American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise
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International Women's Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. 

IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.  

Creating and supporting growth opportunities for women in the fitness industry is more important than ever. According to a recent report analyzing U.S. Census data, women make up 58% of the recreation and fitness workforce, but only earn 86 cents to every dollar earned by men in the same occupation.   

Globally, women only make up 29% of senior leadership positions (e.g., CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, CMO). In a sector in which women outpace men in health club memberships consumption, women should be equally represented to acknowledge and celebrate their contributions to the industry. 

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, and in support of women’s equality in the fitness industry, ACE was honored to interview two of our international partner organizations led by women.

 

Della Vorshuk 

ACE Partner: Infofit Educators 

  1. ACE: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in health and fitness. Smiling blonde woman wearing a white sleeveless collared shirt stands in front of a red background.

Della Vorshuk (DV): After years of working in the food and beverage industry managing large venues in Vancouver, Canada, I decided that I needed to have a career that was healthy. I wanted to be happy and fulfilled going to work every day. I wanted to be surrounded by like-minded people and spend my days doing things to improve the quality and happiness in people’s lives. I began my fitness career with Infofit in 2008 and have never looked back.  

  1. ACE: How do your work and the work of your organization fulfill our joint mission of Getting People Moving? 

DV: In combination with ACE’s approach of getting people moving through certified health and exercise professionals, Infofit also works to provide education, guidance, support, resources, skills, and training to inspire our students to lead healthy, active lives and for some, become personal trainers. 

  1. ACE: The fitness industry is always evolving. What are your hopes for future women who may enter the field?  

DV: I am delighted to see more and more women becoming certified personal trainers. Of all our certified graduates, approximately 50% are women. Many of these women go on to create businesses of their own, where they empower other women to be healthy and fit and gain balance in their lives.  

These women are excellent role models for other women. They help remove some of the stereotypes of what a woman should be and look like.  

My hope is for more women to get involved in health and fitness and continue to be positive role models for future generations, as well as create a new narrative of a healthy, realistic and empowered self-image. 

 

Name: Simona Pajaujiene, Ph.D. 

ACE Partner: Lithuanian Sports University / Active Training  

  1. ACE: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in health and fitness.  

Simona Pajaujiene (SP): I am an Associate Professor at the Lithuanian Sports University and a co-founder and program director of vocational training school ActiveTraining where we deliver courses related to health-enhancing physical activity and personal training. Additionally, I was a member of EuropeActive’s (Brussels) Professionals Standards committee (2014-2019) and participated in several technical expert groups for creating European standards.

Thanks to my parents, I have been in sports since childhood, and I love an active lifestyle. I have never been a supporter of one trend. Instead, I try to see the whole picture of sport and seek the best combination of fitness options based on health and age-related needs. I realized early on during my sports studies about the importance of viewing the training process broadly and opening the world of movement to people who do not like sports. My generation were pioneers in the health and fitness world in post-soviet times. After Lithuania joined the EU, we could easier access information, methodologies, and trends of what was necessary for the expansion and dissemination of the health and fitness sector. We did a lot of homework to catch up with other Western countries so we could provide a high level of service in Lithuania.  

  1. ACE: How does your work/the work of your organization fulfill our joint mission of Getting People Moving? 

SP: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela.  

Like ACE, I believe exercise professionals should not only be well educated and experienced, but they constantly must also be able to participate in lifelong learning processes. We are facing a global problem of a modern, sedentary lifestyle; we are facing the pandemic of inactivity. Every exercise professional can help others change their lifestyle, lead them through the training process and help them achieve their goals. I also believe we can break stereotypes, create a better fitness culture and promote active living.  

  1. ACE: The fitness industry is always evolving. What are your hopes for future women who may enter the field?   

SP: Fortunately, the fitness industry is vibrant and evolving. Let's keep growing together, let's share our mission with more people and let's help people experience this FLOW in 2022! Who else, if not us, WOMEN, could better inspire, bring together, encourage and be a role model with an active lifestyle? Let’s be free, let’s be ourselves — exceptional and simple, healthy and muscular, childlike and mature, energetic and calm.  

Fitness is about EDUCATION for a healthier lifestyle and life quality. KNOWLEDGE is powerful, not body image. Fitness has stronger advantages: a healthy mind, a functional body, and a positive attitude. Mastery comes from learning and experiencing. And this is what we have been doing for the past decade, to be able to develop simple, practical, efficient training methods, that bring results for both clients and trainers. I hope for more women engaged in active lifestyles. Women-trainers, women-entrepreneurs, women employers are the guarantor of a more colorful, flexible and peaceful health and fitness industry!   

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