By Kevin Hirose – BHK, CSCS
Until now, it has always been just Victor and I coaching at Apex the Gym (Apex Strength & Conditioning Inc). But we knew at some point we would have to hire staff, especially when we became busier and needed someone to cover vacations and such. Enter Karen Tam…
Karen has been training at APEX since early 2016 and was officially hired by APEX as an assistant coach in late April. A bit of background on her: she has been personal training at various community centres in Richmond for the past few years. Having led a sedentary lifestyle for most of her life, Karen struggled to kickstart her own fitness journey, but through proper coaching, she fell in love with strength training. Inspired by her positive experiences with fitness coaching, Karen is now dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of strength training and fitness to those who are interested in starting, but are feeling unsure, or intimidated in doing so and has worked with a diverse clientele but takes a particular interest in novices and older adults.
We could see the growth of Apex would lead us to the point of hiring staff quicker than we first anticipated, so we decided late last year to start thinking about hiring someone, the process of training staff and possibly hiring an assistant coach by the spring. We first looked at our clientele, especially those who were currently or aspiring trainers and Karen was the one that stood out because of her background in personal training, her positive energy and eagerness to learn. During this time we had decided to develop an Apex Mentorship Program (coming this summer) for current or aspiring trainers/coaches and thought it would make sense to have Karen Tam do the Mentorship Program. So for approximately 3 months Karen did a “test run” of the program and, at the same time, train her for potential employment, which included shadowing sessions, 1:1 mentoring sessions and off-site assignments (homework). She did very well and asked very good questions that indicated strong critical thinking. I knew she would be ready if and when the time came; I am proud of the progress she has made but there is still much for her to learn, as for all coaches/trainers. In addition, her exercise technique has gone to another level and her strength has become impressive; her deadlift is over 1.5 times her bodyweight and she accomplished 10 pull-ups last summer.
Please welcome Karen Tam, Assistant Coach, to the APEX team!