Introducing personal trainer and Weleda Arnica Ambassador Saima Husain
Weleda Arnica Ambassador Saima Husain is a personal trainer and mum of 3 from Kingston upon Thames, who feels strongly about the mental health benefits of fitness and has worked with the charity Mind. Also passionate about helping others gain confidence and discover new abilities, Saima works with all abilities within the fitness industry, and loves running, being outdoors, being adventurous, and taking on new challenges. Whether teaching one to one, group classes, or warming up races at Tough Mudder, high motivation and upbeat energy is key.
What drew you to becoming a personal trainer?
I became a PT coach about 7 or 8 years ago. I’ve always enjoyed sports since junior school and I loved how sport always brought people together and it was challenging but fun. Even as an adult, and even with a competitive side to sport, at the end of the day you’re still having fun. At the same time you get to meet lots of amazing like-minded people, and you’re there to help them through their journey to fitness, which is a wonderful tool to help with mental wellbeing and physical health. Everyone I have worked with has also taught me lots of things about life in general and it’s a lovely job to have.
What temperament is ideal for a fitness coach?
It’s really important to be empathetic and a good listener, and to really try and learn to listen to your clients, and understand what they are going through and why they have come to you for their fitness goals. With a lot of the clients that I have, it’s usually because they want to build their confidence, because of insecurities, or to help their mental wellbeing. It’s about finding a safe space and a safe person they can communicate with and trust to help them along their journey. So being empathetic, kind and caring is highly important.
Were you sporty as a child?
Yes, I wasn’t part of any athletic clubs but I was sporty and I opted to join the netball, football, rounders and hockey teams, even Irish dancing, whatever I could get into through school. Because growing up I lived in a strict household and I wasn’t allowed to go out to play with my friends, so sport at school was an opportunity for me to socialise doing a form of activity with friends that I couldn’t do outside of school. My family are just not sporty at all, probably because being South Asian we don’t often participate in things like running and weight lifting. Growing up I never really saw many South Asians competing in the Olympics for example, so there weren’t many role models.
Do you enjoy competing in events?
Yes and no, it really depends! I want to challenge myself and compete, but when there’s not a lot of diversity it can be very hard. The running community, which I’ve got back into again, is completely different. In other sports you’re competing against one another, whereas when you’re running you’re doing it for yourself or running together with someone, so the competition is not really there. If the focus is strong and you persevere, it’s all good.
Do you have a favourite form of exercise?
I enjoy both weight training and running. Firstly running helps me clear my head and it gives me a different sense of relief and a different release of endorphins to weight training. Running is more like therapy because I have time to think. Whereas weight training is also calming to the mind but it helps me work on my anxiety in the sense that I need to break things down in my head and pay attention to what I am doing: where are my feet placed, have I braced my core, have I held the barbell correctly and so on. There’s a lot more thought process which is great because it helps block out the outside ‘noise’.
What are the particular pressures of being a personal trainer?
Sometimes people assume that you’ve got to look a certain way to be a PT coach, especially if you’re working in an environment where there are lots of other coaches who might be very muscular or athletic, or really quick when they train, so that can feel pressurising. If you’re self-employed there’s also the pressure of running the business by yourself, and potentially it can be a bit of a lonely job especially if you work odd hours, waking up at 5am or working in the evening, and then having a gap in the middle of the day.
What are your goals for both the immediate and long term future?
Physically and mentally I want to ensure I can maintain my training, my weight lifting and running, and use my fitness as a tool for my wellbeing. Because I love what my body can do – it can achieve a lot, if it can get me through a 5k and a 10k run and a half marathon maybe it can get me through a full marathon! I love working with people so I want to continue working with them through coaching.
Are you prone to any particular injuries?
About 8 months ago I picked up shin splints when I had just started training for my half marathon, so it was a real struggle for me because I am on my feet every day as well, and sometimes I have to demo when teaching clients or classes, so I found that quite challenging. I had to stop running, which then put pressure on how I was going to build my endurance.
Are you interested in holistic health?
I’m a big advocate of using resources holistically, together with a balanced diet to support gut health for example. I’ve been using Weleda’s Digestive Relief Spray which works superbly. For me, because I’m running a lot and training, I need to ensure I eat certain foods and a certain amount of foods, and keep on top of my nutrition, and having the Digestive Relief Spray has been a big help to me.
What lifestyle changes (or products) have helped you to stay fit in your 40s, to keep doing what you love doing?
Moving - any form of movement - is great, whether it’s running, weight lifting, cycling, swimming, yoga, anything that gets your body going to release those lovely happy hormones, even just going for a Sunday walk and the sun’s shining, you instantly feel good. Running and strength training have definitely helped me because it’s making me work harder. As a woman I want my bones and my muscles to be really healthy because further down the line I will have the menopause at some point.
Do you have a favourite Weleda product?
I really love the Arnica Massage Balm! I feel absolutely brand new once I’ve used it and it’s just a really nice way massage my legs and really get into my calves - the pain from my shin splints comes and goes, but the Massage Balm is definitely helping. The Muscular Pain Relief Oral Spray is great to take away on holiday, but my favourite is the Arnica Massage Balm because the pain instantly goes away, it’s soothing, it’s healing, it feels nice and warm, and it just works a treat!
Best holiday ever?
A trip to Bari (Italy)
Current top music track?
Acoustic Arabic music
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. That applies to yourself too, and your body.
Bath or shower?
I love both, but I tend to have showers more.
Just being with my kids, something simple, maybe going to a new coffee shop and having a pastry.
Pizza! Homemade pizza, which I make every Friday.