“You can become anything you want at the YMCA”

Ricardas Narusis on the YMCA Club gym floor

YMCA Club Lifeguard, Ricardas Narusis, is one of our latest recruits. His inspirational journey is testament to his perseverance, hard work and patience. At 27, he’s already got seven years as an international Track and Field Athlete under his belt. Despite representing his beloved Lithuania, life was hard, so in 2011 he made the difficult decision to seek work in the UK. He worked as a porter, cook and cleaner, before training as a Lifeguard. From humble beginnings, Ricardas has never lost sight of his goals and has made the most of every opportunity. We find out more…

Q. Why did you want to work at the YMCA?

A. Before I joined the YMCA in February this year, I had friends who already worked here. I actually started working here as a Cleaner, but my friends told me that the YMCA Club needed a Lifeguard, so – with the help of the YMCA - I trained and qualified as a Lifeguard. I worked part-time at first and when a full-time position became available, I took it. My cleaning supervisor recognised it was a good opportunity for me to jump into the fitness industry. The YMCA is a famous, international organisation which everybody has heard of. There are good people working here and there are a lot of opportunities. You can become anything you want. I want to have the body of my dreams.

Q. What does your job entail?

A. I’ve been a Lifeguard now for two-and-a-half months. Day to day my work is based around the swimming pool. I make sure that people follow the rules, so that everyone enters the pool safely, swims safely and leaves safely. There have been a few collisions in the lanes, but no one has ended up in A&E on my shift! When I’m not doing pool work, I work on the gym floor.

Q. What do you love about your job?

A. I love to work with other professionals. You meet different people with different stories and goals. I’ve never regretted working for the YMCA Club. I am very happy with this opportunity. Every day I work with a smile on my face. The most important thing is to do what you love.

Q. Why and how did you first get into fitness?

A. I’ve been interested in sport since the age of 13. My Sports Teacher at school was a Track and Field Coach. He said I had potential and asked me if I wanted to try it out and I said, “Why not?” I tried it, fell in love with it and eventually became a professional international Track and Field Athlete for seven years, representing my country, Lithuania.

Q. Tell us about your fitness routine

A. My two favourite classes are FloatFit and Boxing. I started boxing in the summer and I love it. All the Teachers say I’m really good at it so I would love to teach it. I also love FloatFit where you exercise on boards on top of the water. I’d love to teach that too. As a former athlete, I cannot imagine a work out without running or cardio. I do at least 40 mins of cardio every day, I do weight lifting four times a week and once a week, I do boxing.

Q. Any career goals?

A. I would like to teach boxing and float-fit, but first I need to achieve my Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification – I’m on the YMCA Club waiting list to start this. My teaching style would be fun and energetic. I would keep trying to find the best exercises to suit you, and we’d have fun while exercising.

Q. What’s your secret to keeping fit?

A. I always have fun while I train. I listen to energetic music which gives me motivation and strength to reach my fitness goals.

Q. What health and fitness apps do you use?

A. I use MyFitnessPal to count my intake of calories. If I buy food in a shop I can just scan the barcode and it shows me how many calories and carbs it has. If I’m at home eating eggs, I just type that in and it shows me how many calories eggs have.  MyZone measures my heart rate and I can see how many calories I’m burning when I’m training. It helps me monitor my performance during my workout.

Q. Top tips to help us achieve our health and fitness for the New Year?

A. Don't be afraid or shy to ask the YMCA Club staff questions about specific exercises. Focus on your goals and try to achieve them. Always enjoy your workout.

Q. What does a good day look like for you?

A. Having a good workout. Having an active day. Hanging out with my friends and having a good time.

Q. If you had another life, what would your dream job be?

A. I would like to be a WWE Superstar. I’ve been passionate about wrestling for more than fifteen years. When you see what they can do inside and outside the ring, it’s stunning! These wrestlers really inspire me.

Q. What’s most important to you?

A. Friends and family. Without them I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Claire.Gilderson | 30 November 2018