AS A youth, Mr Lutfi Zainal Abidin suffered from weight issues, leading to low self-esteem. He then resolved to address the problem, and become active and healthy.
Today, the 29-year-old is a sports champion with ActiveSG, where he walks the talk of the organisation’s ethos of living better through sport.
“Through sports and exercise, I discovered the ability to create a change in myself not only physically, but also mentally,” says Mr Lutfi.
“I found a passion to share it with others. A career in sports gives me the opportunity to be the catalyst to inspire and motivate others in their journey.”
His job responsibilities include managing the ActiveSG gym at Bedok Sports Centre where he is a source of motivation to the members and his colleagues.
“I get to meet and interact with many individuals looking to improve themselves. They motivate me as much as I motivate them,” he says.
Engaging active seniors
Mr Lutfi also plans and conducts weekly exercise programmes, and is part of ActiveSG’s Seniors Taskforce, where he engages senior citizens to become active through sports and exercise.
Last year, Mr Lutfi started a swimming pool group exercise assessclass at Bedok Swimming Complex for seniors.
At first, only three participants showed up. But it has since grown to a group of 30 seniors who come from all over Singapore to exercise with him.
“These folks come in regularly every week, sharing with me how the class and exercises have helped them so much,” he says.
One participant was a recovering stroke patient who was dependent on a walking stick. Thanks in part to the regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle, he can now walk independently.
Mr Lutfi, who has been with ActiveSG for four-and-a-half years, has built up his knowledge and experience in the sports industry for over a decade.
He has previously worked in private gyms as a certified fitness instructor and has a diploma in sports and exercise science from the United States Sports Academy.
To continue improving his know-how, he attends courses and workshops on health-related topics such as training older adults, so that he can become a better personal trainer and nutritionist.
More recently, ActiveSG sent Mr Lutfi on a study trip to Finland to learn how Finnish seniors remain fit and healthy.
He is now preparing to put the knowledge he has gained into action by launching an assessment and training programme for seniors.
“Constantly striving to learn new things and upgrade is important in the sports and fitness industry as there are always new training methods, new research and changing concepts. We need to keep up with emerging trends to remain relevant,” he says.
Being a change-maker
Beyond his regular duties, Mr Lutfi is currently assisting the ActiveSG teams at Our Tampines Hub and Heartbeat@Bedok to design their new gyms’ layout and procure the equipment.
Despite having to work weekends and evenings often as that is when most people work out at the gym, he remains motivated and encourages those interested in fitness to join the industry.
His efforts pay off when he is able to change the lives of others for the better and witness their improvements. And all the hard work is worthwhile when they show their appreciation, he says.
Adds Mr Lutfi: “Our industry is growing and we need more motivated, passionate people to drive the active lifestyle movement.
“With more and more people realising the importance of health and fitness, there are ample opportunities for those working in the sports industry.”