share

Challenging Jewish Stereotypes, One Client at a Time

by
featured yoel

Gus Condeixa interviews personal trainer Yoel Levy, ‘The Jewish Fitness Coach’. Yoel is a 21-year-old Personal trainer / online coach. From running the London Marathon at just 18, Yoel is on a mission to help other Jewish people achieve their fitness goals whilst enjoying a Friday Night Dinner!

Your insta handle is thejewishftinesscoach. Have you ever had any cases of antisemitism, online harassment or similar due to your openness about your origins?

I have been very fortunate that I have not experienced anything like this as not of yet. However, it is very normal unfortunately to get some rude comments when you gain a following as not everyone will agree with your beliefs. I am sure that as my venture and online presence grow, there will be comments.

How does your Judaism play a part in your profession?

I first started working with the general population. However, I felt I wanted to provide a more unique service to my clients. So I decided to become a Jewish fitness coach so I focus on helping Jewish people achieve their fitness goals. In Judaism, traditions will never change, it is most likely you will be having a Friday Night Meal with a lot of food around the table every week. So from my experience, I can teach and educate my clients so that they can still enjoy their Friday Night Dinners without feeling guilty. One of the major reasons why I wanted to focus on my niche was understanding and relatability towards my clients.

Being Jewish, I understand that Friday Night Dinner can have the same amount of calories as a Christmas Meal or Thanksgiving meal. I want all my clients to enjoy their Friday Night Dinner as you can not change tradition. FND is my favourite meal of the week but I focus on portion sizes. So I have factors in these considerations when working with a client. You could have the best training program in the world but you will see no difference in your physique if you nutritional habits do not change.

Would you ever take CHALLAH out from your Friday Night Dinner because it is full of CARBS? I hope not! A calorie is a unit of energy! The only reason people gain weight is because they are using consuming energy then they are burning.

Recovery and resting is a huge aspect of progress when trying to achieve your fitness goal. When trying to build muscle, the growing part actually occurs when we rest. So my rest days join in with Shabbat which is lovely.

There are stereotypes of Jews as being weak and nonathletic. How do you deal with that perception?

I think the standard of the Maccabi Games is improving each year. More people are getting involved in Sunday league football. However, I think there is a need to encourage and find more people active during the week. We all live different lives in different environments, so we have to find ways such as joining a walking group, signing up to a gym or getting involved in social sporting activities.

Do you feel the community needs a healthier lifestyle in general?

I think the major problem with anyone, not just Jewish people but everyone, is being inactive. For someone who is overweight, it may take a long time to see a major change but because being active, staying consistent is a brilliant way to start! It is very hard to define healthy today so going by the government guidance, everyone should be doing around 150 minutes of activity each week. So I feel there can always be improvements in everyone’s community but we will need to go step by step and do the basics.

I want to create a venture called the Kosher Run which is the Jewish ParkRun which will help get families being active on a Sunday morning!

What are your goals for the future?

Wanting to grow my Jewish Coaching Venture with clients monthly helping Jewish people across the globe. We already have clients from the UK, US and Australia so it is taking small steps.

Favourite Jewish treat:

Latkes!

Why did you get into fitness? Did you have an athletic background?

It all started in high school. Being severely dyseixic, I really struggled in the classroom despite trying my best in every single subject. One of things which helped release my stress was working out at home before or after school. A lot of the workouts I was doing were either HIIT training or Running. One thing led to another and I was the one of youngest to run the London Marathon in 2017 being 18 year 3 weeks old. I did not come from an athletic background but Physical Education was one of my strong subjects at school.

What is it you enjoy most about being a personal trainer?

Seeing clients overcome their own challenges. Every client has their own internal and external factors in their lives which can affect them achieving their goal. So creating a plan and working closely with a client with a step by step plan helps us achieve that goal! I really enjoy celebrating those wins. I actually never planned to be a PT, I graduated with a first class honours in accounting but I loved helping other people achieve their fitness goals  so I decided to invest in myself to study during my third year at university to become a Level 3 NASM PT.

And what’s the toughest aspect of your job?

I do not think there is a toughest aspect to my job, I feel every job comes with responsibilities and when challenges and problems arise, you have to deal with them the best way you can. Personal Trainers have adapted to online coaching which a lot of clients now prefer. 

In these COVID19 times, what, other than the lack of physical presence, is the biggest challenge you face as a PT?

Before the pandemic, what were the top 3 things that annoyed you at the gym?

  1. Lack of hygiene options at the gym ( I am sure highest quality standard for hygiene will be implemented in every gym)
  2. People leaving the weights across the room
  3. Anyone who discourages anyone else for taking action and doing a workout

How do you find the world of fitness+sports sponsorships? Do you have or had any? 

A lot of influencers have made over 6 / 7 figures from just sponsorship which is great. However, we are seeing more influencers sponsor products which are unethical or can affect someone’s mental health. So I expect every influencer to do their due diligence because accepting any deals. I have not been sponsored by a company but if any Kosher Food owners reading this, send me a message 🙂 

What’s in your supplement cupboard at the moment? // Do you believe supplements are beneficial? 

Before anyone takes supplements to improve their performance. Ask yourself, ‘Are you drinking enough water daily? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you achieving your daily protein intake? Are you getting your daily steps in? These factors will make a bigger difference than any supplement would. So do the basics first. I have whey protein which I have protein oats or a protein shake daily which helps me achieve my daily protein intake. 

How do you work with your clients to help them achieve their physique goals?

After working closely with the client, I want each client to build a stronger relationship with foods so they can have a flexible diet whilst enjoying their favourite foods. I also aim to buld confidence in each of my clients by achieving their fitness goals by providing a bespoke training and nutritional advice to their needs. We do not just focus on training, we focus on lifestyle and how we can make small changes which not only help them achieve their physique goal but give them more energy in their work and family life. 

Being jewish, I understand that Friday Night Dinner can have the same amount of calories as a Christmas Meal or Thanksgiving meal. I want all my clients to enjoy their Friday Night Dinner as you can not change tradition. FND is my favourite meal of the week but I focus on portion sizes. So I have factors in these considerations when working with a client. You could have the best training program in the world but you will see no difference in your physique if you nutritional habits do not change 

Do you incorporate any non-typical exercises?

WALKING! We as humans burn calories in 4 ways. One is called NEAT which can calculate around 10-15% of your calories burnt daily and that is from walking and your daily activity. My non-negotiable goal every day is achieve at least 7,500 steps

What does a typical week of exercise look like? How do you change up your routine, and where do you get inspiration from?

When the gyms were open, I would visit the gym 5-6 times a week for around 45 minutes per session. I have a plan and structure with each session so I know exactly what I will be doing. 

Whilst being at home, I ask myself, what type of activities or exercises do I enjoy? No point doing workouts, exercises which you will not want to do. At the beginning of lockdown, I was doing a lot of HIIT workouts (High Intensity Interval Training) which I really enjoy and in the last few months, I have focussed more on strength training. I will run 1 a week as I enjoy running but I change it up every few months to keep me engaged and motivated. 

How would you describe your philosophy on health and fitness?

My aim and vision for all my clients is that I can educate them so in the future, they do not need to hire another coach again. Over the weekend, people tend to eat more especially over Shabbat and we have to adapt during the week and focus on portion sizes at the weekend so we can still achieve our goal.

My philosophy is working 1-2-1 closely with my client making small changes for the long term goal. There is no such thing as a quick fix in fitness. The classic example is learning to drive a car, the instructor gives you all information, keeps you accountable whilst not doing any of the driving. 

Who – in the fitness industry or otherwise – inspires you?

Joe Wicks has been a huge inspiration not just for me, for the nation! At university and after, I have provided over 100 follow along workouts on my youtube page which are similar to Joe Wicks.  There are a few olympians that I follow which I have huge admiration for. 

Overall, there are many people who inspire me and take a bit of everyone to help me improve my work!

Tell me a common problem you see when beginners first start out with your program?

I think the best thing about this is that I see a beginner start! The hardest part is actually getting out and doing it. But sometimes going too fast! The lack of rest, the first few times you go to the gym, it feels amazing, you want to go again and again! The importance of resting your body is crucial! Taking a day off at the gym gives you body time to repair and grow.

Also, having an online coaching app, we have an app where the clients workout and profile is on, they do the workout, they can see a video demonstrating the movement. When anytime you try out a new app with a lot of features, it can be daunting so it is just taking every day as it comes. 

What would you advise for those who have to work from home at a frantic pace, with long hours, and then have to have family time?  

I have a little image I like to draw with my clients on our call about how we take in all internal and external factors which may affect their goal because everyone is different. It is about doing the basics, making those small changes. When you park to go shopping , it is parking further away to get your steps in or walking and talking when on the phone at work. 

I want to create a venture called the Kosher Run which is the Jewish ParkRun which will help get families being active on a Sunday morning!

To someone just getting started looking to live a healthier lifestyle and incorporate fitness, what would your advice to them be?  

Instead of just focussing on weight loss or muscle gain, focus on feeling stronger, feeling healthier, feeling fitter! Hire a coach! The accountability and guidance from a coach is so important. 

There are fads like Keto, and others. What, in your opinion, is the best fad that suits-all and is actually beneficial?

I actually really like cross fit (so maybe I will just talk about other fad diets)

There are various fad diets which I believe are not sustainable. Our work will be affected by our fitness and nutrition goals. If we are on a fad diet, you may lack a lot of energy to help you with your work goals, to help have all the energy to spend time with your family. In life, we want happinesses, I see a lot of people keep going in circles and circles when on one of these diets. If you hire a coach for a few months, you will learn more about fitness and nutrition then you ever have. 

What kind of myths/broscience do you hear banded around the gym or the web that really make you cringe?

‘CARBS MAKE YOU FAT’. Would you ever take CHALLAH out from your Friday Night Dinner because it is full of CARBS? I hope not! A calorie is a unit of energy! The only reason people gain weight is because they are using consuming energy then they are burning. 

What are your picks for the following perfect meals?

Breakfast: Protein Oats (Whey Protein, Oats)

Lunch: Tuna Salad 

Pre-workout: Eggs, Eggs whites on rice crackers. 

Post-workout: Post workout protein shake 

Dinner: Friday Night Dinner 

Snacks: Fruit

Any cheat meals in there?

Unpopular comment, ‘There is no such thing as cheat meals. It is just called a MEAL. You just have to adapt the calories and factor in the calories on the other days of the week. If you are still in a calorie deficit, you will lose weight! Last week, I had a pizza and every weekend, I have popcorn. One of the big reasons you hire a coach because you learn all this different information so you have the foods you want whilst on target achieving your goal without feeling guilty!

What do you put on your Spotify to psych yourself up?

Honestly, you put anything on for me from classical, rock and roll and I will still have a great workout!

What do you do to relax/have fun?

I love going on walks with my family. 

What are your goals for the future?

Wanting to grow my Jewish Coaching Venture with clients monthly helping Jewish people across the globe. We already have clients from the UK, US and AUS so it is taking small steps. I have another venture which is called I Challenge Myself which sets virtual running, cycling step challenges and we currently having challengers across 40 different countries so i am hoping to scale this venture in the next year

Where can we find you?

Instagram – www.instagram.com/thejewishfitnesscoach/

LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/yoel-levy-53b89215b/

If you want to do some home workouts with no equipment, i have over 80 home workouts for all fitness abilities on my Youtube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCj65z5MQJbCBZS3iIEm78PQ

Categories:

Gus Condeixa is the Creative Director of The Jewish Chronicle and former Creative Director of the Jewish Quarterly and Chiado Editora. Captain of a pirate ship. He is also an artist working with video and installation. Retired goalkeeper for Alexandra Park FC and Crouch End Vampires FC. Before Covid, part-time Muay Thai fighter and MMA enthusiast.
5 1 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
JewThink
Close Cookmode
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x