Stockport’s brightest sports instructors reach national fitness final


A trio of dedicated fitness experts from Stockport have reached the final of national competitions to find the best and most innovative fitness trainers in the country.

Ruth Lynch, who is head of health, fitness and communities at Life Leisure in Stockport, has been shortlisted for the ‘Outstanding Individual of the Year’ at the UK Active Training Awards for her commitment to learning and development across the service’s 13 facilities.

And Kath Hinsley-Jones and Harry Charnock, who are newly qualified fitness instructors at Life Leisure, have reached the finals of the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer Competition, which recognises outstanding students and apprentices across the UK.

It’s exciting news for 45-year-old Kath, and Harry, 20, who have recently completed their Level three Certificate in Personal Training at Trafford College and are among just eight competitors to reach the final.

Kath, who worked as a hairdresser, cabin crew and soldier before becoming an instructor at Life Leisure at Hazel Grove, says she is thrilled to reach the final.

The mum-of-two, from Offerton, said: “I’m so happy, I never had much confidence in myself to become a gym instructor – I just thought I liked the gym – so to reach the final is a massive boost.

“I enjoy the gym and I really enjoy teaching. It’s not just about the health benefits, I want people to have fun and feel good in their own skin.”

After training to be a hairdresser as a teenager, Kath joined the Army and was among the first wave of women to train with weapons. Following five years as a radio operator with the Royal Corps of Signals in Germany, she left her job to become cabin crew with Monarch airlines where she worked for 17 years.

She then found herself signing up for a fitness qualification at Stockport College after taking voluntary redundancy. It was the right decision for Kath, who says she has found her calling.

Kath said: “The team at Life Leisure have been absolutely fantastic, they have really encouraged and supported me throughout my whole career. When my manager suggested I enter the competition I was a bit unsure, but I’m so glad I did.”

Kath and Harry, had to demonstrate a series of skills before they were chosen as finalists. They will face a new set of challenges geared towards keeping up with the ongoing changes in the fitness industry at a competition during the WorldSkills UK Live careers fair in Birmingham between November 15 - 17.

Harry, from Cheadle, said: “It’s quite a tough competition. You have to prove you have good knowledge and can deliver the right content, but I think a lot of it is about how you interact with the client. I think having a good rapport with clients really helps me do a good job – most of my friends on Facebook are members of the gym!”

Mum-of-two Ruth, who has worked in the leisure industry for 22 years, joining Life Leisure in 2013, the only female shortlisted for this very prestigious award, will attend a glittering awards ceremony at the UKActive Training Awards on Thursday, November 15.

Ruth’s nomination is in recognition of her dedication to the service. During her time in charge she has seen a 100percent increase in attendance, introduced courses to focus on improving mental health, and introduced a family timetable and fitness festival.

Laura Mylotte, Head of Marketing, from Life Leisure, said: “Ruth epitomises Life Leisure, but also the leisure industry as a whole. Her authentic and caring personality has had a positive impact on so many lives.

“We are proud of all our finalists and wish them the best of luck.”

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