Faith Marindany is a fitness instructor. While her friends went for common courses such as medicine, communication and law, Faith Marindany, 25, could not wait to study a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science.
In her class at Kenyatta University, where she studied the course, there were only about 40 students.
Faith will graduate later this year, but already has a job as a fitness instructor at a gym in Ruaka.
It is not everyday that you come across someone that studied fitness at university - when did you develop an interest in this field?
I started engaging in sporting activities such as basketball and athletics in primary school, and continued when I joined secondary school.
There was and still is a sense of pleasure that I draw from sports. When selecting university courses, I was keen on a career path that would see me practice in the sports performance industry, as such, selecting this course did not come as a surprise to my parents or friends because they knew my passion lay in this field.
I was quite disappointed to learn that only a few of my peers were interested in this course. My class had only about 40 of us.
What does the course entail?
It is an amalgamation of a number of disciplines such as psychology, physiology, nutrition and immunology.
It also touches on business and management skills, which enables graduates to work in different fields.
Some of my classmates are working in schools and outlets that sell sports equipment.
What is a typical day like for you?
In my line of work, most of my days are long, they start early in the morning and run late into the night.
During my shifts, which are at least three days a week, I get to work around 5.30am and leave at 10pm. My main roles are instructing clients on how to perform various exercises, recording their progress and helping them to develop a workout and diet program.
On average, I attend to 20 clients on a daily basis. During my off days, I attend rugby training. I have been playing rugby since I was 19, and last year, I joined the Kenya Women’s national rugby sevens.
What is the best part about what you do?
The part that excites me most is to see people meet their set goals when they complete their workout program.
I see clients transform every day, a factor that makes me very happy. In addition, I like the fact that I get to work in a field I am passionate about.
For students who wish to study exercise and sports, which subjects should they be keen on in school?
To be a good instructor, you will need to understand the human anatomy. You see, fitness is not just about the physical aspect of it, therefore it is important to know the structure of the human body and the relationship between different parts of the body.
For instance, just by looking at my clients, I am able to tell apart their body types. One can be a mesomorph, endomorph or ectomorph.
For instance, ectomorphs find it difficult to build muscle while endomorphs have a high tendency of storing fat. Knowing this enables me to offer the right information and guidance to clients.
Besides, I have also learnt that the field requires one to be patient, persistent and research a lot. While there are many self-trained fitness instructors, I think we that have trained for this job have an edge over them.
This is because we were offered diverse lessons that give us a wider range of options in the fields we would like to work in.
You got a job opportunity before you graduated, is this an indication that many opportunities exist in this sector?
I think so. I did not have a hard time getting an attachment, and in particular, this job. In addition, most of my classmates have jobs.
As an entry-level fitness instructor, do you find this job well-paying and does it present opportunity for growth?
I would say that it pays well because I can comfortably meet my expenses, however, pay depends on experience.
The more experience you have, the more you are likely to earn. Growth, in my perspective, is having personal clients and starting my own gym training facility in future.
Are there misconceptions surrounding this field?
Most misconceptions I have heard revolve around the training part of it. For instance, there are clients who come to the gym with an intention of losing fat in specific parts of their bodies. It is not possible to spot reduce.
When you burn fat, you burn it in several parts of the body. Secondly, there are those who believe that exercise can make up for bad diet.
This is incorrect because losing weight or gaining muscle mass is largely contributed by what happens outside the gym-nutrition, sleep and an individual’s lifestyle.