Lauren Gill has been working for Generation Fit, a small, independent gym in Leeds, while studying for her Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing and Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training.
Lauren was born in Hightown near Liverpool. Aged 18, she went to Trinity University in Horsforth to take a three-year course in Sport, Health, Exercise and Nutrition.
Lauren has mostly followed a career in fitness, although she has previously worked in supermarkets and at children’s party events.
Route into a career in fitness:
At the age of five, Lauren began learning Irish dancing and was soon competing every weekend, including at the Irish Dancing Championships in Belfast when she was 11.
Her first work placement at university was at a gym in Horsforth, where she met Andy Berry (see our Case Study: Andy Berry); later she worked there as a receptionist. When Andy set up his own gym in Bramley in November 2017, Lauren was taken on as an apprentice.
Training with CMS:
Following a recommendation from Andy, Lauren signed up for a one-year apprenticeship with CMS, which started in December 2017. As she already had a degree in sports, she was able to complete both a Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing and a Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training over the course of a year.
In a typical day, Lauren has 1-2-1 sessions with clients and teaches classes. The gym runs a range of classes from kettle bells and circuit classes to mobility, stretch and relax sessions suited to those with injuries, who make up around 40% of the gym’s clientele.
As a family-friendly venue, the gym also runs parent and child classes, where parents can bring in their children to exercise with them – led by Andy and his young daughter.
“Every client can have 1-2-1 sessions with me or Andy,” she explains. “This way we know that they are progressing and doing well, rather than being left to their own devices. Our aim is to create a community here, where everyone helps each other out.”
She is also responsible for marketing activities to bring in new clients, in particular social media. This includes shooting videos for Instagram and writing files to add to the gym’s Facebook page and share among members’ groups. “Members often give us ideas of what they’d like to know about, from the best type of cardio workouts to do for your goals to nutrition advice.”
The learning process:
Initially, Lauren was supported by Hadyn Luke from CMS, who came out to visit her at the gym and talked her through setting up her account on the online portal, where a lot of the training is accessed.
There were also manuals covering anatomy, physiology and nutrition, as well as health and safety in the workplace. Practice assessments were carried out on workshop days; Lauren followed two five-day courses at Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) at the John Smith’s stadium in Huddersfield. She sat her Level 2 exams during the first workshop and the Level 3 in her workplace under exam conditions.
“Going from nothing to getting my first couple of clients felt like a big achievement,” Lauren says. “One client was thinking of getting a gastric band to lose weight; all she wanted was to be able to pick her children up, and I’ve been able to help her.”
Lauren and Andy have also set up a charity called Generation Health to support those with specific health conditions – anything from heart disease to MS to mental health issues. “We also help elderly clients, teaching them basic things like the best way to pick up shopping, and helping them to get stronger so they are less likely to have a fall.”
Lauren says: “When first started, I found anatomy and physiology very challenging as you have to learn them in quite a lot of depth. If I’d only been using the workbooks online it would have been tricky, but I’ve been lucky to have Andy here to ask. When he has clients in with an injury, he will point out areas I’ve been learning about and teach me in a practical application.”
Benefits of taking a CMS Fitness course:
“I have definitely been well looked after by CMS and have only good feedback,” Lauren says. “The workshop days were particularly helpful and, if I needed any help through the day, my tutor Rob got back to me straight away. The tutors are good at explaining things in a way that you’ll understand and that relates to your job role.”