If you're looking for no-bull**** training with a side of giggles and constant positivity, it's worth getting to know Very Personal Trainer Martena David. From complete fitness newbie, to now being a familiar face in our Ealing club with all the knowledge, she's all about training smart and simple (with plenty of laughs). Our blogger Kat caught up with Martena...
How did you get into fitness and what made you decide to become a PT?
My fitness journey actually started in my early teens when I took up martial arts. I trained in kickboxing and Muay Thai up until my early 20’s. Then uni happened and I stopped exercising altogether...not my best life decision but we live and we learn!
Once I started working full-time, I knew I wanted to start exercising again so I joined my local gym. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing so I stuck to cardio machines and classes. I would always see PT’s showing their clients the weights section and I really wanted to learn but (being a graduate) I knew I couldn’t afford one. So I started reading loads of articles and studies online, watching videos and reading books. I did that repeatedly over the next few years while I taught and trained myself in the gym. I really enjoyed the process of learning and trying things out - I was my own guinea pig!
I worked in media production and it got to the point when I realised it wasn’t for me anymore. I left, went travelling, came back and decided I wanted to do something else that was a lot more fulfilling. I love training and helping others, so being a PT was the perfect fit for me.
Why did you join Gymbox and how long have you been a VPT with us?
I love Gymbox’s ethos. I love that quite literally ‘anything goes’ - it doesn’t matter who you are, if you want to train well and have a great time doing it then Gymbox is for you.
I remember still being a student when Gymbox opened their Westfield branch and I thought “I want to go here.” At the time I had no plans of being a PT, but fast-forward a few years and I knew that’s where I wanted to build my business. I fit the Gymbox ethos and I knew the club was right for me.
I joined Gymbox Ealing as a VPT at the opening of the club in June 2019. Not that I’m biased or anything but...it’s definitely the best club!
What can clients expect from a session with you?
I’m a massive fan of keeping exercises simple, but simple doesn’t mean easy! When working with me, my clients focus on movement patterns - so your pushes, pulls, presses and hinges. I like to make sure people are moving correctly before adding any weight.
I like to see progression and results in my clients. Focusing on simple movements and progressive overload is how we achieve that.
We also love a bit of a chat mid-session too! It makes training a little more fun and I guess ‘anything goes’!
What have been some of your proudest moments as a PT?
Oh, this is a tough one! There have been personal achievements in my career, like working with brands I’ve always loved. Writing articles for Stylist Magazine and Marie Clare is up there with some of my proudest achievements!
Honestly though, nothing compares to how proud I feel when I take on a client and see them through their fitness journey. It’s not just witnessing their physical transformation, it’s the mental transformation for me.
Everyone has a different reason for starting their fitness journey. Whether it’s to get strong again after an illness or accident, to train for something sports specific or to regain confidence after a break-up. But ultimately, people are always training towards the same goal which is to become the best version of themselves. To be a part of and witness that transformation always makes me the proudest coach.
Social media is full of people claiming a certain workout routine or training 'trick' will make us look a certain way. Are there any workout or diet trends which have particularly annoyed you and if so, why?
Ahhh, where do I even start with this!? I really feel like being a professional in the fitness industry you have the responsibility to rectify BS fitness claims!
Anything and everything from weight loss teas that just make you sh** loads, to ‘fat loss workouts,’ when really any exercise or activity you do elicits fat loss (providing you’re in a calorie deficit)...posts which demonise certain foods...and workout videos that use clickbait techniques, like labelling them ‘under-booty workout,’ are also annoying. Let’s just call the workout what it is: you’re either targeting your hamstrings or your glutes!
Preying on people’s insecurities and making them believe they have a ‘problem area’ when it’s a normal part of human anatomy also really, really irks me.
I’d rather work towards educating people on how fitness really works on my socials. Spot reduction is a myth, there’s no quick fix! It takes hard work, discipline and consistency. It might not sound sexy but it is what it is! Don’t fall into the trap of an empty promise.
Do you think people have any misconceptions about PTs? If so, what are they?
I think the most common misconception is that we don’t slip up on our own nutrition and training. Oh, we do! We all have a sweet tooth and enjoy really great food but we’ve learned how to find a balance where we can enjoy both.
Even with training, we don’t always love to train and we’re not always motivated! Believe me, there are days we have to drag ourselves to the gym and train, but we’ve built the discipline to do that over time. That’s why, when we hear your struggles, we can relate. We’re only human too!
It's Friday night, there's no food in the fridge and Uber Eats is calling your name. What are you ordering for dinner?
Ouff! This’ll make me hungry just thinking about it!
I love anything Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese...basically, I’ll have it all! Sushi and noodles are my favourite. I’ve gotten into a habit lately where I need to order myself two mains because I can’t decide which one I want. Some people might think that’s greedy but I’m here for it, it makes perfect sense!
If it’s not that, then it’s a pizza from Santa Maria. They’re the best!
What do you enjoy most about being a VPT at Gymbox?
Ah, where do I begin!? Aside from the fact Gymbox is genuinely one of London’s coolest gyms, the decor, the DJ’s, the facilities, aside all from all of that...it might sound cliche, but it’s genuinely the members.
Gymbox attracts a certain type of crowd that is second to none. They bring a whole vibe with them. Every person is so different from the next but they all have the same thing about them: they love to train and have fun. It makes being a VPT at Gymbox that much more rewarding when you’re constantly surrounded by like-minded people.