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Sun 15 Nov 2009 04:00 AM

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Fitness first

The Hotelier Middle East Awards Fitness and Recreation Person of the Year accolade went to fitness instructor Luminita Stoican.

Fitness first
Luminita Stoican won the Fitness and Recreation Person of the Year at the Hotelier Middle East Awards 2009.

The Hotelier Middle East Awards Fitness and Recreation Person of the Year accolade went to fitness instructor Luminita Stoican.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel fitness instructor Luminita Stoican was nominated by colleagues for her "passion, integrity and meticulous attention to detail", while the judges were impressed by Stoican's ability to bring about significant improvements in guests' and members' health.

The judges praised the former nurse's impressive list of fitness qualifications and singled out the high demand Stoican experiences for her personal training sessions. Here, Stoican speaks to Leisure Manager about her career and the region's robust fitness industry.

You beat an impressive shortlist of candidates; why do you think this year's award went to a fitness person rather than a recreation person?

In the past people went on vacation to relax and get away from it all. The focus is shifting towards looking after your health and getting your energy back. Where recreation is about having fun, fitness is a more personal pursuit and the person who guides you through your fitness routine is integral to the progress you make. I believe that making your workout a habit is more important to everyone at this time.

Having qualified as a nurse, did you find entering the hospitality industry as a fitness instructor was a natural progression?

When I received my nursing qualification it was a very difficult time in my country so I had to find an alternative direction.

I had been a gymnast from the age of six and was always been interested in fitness, so it was a very natural direction for me to go in and I have never regretted the opportunity that was presented. I am currently very happy working in the fitness field.

How were your nursing skills transferable to your new fitness role?

Both professions relate to the human body - what I learned as a nurse gave me an added insight into muscles and the way the body functions.

You have achieved a long list of fitness qualifications; were these gained in the Middle East?

Yes, I have been in the region for seven years and all of my fitness qualifications were gained here.

What is your impression of the training available for people in the fitness industry in the Middle East? How can this be improved?

The fitness industry in the Middle East is booming and the standards are really high. We have the latest and best equipment available and demand is still strong. The time that has been invested by companies to train their fitness professionals has even increased because of that.

How do you ensure you deliver a consistently-high level of guest service?

I always try to provide a personalised service. Before my first session with a person I will arrange to meet with them for one hour, in which time we will map their health, fitness and medical history. I listen and assess their personality as each person has their own motivating factors.

It is very important for me to know what motivates them, what their goals are and the amount of time they have available to train.

How has the financial downturn affected your role at the hotel and how have you responded to new challenges?

Surprisingly we haven't felt a drop in attendance numbers; people are still training - probably even more so now.

The current situation has placed a great deal of pressure on the general population.

It is understood that a good workout is a great way to relieve stress and to clear your mind; I think people value that.

You were commended for your innovative thinking . What innovative campaigns or initiatives have you imposed in your role?

They say diamonds are formed under pressure and I believe that people express their true potential when challenged or put under pressure. That is why I always look for a challenge and enjoy it so much.

I watch, I preach and I do. I strive to set an example and I put everything into it.

You have to love what you do, people feel that and are drawn to it - innovation flows naturally from that because you are focussed on personal and professional growth. One of the best examples I have of this is how I encourage people to get back into a routine after our long summers. It is always challenging for people to work up the motivation to start training again when they come back from a long relaxing holiday.

I like to send them a personalised message, welcoming them back and asking about their vacation. Most are so surprised and delighted at the personal touch and the consideration, that they call me straight away to make an appointment!

What is your ambition?

I am not planning on a career change anytime soon. I would like to stay and grow with Jumeirah as they have given me the most incredible support. I would like to be more involved with inspiring, training and motivation the staff around me.

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