Weightlifter, 10, Sets Out On Path To Opening Her Own Gym
What were you doing when you were 10? Not getting up at 5am to lift weights before school and writing up business plans, I imagine.
But Aeryn-Ejjina Atkinson isn't your average 10-year-old.
She dreams of winning gold at the Olympics, and after years of early morning gym sessions, she can now lift double her bodyweight.
On top of that, Aeryn-Ejjina - from Telford, UK - has also begun taking steps towards opening her own gym. She's already written up a business plan and submitted it to numerous gyms, securing meetings and work experience placements for when she turns 16.
Dad Craig, who supervises her every morning while she trains, said: "She wants to own a gym when she is older so during lockdown wrote a business plan as a project, we showed it to a few personal trainers who raved about it.
"This led to Aeryn wanting to contact more gyms and personal trainers to see if she could do some work experience or follow them around to learn more about the industry she is so passionate about.
"The Gym Group asked to set up a video interview with her and she ended up speaking to Chief Commercial Officer and manager of their Kettering gym, and even Commonwealth Games athlete Deborah Fleming.
"She asked them questions about the gym, fitness plans, and how to run a business. They said she had been a wonderful distraction at the end of a tough year and were so impressed they offered to take her on work experience while she does her qualifications when she turns 16.
"Since then they have sent her a Gym Group uniform and things have started rolling. She is reaching out to more gyms and personal trainers and one trainer has offered to allow her to use her personal recording studio."
As well as opening the gym, Aeryn-Ejjina hopes to go to the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and CrossFit Games - but she knows she's got to do a lot of training over the coming years if she is to have a chance.
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That's fine though, 'cause there's nothing she loves more than working out.
She said: "I started doing deadlifts when I was seven because I really liked doing them. It was difficult to start because daddy wouldn't let me but we found a safe way to do it.
"I loved learning new moves with CrossFit and pushing my body to the limit made me feel really special. It made me feel really good inside.
"I saw The Rock getting up at 5am and it really inspired me, so I started doing that before school. I would watch his videos and try to copy what he was doing."
She added: "I decided to make a business plan as a project, my mind was racing and I had all these ideas so I wanted to put them down on paper.
"I kept adding more to it and it went from there. I want to offer a part of myself in my way, I want to make a gym that worked for me and I want to show other people it can work for them too.
"I have no clue when I want to open it, probably as soon as I can afford it."
In the meantime, she is going to be helping a local fitness instructor deliver virtual workouts.
Craig, a 40-year-old father-of-two, said: "We're obviously very proud of her, and slightly scared, but she has our full support as she's obviously found something she is incredibly passionate about.
"She rarely asks for toys anymore, its workout equipment and clothes she wants for Christmas."
Featured Image Credit: Caters
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