What does a 'normal' day look like?
Together with floor instructors Skin Lusu and Bulelani Mlakalaka, as well as receptionists Richard Langley, Ashanti Mguga and Maureen Pietersen, Thomas' job is basically to keep the members of the UCT Fitness Centre fit and happy. It's all about ensuring that the 2,000 daily visitors, mainly students, to the centre train in a conducive environment. This means the squash courts, the volley ball court, the climbing wall, the pool, the gym and bathrooms are always tidy and the equipment is functioning. Although they are not personal trainers, the staff must help members to use the fitness machines properly.
What are the challenges of the job?
As expected, dealing with a mainly student clientele has its own challenges. For instance, there are those who would rock up at the centre without membership cards and expect to be allowed entry. Some would come dressed in attire not suitable for a gym, but still insist on working out. Others would complain about the music. If aerobics instructors, who are mainly students, don't turn up for lessons, members often take out their frustrations on the staff. "We get a lot of curve balls from students," Thomas says. "But it's nothing we can't handle."
What are the highs of the job?
Thomas says he is passionate about fitness and sharing what he knows. Nothing makes him happier than witnessing members benefit from his wealth of fitness knowledge.
And the lows?
That will always be those who don't achieve their goals, be it losing weight or getting fit, often due to a variety of reasons, including eating habits. It also can be hurtful for Thomas and his colleagues when gymgoers become difficult for no good reason. And, occasionally, students get injured.
Any weird moments?
These come aplenty. The weirdest of them all was when a group of about 50 drunken students from the trolley race stormed the facility. They did all sorts of nasty things, from vomiting around and painting the facility to throwing eggs and taking off their clothes to jump into the pool.
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