Personal Training students have adapted to the lockdown by competing virtually for the first time in a national fitness competition.
Set against the unique backdrop of a pandemic, college students involved in the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition have stepped up to the challenge and used online platforms to perform tasks for the 2020 competition.
AoC Sport, part of the Association of Colleges, normally runs the competition annually with regional events taking place across the country during June before national finals in November, which attract 80,000 young visitors across three days.
However, with lockdown still fully in force while planning the competition, the expert judge team made up of 22 fitness education industry experts quickly adapted the tasks to be delivered safely and judged virtually.
Level 3 Personal Training students from more than 100 different colleges and training providers were first challenged with promoting themselves as a PT through a two-minute video showcase, using their digital skills to attract new clients and build their online presence.
Anne Chinoy, a competitor from Trafford College said: “I was launching my Run PT business just before lockdown began, and without your competition to keep me focused, I would probably have put everything on hold.
“Thanks to the competition, I have been inspired to adapt my Run PT business to fit with current guidelines and have just launched a new ‘5K improvers course’ featuring weekly Zoom sessions, and socially distanced outdoor interval training for groups of up to 5. Whatever the outcome, I am delighted that the team were able to adapt the competition for us.”
Catherine Spencer, from Coleg Gwent, said: “Thank you so much for an amazing opportunity and such wonderful experience during lockdown. WorldSkills UK has helped me develop so much more as a PT and I am already seeing the positive impact on my clients!”
The top 40 were then invited to compete in a completely new task – training a client over Zoom and being observed remotely by three expert judges. The judge team, led by Karen Stanton, bring with them a wealth of experience, both as practitioners within the fitness industry and as educators in further education and private training.
Competitors showed off their skills across two weeks of sessions and highlighted their ability to innovate and overcome the current challenges. The judge teams saw some incredible sessions, which included innovative uses for household items as equipment, garden workouts while looking after children and high-tech multiple camera angles for strength and conditioning sessions to observe and demonstrate proper technique.
Jenny Patrickson, Managing Director of Active IQ, who are the lead sponsor of the competition said: “Active IQ has supported this competition for six years and I hope the competitors enjoyed the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and skills in an innovative way.
“As the UK’s leading awarding organisation for the physical activity sector, we actively seek to support trainers coming into our industry, especially at this challenging time. Competitions like this aren’t just about celebrating excellence, they are equally important for raising and retaining industry standards.”
The top 12 competitors from the virtual competition held in June will progress to the showcase finals of competition, with the judge team excited to see even more innovation through digital platforms from the finalists.