Hi! My name is Leila Timergaleeva. I live and work in New York City.
I was born in Izhevsk (1.5 hour flight from Moscow) – in the Urals. I’m a lawyer by education – 5 years of Law School and 6 years of legal practice (in oil business). My first boss taught me the first lessons that I will always remember (for example – about documents, that each document has to be visually perfect and easy on the eye). I never lost in court (I had 6 court cases and I remember each of them with an almost perfect clarity).
As a result of these 11 years – I can draw up any legal document or agreement , so to say, with my hands tied behind my back. I know my obligations and I know my rights.
I am very happy to have had this experience in my life.
In 2002 I moved to Moscow. And I saw Gold’s… OMG! I fell in love with that club. Let me make it clear: Gold’s in Moscow costs about $2,000 per year, a beautiful club with a big swimming pool, tennis courts and so on. Posh.
That is when I realized who I am by nature. I was born to belong to that world. The most important reason why I wanted to work for Gold’s and to completely change my life was the atmosphere at the club. I wanted to belong to this world, I wanted to be one of THEM.
That is what I was selling later, when after a few months I started to work at Gold’s having moved to Moscow.
I was interviewed for Gold’s Gym several times. And there were a few rejections. Later
they told me that they couldn’t understand why a successful lawyer would want to work at Gold’s and doesn’t even care in what position. This is true – I remember I came and told them: give me any job, I will show you I can do it. OMG, it is so crazy, isn’t it!? Such a believer! I was 26.
I have to say that at the same time I got another job offer – the most powerful oil company in Russia, Lukoil, offered me a position at their legal department. By accepting that offer I would have made my grandparents and my parents forever happy and proud of me.
However, I though that I’ve already fulfilled my duty as a daughter and granddaughter with my career as a lawyer, and it was time for me, THE ME-TIME. And “me wanted fitness”.
It was one of those moments of your life when your life can completely change because of a single decision you are making. I have never regretted it since.
I was a successful sales person at Gold’s for a few months and later on I was promoted to a Membership Director role.
My weakest point was my English (it was a “must have” requirement for that position). My English was more or less limited to: “We have different type of memberships. Are you going to pay cash or card?”. But I saw it merely as another challenge, and I took it.
I started learning English, falling asleep with dictionaries, watching movies only in English with subtitles.
Gold’s was a huge school of life for me. I am proud and happy that at that time I was lucky to have Drew Steichen as my couch and guru (he always laughs when I call him my guru). He always believed in me, no matter what. About 70% of what I am today is due to his couching and support.
After Gold’s came Olympic System, Hyatt, Holmes Place in London.
To be honest, there was a moment when I even tried to leave fitness. I was out of it for 6 months, after which I understood, clearer than ever: I’m hung up on fitness for life. I love it and I’m proud I’m in it.
My last position in Moscow was as a Managing Director at FitnessMania – the biggest fitness club in Moscow. An amazing team! I still miss them.
Over the last 7 or 8 years I am speaking at different fitness events – MIOFF and World Class in Russia, IHRSA, Rimini Wellness Festival.
I love addressing people! I just realized one day that it is so important to share you knowledge, what has worked for you, so that the people can try the same, then you get some feedback from them and exchange information. I’m always happy to give away my ideas and the most successful sales promotions. I have to say here – Russians are not very big on sharing ideas. We don’t share. We like to keep things to ourselves.
But to be honest – I see more changes in Russians in the last 2-3 years. They are more open and more positive about exchanging information. This is a good sign.
I know, when I give away my ideas and promotion methods, I have to move on and find something new. That’s how my brain works – this is very important for me. When my brain is not working and generating new ideas,I feel brain-dead and old.
In 2008 I got a call from my dear friend and my European director Hans Muench. He
asked if I would like to represent IHRSA in Russia. It happened after we have met at IHRSA Congress in Paris. I said yes. That was almost 5 years ago, and I love doing this!
In 2009 I grew tired of Russia. Moving to the US is a different, and much longer story. Since November 2009 I live in New York – the best city in the world. I’m working for Complete Body. The core business of the company is fitness management in luxury residential buildings. I will translate one of my posts about the company and their clubs I used to manage. There is this one club located on 57-59 floors of a residential building in the City, it’s really very unique and interesting.
I have told you I like to share – that is why one morning I woke up and decided to start writing this blog. So that I can share information and ideas without having to wait for another fitness event. This blog is called “Fitness and the City” but it is not about fitness only, it is also about life in general in the City.
I just started to translate a few posts into English – after some of my friends in NYC asked me about that. I also noticed that some of my other friends and colleagues are trying to use Google translator to read my posts. So I’ve decided maybe it’s time to start writing here in English as well.
Right now I am translating a few of my previous posts and hope you will come back again to read something new.
And please do not be too strict with my grammar or typos, I am still a little new to English!