We are thrilled to announce our first Student Spotlight winner for 2021, is Peter Fittock!
Peter is a Certificate III in Fitness Graduate and Certificate IV in Fitness student of ours, who has shown passion, dedication and generosity throughout his studies. We were so inspired by Peter’s incredible story and are beyond proud to have Peter as a student of ours!
LET’S GET TO KNOW PETER…
Could you tell us a bit more about your journey to becoming passionate about health & fitness?
I debated how much of my story to share because it’s so personal, even the retelling can still be painful. My hope is that in sharing my story, it will help at least one person. To help them keep going and not let depression defeat them. To help them realize change is always possible.
In 2011, my fiancée Lelianna died in a motor vehicle crash. Up to that point, I had never really envisioned my life without her. We had been together for close to a decade. She was my compass, my reason for existing, without her my life just unravelled. I became severely depressed, rejected my friends and family, developed an eating disorder, became obese and eventually lost my job. It was the most humiliating experience of my life.
After a couple of years, it finally came to the point where I knew I had to get help. I felt ashamed I had let things get this far out of hand. I was very aware of how I had hurt the people around me. I felt like I had burnt down all the bridges and had no right to ask for help. I eventually turned to my best friend Nadeem, who had been watching/monitoring my downward spiral. I’m still incredibly grateful that he was still receptive and hadn’t given up on me. He urged me to see a therapist and to start exercising. I wasn’t prepared for how intense grief counselling could be. I remember leaving one session, bawling my eyes out and thinking “I’m done with this, this is making me feel worse.” That’s when I decided to give exercise a go. It was one of the best decisions I was forced to make.
Nadeem dragged me to the local PCYC and paid for my first gym membership. I still don’t know to this day if this was some sort of strategy or it was him being the kind, generous person he is. Perhaps he knew me better than I knew myself. But whatever it was, it worked. By paying for the membership, I felt like I owed it to him to turn up and do the work. So day by day, month by month, year by year, I turned up and did the work. I lost the weight, regained some of my confidence and made lots of new friends. I finally went back and saw that therapist. This time it stuck. The therapist taught me how to fight back against my depression. She helped me develop strategies to manage my anxiety, negative thoughts and emotions. I began to learn things about myself that I didn’t know or realize.
“I had found my purpose again. I knew what I wanted to do”
However, it wasn’t until the end of 2019 that the last piece of the puzzle would fall into place. I’d been talking and thinking about studying Fitness for a while. By chance, my mum noticed an article in the local newspaper about Certificate III courses being run at Beenleigh PCYC. This might sound silly, but I was a little scared. All my talk had finally caught up with me. It was a put up or shut up moment. I wasn’t ready to give up on my dreams, so I acted. I picked up the phone. All of a sudden, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my chest. I could breathe again.
It’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. The course would reignite my passion. I remember listening to the instructor’s stories of working in the industry and thinking, “This is it. This is what I want to do.” It was truly inspiring. I remembered Lelianna, how kind and compassionate she was. How she was always giving without the thought of receiving. Always helping strangers. I remembered all the people who had gotten me this far. At this point I realized, I had not done any of this on my own. I had always been surrounded by people who loved and cared for me. People who had helped me when I was down.
I had found my purpose again. I knew what I wanted to do. If I was going to do something for the rest of my life then it would have to involve helping people. Being the first person to extend their hand in friendship. Helping people become the best versions of themselves. This would be something Lelianna would be proud of. Something I could be proud of. This would not be a waste of my life.
How has getting fit and being involved in the fitness industry had a positive impact on your life?
I no longer take my health and fitness for granted. By learning about nutrition and exercise, I was able to lose around 50kg and keep the weight off. My outlook on life changed, I regained my confidence and became more optimistic and happier. I felt like this great big weight had been taken off my chest and I could breathe again.
You see having good health gives you the energy and vitality to experience life to its fullest. This in turn allows you to give more energy to those you love. It brought purpose back into my life. I grew passionate about health and fitness. I found myself wanting to help people like myself. To be around people who shared the same passion. There is something truly inspiring about people that have a purpose. Trying to be the best version of themselves. It’s the best feeling in the world. Today, I count myself very fortunate. The people I now call friends, I met them all on this journey.
What appealed to you the most about becoming a Personal Trainer?
Helping people who are struggling with their body image. No matter our age, weight or level of confidence, we all struggle with body image at some point. No matter where we are in life, we are all worthy of respect and are worth far more than our physical appearance.
Personal Trainers have the opportunity to make a real difference in the health and lifestyle of their clients. Honestly, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Getting to do that every day? Yeah, that’s something that gets me out of bed early.
What are your career goals for when you’ve graduated from your Certificate IV in Fitness?
To run a successful personal training business. To learn and grow myself and my business. To provide quality services to people who need help in achieving their dreams. To motivate and inspire people daily. To give back to the industry that has given me so much.
How have you enjoyed your studies so far?
I’ve always worried about how I would take to studying so long after leaving school. I pretty much failed high school. So I was pretty hesitant to try online study and the VR Classroom. I’m glad I did, it ended up being a fantastic experience. Being able to see what we were learning about in real-time through immersive media presentations blew me away. Most of my lessons were one on one. Being able to ask questions without the fear of looking stupid. I can see why people believe that VR is the future of education, it won me over.
What have you found most challenging about your studies?
Haha. That’s easy! The research project from the Motivational Psychology module. I struggled a lot during high school and never developed the skills to write an essay properly. Learning to write an essay two decades later, well, it was like learning from scratch. I remember watching numerous videos on Youtube and thinking to myself, “What have I gotten myself into. Time to sink or swim” It took a lot of work. But in the end, that’s all it was – work. Line by line, paragraph by paragraph, till it was done. I remember hesitating when I finally submitted the essay. I hovered over that button for what felt like an eternity. It was kinda unreal. This thing had taken over a month of my life. I wanted it to be the very best I could produce. Maybe it wasn’t sexy, it certainly wasn’t quick but in the end it’s something I’m immensely proud of.
What have you enjoyed the most?
So this might sound crazy but the thing I found most challenging is actually what I enjoyed the most. The Motivational Psychology module blew me away. Learning about all the motivational theories used in everyday life and sports performance. How we could develop strategies and tools to help influence behaviour change. I found myself wanting to constantly know more. I spent parts of my day searching the internet, reading about different theories and investigating research studies. I renewed my library card just to borrow out books on the subject. It was here I found a book titled “Self-Determination and Intrinsic Motivation in Human Behavior” by Edward L. Deci and Richard Ryan. It struck a chord, I couldn’t put it down. The theory suggests that people are motivated to grow and change only when their basic psychological needs are met. It placed value on understanding the type of motivation rather than the amount. That the type of motivation was responsible for autonomous behaviour and would promote long term adherence. This was what I was looking for, I don’t think I’ve stopped talking about it since. HaHa.
What study habits/tips could you share with someone considering or just getting started with their studies with us?
- Start your day early and on a positive note. Write down goals you want to achieve that day, that week, that month. Give them deadlines. Stick it on the fridge. Stick it on the toilet door. Review it every day. Remember why you started, what you are doing it for.
- Remember to talk to your support network daily. Discuss what you are doing and why you are doing it. Get them to share in your dream. If you have a family, ask them to shoulder a little more of the burden while you complete your studies. Investing in proper time management can save you a lot of headaches later.
- Find a nice quiet room to study in. Throw out all distractions eg. smartphone, television, pets, friends and family members 🙂
- Take notes, it will make it a lot easier to absorb the information. Use a marker to highlight critical information, this will make reviewing more time-efficient.
- Take breaks to eat, drink, exercise, spend time with friends and family. Remember, studying is about finding a balance. Your physical and mental health are also important.
- Reward yourself when you accomplish your goals. Doesn’t have to be food. It could be two chapters of your favourite book or 30 mins of your favourite show. The point is to find a reward that is small but real. By adopting this behaviour you are teaching yourself discipline.
- Prepare questions in advance of the next lesson. This will make it easier when tackling assessments. I found there was always ample time to ask questions at the end of every VR lesson.
- If you are unsure, feeling overwhelmed or have questions, pick up the phone. Talk to the instructors, they are there to help you. Everything will become less confusing and more clear once you start talking it through.
- Go to bed early. Get at least 8-10 hours of quality sleep. Remember to set your alarm:)
HERE’S WHAT THE ONFIT TEAM HAVE TO SAY ABOUT PETER…
“Peter is an extremely eager student with a willingness to not only learn everything he can from within the Cert III and IV in Fitness, but also many other aspects of the fitness industry outside of what is covered at the Cert III/IV level. We have had many a conversation around research articles which he has come across which are above and beyond a Cert IV in Fitness, this eagerness to learn and expand his knowledge will help with setting himself apart in the Fitness Industry and creating the best possible outcomes for his clients. He has a great ability to build rapport with people quickly which is great to see and will be a big asset when working with new clients, this coupled with his level of knowledge and skill will serve him well in developing a long and successful career in the fitness industry.”
– Rob Gardener (Education Manager)
“Peter’s enthusiasm for the fitness industry and passion to become a world class personal trainer are some of the qualities that shine through every time I have an opportunity to work with him. Whether it was within the VR classroom, or at some of the practical days run from Milton, Peter always came with an eagerness to learn and enthusiasm to match. We have had many great conversations around not only his Cert III and IV studies, but also the fitness industry in general and what has always been evident is Peter’s desire to always learn more, and become the best trainer that he can. His dedications to his studies, and motivation to always know more will ensure that he has a long and successful career in the fitness industry”
– Jeff Cook