Student Success Story: Harminder Singh Swaley

Harminder completed a Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy and is now the owner of an award-winning massage business in Brighton.

Harminder Singh Swaley

Massage Therapist

One of our favourite parts of what we do is getting to see how our learners’ qualifications allow them to flourish in their career and turn their dreams into reality. Today, we’re sharing the student success story of Harminder Singh Swaley, who completed a Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy with us in 2018. He now owns the award-winning Infinity Massage Therapy in Brighton

Harminder developed an enjoyment for massage at the young age of five years old when he began offering massages to family members – massage is an important part of Indian culture. As an adult, Harminder entered a career in sales, and while he enjoyed the regular interaction with other people, his heart wasn’t in it. That’s when he made the decision to retrain in a career that would make him feel fulfilled, and he began his YMCAfit massage course in Brighton. 

After finishing his massage course in 2018, Harminder spent a year working part-time and honing his craft, then in 2019, he accomplished his dream of opening his own massage business, Infinity Massage Therapy in the heart of Brighton. It has steadily built a loyal customer base and was even awarded Favourite Health & Beauty Salon by the Argus in summer 2023 – an award that’s voted on by the local community. Harminder has brought on more staff to support the business, and he’s even in the process of expanding the business across Sussex, with new locations planned in Hove and Eastbourne.

When reflecting on his time studying with YMCAfit, Harminder says, “I’m really happy I chose to do my qualification with the YMCA. They were fantastic from start to finish, helping source a 25-plus student loan to fund the course and creating a fun and engaging environment! I highly recommend them.” He loves that he gets to engage with all different types of people on a daily basis while offering a service that positively impacts their lives. 

We’re so happy to see Harminder succeeding in a field he’s passionate about, and we can’t wait to see all the amazing things he’ll accomplish in the years ahead of him! 

Are you interested in learning more about our Sports Massage courses? Click the button below to read all about the programme and book in a call with one of our course advisors.

5 things I wish I’d known before becoming a Personal Trainer

By Martin Coles

Martin Coles, trained with us to become a Personal Trainer in 2011 and has since worked in several different gyms around London. But what did he wish he’d known before he became a PT?

1. It’s not too difficult getting a job!

In the majority of cases, commercial gyms employ personal trainers to operate on a self-employed basis and advertise these positions on recruitment websites such as LeisureJobs. This means you will pay a monthly rent to run your business from their space and your clients will pay you directly for your services. In some cases, you won’t pay rent and you will be employed by the club and they will take a percentage of your personal training sessions.

When applying for jobs I would suggest you pick clubs that are easy enough for you to commute to, align with your training ethos and have enough potential clients per trainer to ensure success.

2. It takes time to build a client base

As a newly hired personal trainer, your first goal is to gain a handful of clients. In the beginning, make sure you appear busy, walk the floor and talk to members, deliver classes and do the occasional freebie session for friends and family during the club’s busiest times and the enquiries will come!

3. Be flexible

You’ll need to be prepared to change well-planned sessions at the drop of the hat. Your client might turn up late, stressed out from a day at work, or even mention their knee is hurting. You will need to learn to adapt your well-planned sessions to calibrate your workouts to give your clients a workout that is possible and appropriate for them that day.

4. You will (and should) constantly be learning

Your client might ask you about a diet they’ve read about in a magazine or a new piece of equipment that will revolutionise how people train. In order to keep up with the changing face of the fitness industry, you will need to attend courses, seminars and read articles, books and studies.

5. Most clients can only handle one change at a time

Bombarding your clients with everything you know is a surefire way of boring them and making them feel overwhelmed. Implementing too many lifestyle or habit changes too soon can lead to clients following none of the steps they will need in order to reach their goals. If your client is new to exercise and nutrition, then you will want to drip-feed habit formation slowly and allow them to master one habit at a time. 

Ready to know more about a career in fitness?

YMCAfit launches women-only PT courses to help break down barriers

On International Women’s Day 2022 YMCAfit announced a new Women-only Personal Training course to help provide a safe space for women to take their first steps into the fitness industry. Teaching on this pioneering course, Hannah helped to break down barriers for more women into the fitness industry, something that she is passionate about.

“It is important to make education more accessible to all women who might be interested in getting into the fitness industry. By running Women-only courses, we will be able to encourage more women to join the industry who may not be able to otherwise. To get more women into fitness we need to have a greater number of female instructors, and this course will help achieve that.”

In March 2022, we surveyed women who graduated from our fitness courses in the last 5 years to understand the barriers that they have faced within the fitness industry. The survey highlighted that:

73% felt that women might face more barriers to career progression than men in the fitness industry.
More than 67% felt that unhelpful gender stereotyping negatively impacted women in fitness.
46% felt there was negative unconscious bias from decision-makers that impacted women’s careers in fitness.
84% wanted fitness professionals to have a deeper understanding of female anatomy and physiology and changes through life.
65% thought that lack of self-belief or confidence negatively impacted career progression for women in the fitness industry.

As a charity, we want to help make the fitness industry more inclusive and break down barriers to exercise and into the fitness industry. As a response to what the survey revealed, we dedicated to launch a pioneer Women-only Level 3 Personal Training course and will be working on creating innovative workshops to educate fitness professionals of all genders on how to make fitness more accessible for women throughout all stages of their lives. On top of that, we will be sharing the results with awarding bodies to encourage other training providers to increase women’s health content in their fitness courses

Erica Smith, YMCAfit Service Delivery Manager, said:

“We have been hearing from a number of women that they wouldn’t feel comfortable in a male-dominated PT course or even a mixed environment, so we have created a space to empower these women and help them thrive in their careers.

We believe women deserve fitness professionals who better understand women. Women have different experiences to men because of periods, childbirth, menopause, differing pressures from their families, society, and the media, including gender ideals and stereotypes. This has an impact on their fitness and training, both biologically and psychologically, and we want to address this.”

YMCAfit Tutor Hannah is crouched down in front of a whiteboard with 6 students listening intentley at what she is explaining
YMCAfit Tutor Hannah teaching a theory class with a whiteboard behind her

Hannah Whibberley, YMCAfit tutor, said:

“It is important to make education more accessible to all women who might be interested in getting into the fitness industry. By running Women-only courses, we will be able to encourage more women to join the industry who may not be able to otherwise. To get more women into fitness we need to have a greater number of female instructors, and this course will help achieve that.”

The Women-only Level 3 Personal Training course provides women with everything they need to be a world-class personal trainer, all the content in the usual course, as well as offering additional skills and training to help women thrive in the fitness industry including ante and post natal and older adults content, which would normally be an extra cost.  

Group of women who just completed thier PT qualification. YMCAfit Tutor, Trish, is in the middle
Woman exercising in a classroom ith a pair of dumbells

Feedback from participants in the first Women-only PT course

“It was super inspiring to be along other women at different stages of their life and overall together we managed to inspire each other. Maybe it wouldn’t be possible in a mixed group as we felt really comfortable speaking about everything including struggles at different stages of life. At the beginning I felt that I could end up being at a loss, as the real world is mixed and I find it important to see all realities. But I feel what I got was way more rewarding and important to my personal and professional life.”

Andreia Ferreira

“It was awesome, such a great bonding experience. Having spoken to other students and the tutors, it feels like we had more in-depth conversations about the challenges generally for women in fitness….periods, pregnancy, menopause etc…..which were missing in groups where the demographic was very male dominant. I’d definitely be interested in other women-only courses and would definitely recommend it.”

Clare Ratnavira”

Ready to know more about a career in fitness?