We caught up with Yaz Garcia, a personal trainer and fitness instructor at BXR London, to get her take on how we can transform the negative associations that so many people have with exercise to make it a more enjoyable and accessible experience.
Read on for some interesting insights on how to begin your exercise journey, deconstruct exercise to remove barriers, and tailor it to your personal preferences.
Hi Yaz! So how did your journey into the fitness world begin? Have you always enjoyed it?
I have always enjoyed exercise and loved taking part in many activities when I was younger, such as gymnastics, swimming, dancing, tennis and more. I never knew I wanted to work in the fitness industry when I was younger, but as I got older and began studying subjects that were very essay based I realised that something practical would be far more up my street! I got really into weight training in my late teens, and since moving to London I’ve begun to try so many new things.
What makes exercise rewarding for you these days?
I feel great in myself—strong, energised and uplifted. The like-minded people I surround myself with help me to feel this way too. I find it most rewarding when I can enjoy a balanced lifestyle, day-to-day I like to be able to train hard but also eat what I like!
Can you walk us through your favourite workout routine right now?
My favourite workout routine begins with a weight session, targeting either the lower or upper body, followed by some sort of cardio session on the Versa climber or boxing. I also love doing unconventional activities that act as cardio—like going to a trampoline park! 😂
What makes an exercise session most effective?
I think that preparation is key. Always go into your session knowing what you’re doing and what you want to get out of it. That way you can always get the most out of your session despite the limited time you might have available.
How do you think a more personal, tailored approach to exercise can yield better fitness results? What steps can someone take to implement this and change up their routine?
It can be beneficial for someone to get a training coach. They can provide an expert perspective on your physical state and discuss what goals you have in mind. From here they can work out the best way to achieve them in a sustainable way.
When did you first get into boxing? Where did boxing fit into your fitness story?
I have only recently got into boxing because the sport forms a big part of my day-to-day life where I work: a boxing gym called BXR London. I had been intrigued by boxing before this, and always wanted to try it, but I only recently started having one-on-one sessions and taking part in group boxing classes. Since then my interest really took off!
What do you find are the biggest physical and mental benefits of a boxing workout compared with regular circuit training or gym sessions?
I think that the main physical benefits are that it challenges not only your cardiovascular fitness, but also how functional you are. You need a great deal of power and speed.
Learning boxing techniques also requires a lot of brain power, especially when you’re new to it! This can have huge mental benefits, and is something I feel we don’t do enough of when training.
Women are notoriously underrepresented in the sporting industry, especially when it comes to boxing. Could you tell us a bit about your experience in the field? Are there any particular highs or lows?
Luckily, my own personal experience hasn’t been bad—being a fitness trainer means I haven’t had to experience the struggles of playing a specific sport competitively.
However, as a trainer, sometimes I think that people assume females won’t be able to train men very well. Primarily because they aren’t as strong, and this can be tricky sometimes.
At Quell, our ultimate goal is to make fitness accessible to those who have struggled to commit to regular exercise. Do you have any tips for anyone who doesn’t enjoy exercise, struggles to establish a routine, or can’t find something that works for them?
I would suggest stripping it back to basics. Exercise doesn’t need to be anything extreme—it can literally be going for a walk each day! I also think that joining somewhere like a gym allows people to belong to a community. Often this results in you wanting to go back each day, even if you don’t feel like it at first, as you feel like a part of something. It’s all about taking that first initial step, and the rest is easy!
Quell: Thanks Yaz! Good luck with the training!
Yaz: Thank you!
You can see more of Yaz’s training and work with BXR on her Instagram.
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