In this month’s Trainer Spotlight St. James’s and Fitzrovia based Senior Trainer Maria Athanaseli talks ab shakes, eight years teaching Pilates, and the importance of feeling challenged.

Can you tell us a bit about your role here at Ten

I’m a Senior Trainer at Ten’s St James’s and Fitzrovia studios. I teach classes and work on a one to one basis from clients. I’m also proud to be part of Ten Academy helping new trainers through team teaching and running Continuing Professional Development (CPD) workshops.

How long have you been working as a trainer?

I have been working as a Personal Trainer and Pilates Teacher for approximately 8 years, but I have been part of Ten for almost two and a half years. Time really flies 🙂

“I find what the human body is capable of fascinating.”

What inspired you to want to work in health and fitness?

I was always into Sports – practicing rhythmic gymnastics and ballet dance – when I was younger and did my undergraduate studies in Sports Science, so it was kind of natural to me. Also, I find what the human body is capable of fascinating and it is amazing how it can be transformed through physical exercise.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in this career?

I believe I would be in education, as I love teaching and I like working with children. Maybe I would be a Physical Education teacher! So really, not far from fitness. I believe that a healthy lifestyle should start at an early age and gymnastics is both beneficial and fun.

What can clients expect from your classes?

They can expect an “unexpected” variation of a classical exercise and lots of coordination challenge. They will get a dynamic class, so they leave the room with a sweaty smile and maybe a few inches taller. At the end of the day, it is important to enjoy the training and if you feel the body shaking sometimes, it is always a good thing.

“Expect an ‘unexpected’ variation of a classical exercise and lots of coordination challenge.”

What’s the best part about your job & working at Ten?

The best part about my job at Ten is that I get to know different people from around the world (clients & colleagues) and it’s really interesting to learn how to get along with different personalities and try to collaborate. Of course the continuous training is fundamental for my job and helps maintain a healthy lifestyle too.

When you’re not here what can you be found getting up to?

I left my piano back home, so I am almost always listening to music, even when I do not teach. I enjoy jogging in the park or rock climbing, but I have a sweet tooth too. I love baking and sharing with friends or discovering cosy cafés in London.

What’s your favourite place or thing to do in London?

I don’t have a favourite place, but I am always up for a great view and London has amazing views. If I have to choose one, though, that would be Greenwich, with all these small restaurants and coffee shops near the pier and the big park; a nice escape from everyday hustle.

What are your favourite forms of exercise?

I am a keen swimmer, I’ve been swimming since I was a child and I love Pilates of course (both mat and equipment, such as reformer!)

What’s the best piece of health & fitness advice you’ve been given that you’d like to pass on?

We are made to move – my motto – and that “we are all snowflakes”, so you should not compare your body/lifestyle/training with others, everyone is different and that’s the beauty of it.

“Don’t compare your body/lifestyle/training with others, everyone is different and the beauty of it.”

What have you learnt from your time working here at Ten?

Competition and being challenged is tough but necessary. In every class we’re faced with clients of various exercise levels and backgrounds and we have adapt the class based on their needs on the spot. This might seem difficult but it is also very interesting as we also learn through that and we become better and better. This is the most important thing in order to remain competitive and at the top on your profession.

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