Day in the Life of a Romford YMCA gym instructor

PUBLISHED: 15:00 03 April 2015

Michael Jelly, 23, at Romford YMCA's gym, where he is a volunteer

Michael Jelly, 23, at Romford YMCA's gym, where he is a volunteer


Michael Jelly talks about how a charity scheme for disabled people unlocked his passion for health and fitness.

I’m a voluntary gym instructor at the Romford YMCA.

On a day-to-day basis, I carry out any gym inductions of new members and show them how the equipment works.

Part of the role is also to make sure the equipment is clean – we try and encourage members to use spray and paper towels if they use it.

Sometimes we carry out tours of the building if reception are too busy and we can write programmes for members, based on what they want to achieve.

I help to fill out the paperwork and we do safety checks every morning and evening.

My main hours are about 9am to 4pm, three days a week. I have been here since September 2013.

It’s quite interesting; I was a gym member here and my now manager’s manager told me about a course called InstructAbility.

It is run by the YMCA for charity Aspire and it is to train disabled people to become gym instructors.

The course was three days a week for five weeks and at the end of it I had to sit two written exams and a practical exam.

For the practical exam, I had to write a gym programme for somebody.

Before this, I had had an operation and wasn’t doing anything with myself.

Everyone would love to have a paid job, but sometimes they are not available.

This is an opportunity for me to use the skills I have learned to help other people.

We have got a really tight-knit group in the gym. We all have a laugh and enjoy what we are doing.

We have a wide range of members, including people who are in their 70s and 80s. It has a nice community atmosphere.

It’s good for us guys as staff and there’s no sense of judgmental feeling.

We talk to the members and ask how they are getting on. You want them to build their own confidence.

One thing we do try and push on people is if they are finding their programme is getting a bit boring, come back to us and we will introduce new exercises.

At the moment, I’m a couple of months away from qualifying as a personal trainer. I have been doing the course for nearly nine months now.

The difference between the instructor course and the personal trainer course is this is a lot more in-depth – it shows you how complex the human body is.

Essentially, this will then open a door; as a personal trainer, I could bring people in if I wanted.

The instructor course wasn’t something I had thought about, but I’ve not really looked back since.

I really enjoy doing it.

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