Published 24 July 2020
Getting out of your comfort zone is never easy. In this post, Haikal reveals his journey of becoming a group instructor early this year.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm a certified personal trainer, group coach at Union Strength and also a fitness educator. My interest in fitness started way back when I was in school. It started as a passion, and now as my career.

I'm a bit of a movement junkie, so I spend the bulk of my time in the gym. When I'm not training others, I'm usually working on myself or out playing some sports.

What made you decide to become a coach?

My parents had a huge influence on me growing up. My mom is a lecturer while my dad is a businessman. At first, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living and just followed the footsteps of my dad by heading into a business. Despite this, my parents have always been supportive of me to find my calling.

After graduating from the University at Buffalo, New York with a degree in marketing, I finally found my vocation. So, I forged my path away from advertising into entrepreneurship - blending my education with my passion for fitness. Now, I help people to own a healthier and happier life for themselves.

What has been the most memorable moment for you as a coach?

It would definitely be the daily interactions I have with the people. For instance, when my client once said to me, "because of you, I can now fit in my old clothes", or when a group class attendee said "I really enjoyed the class, I'd definitely be back again".

There is nothing more rewarding knowing you've made a positive influence on another person's life.

"There is nothing more rewarding knowing you've made a positive influence on another person's life."

What is the most challenging aspect of becoming a group coach?

For me, it is shifting the focus from the technical aspects of personal training to the ambience of the environment. A big part of group training is creating a safe space for attendees to enjoy training in a supportive environment. And it is a little tricky for me, from managing a client at a time to managing the whole class now.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I see myself doing the exact the same thing but on a higher level and a bigger scale. I wish to help more people in kick starting their journey or achieving certain fitness goals (and also to inspire them to become who they want to be).

Photo credit: Haikal coaching at a Senior Fitness Program

What would you say to someone who is looking to start training under you?

DROP THE EGO. We hear this a lot when dealing with weights in the gym, but it needs to be enforced even more when you're learning. Your emotions must not come in the way for you to think critically and to make better decisions.

There were many times I felt like I knew something in this field just because I've been lifting for a long time, only to be brought back to down to reality by people who are more knowledgable than me. It's definitely a humbling experience, and you have to be open to new ideas and information, even when it conflicts with your own.

Group Coach at Union Strength