Azar Sayyed - Fitness expert & Freelance personal trainer
The fitness industry is finding ways to stay relevant. Fitness expert and personal trainer Mr. Azar Sayyed talks on ways to adapting the future of fitness.
Over the last several months Covid-19 has disrupted life as we know it. With on and off lockdowns being imposed across the country, one of the areas most impacted has been the fitness industry. As ‘work from home’ has become the new normal for any working organisation, ‘workout from home’ has become the new regime for all fitness enthusiasts while the gyms and fitness studios have shaped up itself with changing times by going digital!
Our story features Mr. Azar Sayyed who is a professional gym trainer
and fitness expert with an experience of over 15 years specialising in
strength training, HIIT, kickboxing, core workouts, stretching and flexibility.
“Health and wellness are the most valuable assets that we have and
there is nothing like helping people achieve their health goals.” believes
Mr. Sayyed whose love for fitness became his passion and then a
full-time profession. He started his career as a gym trainer with
Abs Fitness for 5 years and later moved on to freelance personal
training for individuals.
Over the time personal training has seen many changes, and it is extremely important for trainers to keep up with the pace in the fitness industry in terms of new technology and techniques, variations in formats, certifications, and so on. "Simply being a personal trainer these days is not enough. We all need some sort of specialty, such as athletic training, injury prevention, or sports conditioning. There is always something new coming up regarding health and wellness. So staying updated is important and, at the same time, a big challenge for me. New studies, techniques, and tools can add value to what I can offer to my clients. For this, I generally do my bit of research by reading journals, articles. I have also subscribed to some fitness journals that help me to stay updated. The discussion with other trainers and teaming up with local physical therapists is also a great source of knowledge, " says Mr. Sayeed about the importance of staying updated as a personal trainer and fitness expert.
Physical and mental health has been of utmost importance during these tough times of pandemic and lockdown phases. With people confined to their homes and gyms and fitness studios being forced to shut down, it was challenging for trainers to keep up with their workout routine and also motivate clients to keep going in the right direction. "Misinformation and information overload is the biggest problem that we face these days. The Internet has flooded people with information related to workouts that give faster results, crash diets, health supplements, etc. The problem is that it can be hard for people to discern what’s helpful and what’s not. Often, people are happy to jump on the latest fitness bandwagon – whatever it may be. While we trainers can identify the inadequate information that’s spread over the internet and social media, but an average person doesn’t have the same level of knowledge," explains Mr. Sayyed on facing challenges while working with his clients physically and virtually.
A personal trainer is critical to ensuring that you commit and stick to your fitness goals. With pandemic life has changed dramatically and adapting to new changes everyday has been a tough task for everyone. As a personal trainer and fitness expert Mr. Azar Sayyed shares his side of the story about working to help and motivate his clients during these tough times.
How easy/difficult has it been for you to manage the physical well-being of people especially in these adverse situations?
The Covid-19 pandemic has made people stay-at-home and sit down more than we usually do. With the work from home culture, people are spending most of their time sitting in front of their screens without many movements. This has made people conscious about their physical health. More people are coming to me with their weight issues than ever. Also, physical health doesn’t only mean getting your ideal body it also has a big role to play in overall well-being and immunity, which is more important than ever as we are in the middle of a never-seen-before pandemic. People are feeling more anxious and isolated than ever. So it is very important to involve them in physical activities to reduce the risk of depression, cognitive decline, and delay the onset of dementia, and improve overall feelings.
As a fitness trainer, how has life changed for you professionally post Covid-19? What has impacted you the most?
Pandemic has brought this fast-moving world to a standstill. People are
now more conscious not only about their physical but also mental fitness and well-being. They are now opting for at-home workouts and are taking up outdoor activities such as biking, running, etc. As trainers, now we have to
think about their mental well-being in addition to their weight goals.
This pandemic has changed people’s attitude towards fitness regime and they are now opting the workout sessions digitally. How has this impacted your job?
People are now more inclined towards home workouts as they are more convenient and give them the freedom to exercise in a more comfortable setup. Though online training can never truly replace the essence of being trained in person, a lot of people might want to continue their workout in the convenience of their home. Likewise, most of my clients have been working out with me since years and with gyms closed, too had to immediately switch to taking online sessions for them. With gyms and parks being closed and not much physical activities done there was an increase demand for my online classes.
The fitness industry is among the hardest hit by Covid-19 with large numbers of gyms being shut down causing major livelihoods hit. Do you think the industry will bounce back to its normal state any time soon?
It has already started to bounce back. No doubt some changes are there for sure; like earlier people were more interested in the membership offers, now they are more inclined towards personal training. More than physical fitness, gym is like a therapy for people where they work out, interact with other people who share similar goals, and keep themselves motivated. Home workouts are here to stay but gyms have their own charm which is unlikely to fade.
What is your training style? How do you measure the progress of your clients?
I measure progress by the overall well-being of my clients. Fitness doesn’t mean weight loss or weight gain rather it’s a journey that involves your mind body and soul. If you are happy in your heart, you will be more motivated to achieve your weight goals and follow them.
Do you think mental and spiritual wellness has become more important than getting the perfect shape while adapting to the new normal ways of living?
Since the pandemic has caused a lot of anxiety and depression issues, people are now more aware of their mental well-being. We have to alter our workout sessions to address mental health along with physical health. The demand is more for physical activities that include mindful activities such as meditation. Participation in fitness activities such as yoga has risen since the pandemic.
What are your takeaways from the Pandemic?
My learnings from the pandemic can be summarised in a very old saying ‘Health is Wealth.’ The fitter you are, the more you can fight with internal as well as external factors.
Life can put you in any situation but the only thing that can get you out of it is your health and your mental strength.
Any tips on how can people keep themselves fit and healthy?
Stay hydrated, stretch, and eat the right food with a decent amount of protein after each workout. Have a healthy sleeping cycle and keep yourself motivated.
“Health and wellness are the most valuable assets that we have and there is nothing like helping people achieve their health goals”
"People are now more conscious about their physical and mental-well being"