"Sometimes you really surprise yourself when it comes to fitness, you might think that you can't take it anymore, but really you can. And that's what I love about being an Instructor. I love telling my class to think about what it is that they’ve done last week and try to top that just a little bit." This is Behind the Glow with Ashley Suelyn.
My name is Ashley. I live in Malaysia and I'm currently a Fly Cycle Instructor in Fly Project.
So under the umbrella fly project, there are several exercises that we provide, but spin is what we're most known for.
I've been teaching for close to seven months now and I love it.
In the fitness industry, it seems like everyone has a story of what’s led them to become trainers. What’s yours?
Do you remember the moment when you realized you want to be a trainer?
I consider myself a really active person. From a really young age, I love sports, my parents and I played Badminton every weekend, and we also do a lot of running together. That's kind of where I started my love for fitness.
When school ended we didn't really have competitions, so I ended up picking up marathons, and I would run at least one marathon every single year. Up till now, I ran about 10, and that gave me a lot of fulfillment and satisfaction when I've constantly improved myself, I've constantly pushed my limits.
But unfortunately, there was a time where my knees kind of gave away, and running was not possible anymore, and I tried looking into other sports.
The next best thing that people usually end up doing instead of running is cycling or swimming. So I picked up cycling and I wasn't very confident with that because I was so used to kind of just relying on my own body, like a good set of
Headphones and you go running, and it's free of equipment, but when I picked up cycling I was slightly intimidated. But I was also very shocked and surprised by how much I love it. And not just loving it, but loving it so much and enough to want to be an Instructor.
What are your 3 favorite parts of the fitness industry?
I think the fitness industry really sets you up for success. Each time you motivate yourself to be a little bit better, a little bit stronger than you were yesterday. I think that kind of mindset does carry through not just in your fitness journey, it always makes you aware to take one step at a time it's always slow and progressive but it always gets you somewhere better, in the right direction.
I think second is the community. It's not fun doing things alone, even when I hiked up Mount Kinabalu, which is the highest peak of the mountain in southeast Asia, it's always fun to do it while you enjoy someone's company and you want to strive towards the same achievement together.
And Fly Project itself has a brilliant and vibrant community, each time you come in you see different riders striving to do their best. Not really striving for perfection, that's not what I think fitness is all about, I think it's the community and encouraging one another.
If you’ve had a bad day today and you come into the community - you just automatically become more protected, it's a safe environment.
Sometimes you really surprise yourself when it comes to fitness, you might think that you can't take this anymore, but really you can. And that's what I love about being an Instructor.
Sometimes I see on my clients’ faces that they're so tired, they're sweating and they might think they can't do it anymore.
But our mind is so powerful.
I tell them to just keep going, keep pushing forward. And then they push themselves and become so much happier and so surprised and shocked at what they are capable of.
I love making people feel that way.
What are some of the main struggles you think fitness trainers face? And how do you think they can be solved?
I think nutrition is really important. I think a lot of people don't understand that their daily lifestyle, and their food is such a big part of it.
Just getting hydrated throughout the day, remembering to breathe as you, exercise, all these little details that we sometimes take for granted.
We keep thinking that it's easy. Of course we eat, of course we drink, of course
we breathe, who doesn't?
But funny enough, sometimes when I'm the rider and I'm in my colleagues class, I find myself holding my breath for example.
I think in general as Instructors, we find ways to kind of make sure that our body is healthy enough and strong enough to keep going day to day. Like supplements, just eating well and being super disciplined.
For me, for instance, I have 7 a.m classes Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and it's such a big commitment. It's just being very disciplined in your mindset.
There's all these little components that I think we find it really challenging to do day to day, week to week, month to month.
How do you think COVID will affect our industry in the years to come?
I think this question is quite interesting because recently our studio ended up selling studio studio bikes, not the ones in the spin studio of course, but they they end up encouraging our riders to have their own bikes at home, and we started streaming a lot of videos online to kind of improve that discipline and integrity for individuals who wants to work out at home.
One of the key things that I love about the fitness industry is community, and when you have to workout by yourself at home, a lot of the time the motivation to work out and stay healthy is quite low.
I think one of the big challenges would be - how do we then motivate ourselves to
work out at home? To beat our best record?
So I think Instructors need to be role models.
One of the things that I love doing with my colleagues as well is that we do a lot
of workout classes online. And honestly sometimes our live videos don’t have many people watching, but the point is that when we're doing it, it's kind of setting that trend of working out at home.
What is the greatest piece of advice you can give other trainers from your experience?
To me it's like have fun doing it but have fun doing it right as well.
As an instructor, we all went through a six-week training course and we all had to work on the same exact movement and understand when you do a particular movement what part of your body feels what.
I always like to emphasize that by saying things like fill in your core when you're doing this particular movement, so if there are any aspiring instructors out there - have fun but definitely try to learn as much technicality as possible because your riders look up to you and ultimately they rely on you for advice, and they rely on you to see what is it that you're doing
Favorite workout song - Sam Feldt by Post Malone featuring Rani.
Imagine you're waking up in the morning and you're thinking of working out but your mind's just telling you like no I can't do it and your body's just like I'm not getting up for this.
If you play this song I guarantee you you'll wake up and just can't help but bounce with it.
Favorite cheat meal - We have a lot of cheat food options here in Malaysia, but for me, my ultimate ultimate cheat meal which I guarantee each time I feel so good eating it but I feel so crappy after but at the same time I know I deserve it because I've worked hard for it!
It's banana leaf rice. It comes in a banana leaf and you have rice, you have unlimited refills of side dishes and you have curry on it and fried chicken and like it's like a never-ending syrup of everything.
Fitness trainer that inspires you - Kayla Itsines. She's so strong and she's so lean I think that whenever I see her workout guides or even just her working out on videos that really inspires me.
One time I took myself to a hanging boxing bag and I went on it, wrapped my legs around it and actually did a more than 90 degree sit up on the back just cause I saw she did it. I was like, man if she can do it I can do it too.
Your motto - To exceed expectations. A lot of the time I go to other senior instructors' classes and see what they're doing differently, what they're doing more of, and see what riders like more of as well.
I know that as an instructor, because we've done it for so long, we appreciate the fancier moves. But our riders may not necessarily appreciate the same things we do.
I love challenging myself, as instructors, we have to give our riders that breathing room, giving them options. I love telling my class to think about what it is that they’ve done last week and try to top that just a little bit.