Is it true that you have always known what you want to be when you grow up?
I believe I did. My parents insisted I pursue some other profession as a backup plan, so I got diploma in computer science, but I knew that sport is not just a hobby, it’s my passion and I always wanted to make money out of it. Moreover, I want to contribute to community, do some positive changes in people’s life, also to do something good for sports industry in Ghana.
You were professional mixed martial arts trainer, but now you are a CrossFit trainer?
I haven’t given up on MMA, but I felt in love with CrossFit when I moved to Dubai four years ago.
I’ve started to work as MMA head coach in the UAE while my colleague in fitness centre was doing CrossFit. When I saw CrossFit workouts which are different every day and can be modified to help each athlete achieve their goals, I have decided to pursue certifications in CrossFit and lift up my game. The main thing that I love about CrossFit is an intense workout routine that combines Olympic weightlifting, aerobics, gymnastics, rowing, and many more. The goal of this system is to do the maximum amount of work in as little time as possible. The most amazing thing is that it can be adapted to different age groups and you don’t need to be (an) athlete to practice it.
How is your experience in CrossFit so far?
Surprisingly it’s going very well. In the past couple of years I’ve obtained Level 1 and Level 2 certificate, I have been competing in different CrossFit competitions in the UAE and outside. Though sometimes injuries prevent me from winning, like last year in Kalis Game in Philippines, I had a shoulder injury I didn’t win, but still came up high in rankings. Also I earned my place in CrossFit Games 2020, which is the top level CrossFit competition in the US. I (am) supposed to go as a representative from Ghana, but because of the pandemic could not travel to the US. Now sports industry is slowly getting back (on) track and my 1st competition this year will be in December. I will be competing in Kalis Games. I’m ready, I have been working extra hard on my performance, so now (I) just need a bit of luck. So wish me luck!
It seems you never stop learning and taking new challenges, right?
You are absolutely correct. 2020 has shown everyone that if you are not flexible, if you do not diversify your knowledge and service, you might (end) up in a very difficult situation. Therefore, every year I try to learn something new. This year I’ve learned how to do group online CrossFit classes, and currently I’m enrolled in one of the prestigious nutrition courses. I always try to keep up with industry trends and science to ensure that I give the best advices to my clients.
Are you planning to come back to Ghana? I’ve never really left. Yes, currently I live and work in Dubai and I might not be available on daily basis, but I keep coming back to Ghana, as I still have my “Body Blast Fitness” business here, some commitments with “Lokhanda”, the self-defense project which we have started together with Lord Kwadjo Andoh, and other side hustle. Actually, at the moment I am negotiating with investors, I want to open a CrossFit box in Accra. One of my dreams is to bring professional CrossFit to Ghana and make it popular. I believe in this
sport 100%, because I can seem(see) its benefits. CrossFit it’s(is) more than sport, it’s a feeling of belonging to a community.
You are busy with competitions, investments, studies. Do you still do Personal Training?
Of course! I like working with people directly and always find time for clients who want to do personal training with me in person or online.
Who are your clients?
I’ve been training from housewives to elite sport stars and royal family members, from young to elderly people, different nationalities, different lifestyle and different fitness goals. I could not describe (to) you my “typical” client as they are so different. And this is why I like to do personal training. It’s never boring as you meet new and interesting people.
What would be your advice for those who want to become personal trainers?
Firstly, get certified. People who pay want to know that you have fundamental, preferably internationally approved skills.
Secondly, start with free sessions. You need to start somewhere and you need to practice working with people. This will help you to build your satisfied client base.
Thirdly, stay educated. Keep up with new industry trends and science to ensure you provide the best advice for your clients.
Last but not the least, create your personal brand and market yourself. Get your name & service out there, stay visible, and ask for testimonials & referrals. Word of mouth is more powerful than paid ads.
And food for thought – you can become successful over night, but until that happens, you have to work many, I mean many many, nights with no rest.
By Raimonda Iskauskaite