Savvy, sassy and super fun, popular fitness trainer Tanya Smith, (aka Instagram’s @cheekysmith) has loads of experience in the fitness industry and a passion for teaching. Combine this with her colourful, larger-than-life character and you’ll see why she’s a firm favourite on our Sydney campus. We caught up with her recently to find out more about her experiences and thoughts on the fitness industry.
1. Tell us about your background
My journey in the fitness industry started nine years ago with Fitness First in Kotara which is near New Castle in NSW. Later, I started experimenting with outdoor training on my own. With a move to Sydney, I worked as a subcontractor for quite a few big-name gyms, each with valuable lessons.
After a couple of years of this, I decided to start competing in female amateur boxing, so I made my personal training work around my lifestyle, which is something quite a few athletes do. This was quite draining so I ended up working part-time in a health food store, which sparked my interest in nutrition.
I have been lucky enough to work for Step into Life, Bondi Bum, Plus Fitness and Scott Gooding from My Kitchen Rules. I worked as an in-house trainer for an entire family, helped launch a brand-new Jetts Fitness franchise (as Assistant Manager) and was area manager for an Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge location. I’ve learned so much from all these positions, and I think the sum of this work has helped lead me to my appointment as a Trainer and Assessor at Sage Sydney.
2. What made you want to become a Sage Trainer?
I decided to start teaching at Sage as I wanted to make a contribution to improving the fitness industry. There are too many short courses that churn out students who are not ready. Consequently, the students lack confidence, and more importantly, they lack the vital knowledge required to enter the fitness industry and teach others safe, appropriate exercise regimes.
“Australia needs more trainers (and individuals working in the health and fitness industry) with a decent education in this field.”
3. What do you love about teaching at Sage the most?
I love teaching at Sage because my team has a foundation of experience that benefits the students in so many ways. Plus, the students are always so enthusiastic about learning, improving – and bettering their well-being.
4. Do you have any tips for people entering the industry?
Keep learning, keep researching. Fitness is an ever-changing industry, and there’s always new research coming through, which provides plenty of inspiration for discussion. However, it is essential that students stick to their fundamental knowledge and don’t get swept away by the latest fads, no matter how popular they may be.
“Find your niche and do what you love! It’s important to know where you want to position yourself in this market. I don’t think the fitness industry is an easy industry to be in all the time; however, it’s always worth the effort.”
Another piece of advice I would offer is to only align yourself with fitness brands you know are 100% about the client or improving the client’s health, and avoid ones that are just about making dollars.
5. Tell us about your hobbies.
I like staying active with my dog, trying new recipes, reading, listening to music, modelling – and staying active through my gym workouts and other outdoor activities.
6. What is your absolute favourite food?
I like chocolate and soup, but not together!
7. If you could go back in time, where would it be?
I’d like to travel back to the 70’s or 80’s as I think my taste in music belongs there.
Sage Institute of Fitness – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.
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