Sports and teaching have always been a big part of my life.
As a child, I have always been actively taking part in all sorts of sports events: athletics, swimming, racquet sports, teamsports, etc. But the one sport that I stayed on for a good 15 years was swimming.
Throughout my swimming days, I might not have been an elite swimmer always on the podium or even in the final eight of each event, but my main focus to still being involved in the sport was to be able to perform the stroke as efficiently as I could.
Apart from the weekly swimming training, my coach would have weekly stroke correction classes and for some reason, I often gravitated to being his teaching assistant for my peers.
In those split moments, I would tell my mom that I want to be a swim coach (because I enjoy helping others improve in ways that I am familiar with). As a traditional Asian parent, I was always faced with a displeasing “No!” and was always lectured on to focus on my academics.
I went through the traditional path of completing my degree, with the turmoil of job-hunting and eventually landing myself in a company that saw value in my skills and education. In my early 20s, I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do; I just knew that I had to start somewhere. It was during these times that I discovered my passion for learning & development, to be able to impart knowledge and guide my team members to perform proficiently in their roles.
The adrenaline of being in my first job kept me away from my physical wellbeing as I worked through day and night, whenever the team needed the manpower. In 2019, my role shifted, which allowed me to have more time for myself and I made the decision to get back into exercising.
The trendiest fitness activity for individuals in their mid twenties back then was yoga, so that was what I decided to spend most of my time on. It was challenging for me, because it required (and trained) flexibility, mobility and the stillness of patience. However it helped me with my mental health as I learned to connect with my mind and breath.
I became a regular fitness/yoga class student, building on my stamina and strength. One of the first few high intensity classes that I attended was a Les Mills Bodycombat class, a mixed martial arts inspired workout. The music, moves and high energy hit every spot of a workout that I was looking for. The connection that the instructors had with the members was amazing and it inspired me to want to be like them. It took a while, especially due to Covid restrictions from 2020 to 2021, but I signed up for the instructor training programme in 2022 and was certified shortly after.
After the certification, my perspective towards fitness also started to expand. I became more aware of how the body is meant to move, so I started to read up more and put this new found knowledge into my own practice. This included mobility work, form and techniques. A close friend of mine also started to exercise and she would often check in with me to understand more about the exercises or techniques. However, the more I read, the more I wasn't sure if the information I was reading from multiple sources on social media were credible - which one takes precedence and who was correct?
Towards the end of 2022, my university Aquathlon Coach (who is also a Certified Personal Trainer) posted on social media that he would be hosting a Personal Trainer course in April 2023. It was a no-brainer for me to sign-up as learning more was something already on my list of things to do. I was also well aware of his credentials and the vast knowledge that he had when he was coaching us back in university. With the knowledge that I gained, I started to piece things together, helping my friends to get started in fitness and exercising injury free, and also improving on my own stamina and fitness level.
I started to wonder what the point was of me taking up these certifications if I were not being able to guide and share this knowledge with the people around? It took me a while to find the right gym to teach Bodycombat classes as not alot of studios offer Les Mills programmes. Through some connections, I started to teach with a fitness studio in November 2022, and there has been no turning back since.
It has been a wonderful journey seeing how much I have grown. I am now very comfortable on stage, where I have to remember the choreography, and at the same time being able to connect and to be a role model to the class. The familiar faces that I see in my classes, hearing their compliments and that they enjoyed my class - these are all part of the satisfaction that I get out of teaching a fitness class.
However, exercising is not just about progression; it is also important to know when to regress, giving space for our mind and body to slow down and grow.
This is where I found the art of yoga. In wanting to have a foot into what being a yoga teacher was, I took up Restorative Yoga Teacher Training in November 2023 with one of the best healing yoga teachers that I know.
This Restorative Yoga training serves well in capturing some of the pillars of wellbeing: mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, which are not commonly seen or understood by many people due to the common thinking that “I have to sweat when exercising” or “I have to feel the burn / aches, if not it is not effective”.
As we move into the new year of 2024, I decided to take a step further into teaching functional training and have also signed up for the 200 hours Yoga Teacher Training, in order to provide a more holistic view of exercising, thus improving one’s wellbeing. Through my quest for knowledge, I hope to bring out the essence of a wholesome workout routine, that ranges from high intensity to slow and calming, giving everyone the opportunity to condition our body whenever we are faced with different types of situations.
More about the Writer
Cheuk's purpose is to inspire the people around her to be healthy and be well. Driven by her purpose, together with her energetic personality and curiosity in injury prevention and optimisation of productivity, she embarked on her journey in the fitness industry. In the process, she has picked up various fitness certifications such as in Les Mills and as a Certified Personal Trainer. Cheuk is also an aspiring yogi in training.