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Coach Spotlight: Maria Chia

by | Dec 4, 2023 | Trainers

We got a big influx of new friends recently, so we’ll be introducing them to you one by one over the coming months! Some of them have been here for quite a while and you’ve probably seen them around or even trained with them in class. They’ve all brought a fresh new feel to what we do at Level, and we’re very thankful for them.

This month, we talk to Maria, a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst who’s been teaching classes at Level for the better part of 2023, and find out more about what makes her smile.

Hello! You’ve been here for a season now, but perhaps there are some who haven’t met you yet. Tell us about yourself, and maybe what has changed across your time at Level.

Hi! I’m Maria, I’m an immensely curious person, hungry to experience (most) things life has to offer. I talk way too much, way too fast, and usually struggle with post conversation overthinking. Being taller/bigger than the average girl, I used to be conscious about my body and how fitness would further emphasise that. In the past few months at Level, I’m been fortunate to be surrounded by strong men and women that are unapologetically strong and confident in not just their strength but their craft as well. Through each interaction and encouragement from all the coaches, I have learnt so much and I’ve come to be kinder and more accepting of myself and my body.

How has your life and the experience as a coach thus far led you to believe in what you do about fitness today?

By serendipitous good luck, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be in industries where I’m teaching, helping, and constantly learning as well. Having tried just about every single sport I could get access to while I was growing up, youth and naïveté shielded me from the horrors of injury. However, as age slowly creeps, I’ve become more aware of myself and of other people around me feeling aches and pains because of exercise – be it due to poor form or technique. Because of this, I’ve been hyper aware (to the point of obsession) of form and teaching people the skills to perform the exercises in class.

What do you like to do outside the gym?

Hanging out with friends, trying out new recipes with my husband (I’m the taste tester), and exploring fun things to do with my dog, Koda Bear!

How would you like to chart your journey in the next 3-5 years? What are things you are aiming to do and are striving toward?

I’m aiming to focus more on pre and post natal fitness, and also learning about rehab exercises that help to relieve musculoskeletal related pains and injury. As a board certified behaviour analyst by day, I’m hoping to open my own practice one day!

What do you think are three big ways that people are misinformed or miseducated about fitness?

1/ “If you don’t feel sore the day after, you didn’t work out hard enough”. This phrase surrounded me as a teen and followed me through to adulthood. Each workout I did had to be a tough workout – leaving me burnt out, in pain and just not enjoying fitness. Pain and soreness should not be used to measure whether you’ve had an effective workout. Pushing through workouts while you’re in pain could worsen any muscle tissue tears, resulting in more serious injury.

2/ Another misinformation is spot reduction. Plenty of fitness fads and workouts claim to be able to target one area of your body, such as arms, legs or abs. While they may help to build muscle, it’s unlikely that you would be able to transform that one specific area. Following a full body fitness routine can help to strengthen muscles and encourage weight loss to yield better results.

3/ Leave the weightlifting to the men. I think not! Weight training is a great way to build and strengthen muscles regardless of gender!

What are three things people don’t know about you?

I’m terrified of heights. I don’t do well in airplanes because the turbulence makes me cry. I have 3 Peranakan tile tattoos on my back to represent my Peranakan heritage.

Maria teaches these classes at Telok Ayer: Structure at 6.30pm on Mondays and Thursdays, Skill: Hinge/Push at 7.30pm on Mondays and Skill: Full Body at 7.30pm on Thursdays. You can also find her at Robinson Road teaching Skill: Full Body at 12.15pm on Thursdays. Send us an email at trial@level.com.sg to find out more and get involved!

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