There is nothing else that I want to do!
Learning and developing in the competition has been so rewarding and to learn from scratch and deliver something new has meant I have been on a massive journey. What makes this journey more worthwhile is having friends and colleges to share this with.
My highlight has been after my second personal training session in the competition, my session won me a special judges’ mention award and this has fuelled my passion and focus to succeed!
C - What are your career plans now and after the competition?
T - Although I have a degree in civil engineering, I took the life-changing decision to commit to personal training. After trying for 14 months to find placed work in the industry, I learnt very quickly that no one wanted to give me a chance due to lack of experience. This is why I have started developing my own personal training model which provides a new type of training experience not seen before, so I can start my own career that helps change people’s lives for the better. After the competition, I will use my experiences to improve my training model.
C - What impact would you like to have on the fitness industry?
T - As I have Asperger Syndrome, I went through my academic life under special needs, notwithstanding bullying, which these experiences have led me to want to not only help people who have been through difficult times in their lives, but to become a fitter, stronger and more confident person at the end of it and believe anything is possible.
C - What's your favourite exercise to demonstrate/piece of equipment to use and why?
T - The one exercise I have always loved doing is the leg press. It is an apparatus that provides proper positioning and safety where maximal weight can be used to overload the target muscle group of the quads. Also, with minimal stabilizers and assistant muscle involvement, increases emphasis on the quads itself. This limits the involvement of the glutes and hamstrings and leads to concentrated quad development. The foot plate also allows you to shift the emphasis on the leg muscles by changing foot position to achieve the maximum benefit for you.
C - And finally, what interesting fact would you want other people to know about you?
T - I want to become a trainer not only to improve my life, but the quality of life for my clients. I don’t want to be a ‘basket case’ where people treat me differently due to my condition. An interesting fact about me I would like people know is that I have had it tough where I was bullied at school and have been isolated but came out the other side smiling and with a willingness to help out. In my eyes I have already won making it this far - getting further is a bonus. All you have to do win in all forms of life is to do what you think is right and the first step to doing this is take part.
I competed at the highest level and finished 4th, to win next year I need to up my development to help more people, the only way to do that is to learn class skills (Circuit's/Spin/ATM and many others).
I've had a taste of success now I want to help even more people around me in Wales. Your investment will help promote the services of one of the best new trainers in the United Kingdom where this is the greatest job in the world and I love every second I help people achieve there goals.