OneFit Teachers: Gayan van Wijngaarden – “Train like a fighter”

When we asked OneFitters about their favourite teachers Gayan from Sportcentrum Pleizier was named one of the most popular. His fighting spirit and passion for training are what makes him a great and inspiring teacher. Gayan shared his personal journey from young fighter to entrepreneur and reputable trainer.

Gayan van Wijngaarden

Learning from a legend

I started fighting at the age of 16 at Sportcentrum Pleizier and a year later I went to train at Lucian Carbin’s gym –  he’s one of the most famous kickboxing trainers in the world. I had the honour of fighting for his gym and learning everything from him. At the time I also got into the e-commerce business and worked there for 4 years. I started as a project manager and left as an operational manager. I then decided to finish working there and start my own business in professional training and coaching. I earned my degree in fitness coaching and got all the qualifications I could for boxing. I founded my own company Mon Corps which is mainly personal training but I also teach a lot of group classes in boxing and kickboxing at Sportcentrum Pleizier. I taught my first class at 17 and I never looked back.

Train like a fighter

What I love about being a trainer is teaching people a certain mentality and giving them the opportunity to experience the same type of training I had as a fighter. The difference with the training I give is that it’s more customized to each individual, and you don’t need to be a fighter. Therefore, you can still join my class if you have never had any boxing experience. The kickboxing class is how I would train, but mixed with a lot of HIIT training – so it’s a pretty intense. Most people come to me for a combination of personal training, kickboxing and boxing. Honestly, I think I enjoy being a coach more than I ever enjoyed being a fighter.

Sports are honest

There is a difference between fighters and the people that just want to get fit. For me the most important thing is to look at who you have in front of you and capitalise on that and develop a method for your training. Sports are very honest, I can see what I have In front of me, see the real you and what you are capable of and adjust to that. There is not really a specific method that I use but what I try to do is look at every individual even if I have a class of 30 people, because you can’t teach everybody the same way. I give people the same techniques but apply them in different ways so it suits each individual’s way of training.

Everyone has a fighting spirit

I believe the fighting spirit lives in everyone and the most important thing is to teach people about it and then use it in everything in life not just in a fitness class or sports class. I’m all about functional training and I really don’t like anything that doesn’t have a link with real life. So if you have to go through an exercise that is really hard – it’s comparable to times in life that are hard. This develops character in the right way and it gets you fit, not only physically but also mentally. I think with a strong mind you can develop a strong body, the other way around is very hard.

Work hard, relax hard

The key to a healthy lifestyle is balance. You have to train extremely hard but also relax extremely hard. It goes for everything – training, relaxing, food and alcohol or anything else. But I know it’s hard to think about food, training and drinking enough water when you’re busy. Consistency is also key, if you train every week you’ll start to see results but as soon as you take a week off you’ll feel it straight away. For most people it’s hard to find balance in life but it’s important to try. If people are thinking about joining my class I would tell them that it’s going to be hard to keep up for the first time but try not to get frustrated.  I think I’m a very technical teacher so it’s difficult to get the rhythm, the flow of moving and footwork to begin with because it’s a lot of information. But I think its important people feel like they can ask for help from me or the other people in the class and not be scared to ask questions.

If you feel like learning from a true fighter, you can join Gayan for boxing and kickboxing lessons at Sportcentrum Pleizier. Check the schedule, reserve your spot and fight like a pro!

Written by Laura Court-Jones

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