General News:

International Women’s Day – Evelyn Mair


International Women’s Day is a global day celebrated on March 8, recognising the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

At Sport Aberdeen, we want to create an environment that helps to forge a better, more inclusive world for women and collectively celebrate their achievements.

We spoke to our Group Health & Fitness Manager, Evelyn Mair about her journey to date and what inspired her to pursue a career in the fitness industry.

Reflecting on her school days, Evelyn tells us: “I wasn’t into PE or sport when I was at school, I think having to wear little blue pants and a white vest was probably the most off-putting part.

“However, I did do Shotokan Karate through to age 21 – I started karate when I was 8 years old, so I was very active, training 5 days per week, even though PE wasn’t my thing.

“My experience with karate was very positive and inclusive despite it stereotypically being male-dominated back then.”

“I achieved black belt when I was 12 years old (1st dan) and competed for Scotland in both the singles and ladies’ team. I then got my 2nd dan when I was 16 and I still keep in touch with my Sensei now, he is one of my greatest role models and was like a second dad to me.

“At school I always wanted to be a dentist, but I didn’t get the grades I needed for university, so I went on to study dental hygiene and nursing at Edinburgh Telford College for two years.  

“I worked as a dental nurse for a couple of years and decided that university wasn’t the right path for me. 

“Opting for a different route, I then worked in bar management and the hospitality industry for Caledonian Heritable in Edinburgh. Strangely this was a higher paid industry than one that required me to study for two years; I absolutely loved it and met so many amazing people who helped to influence the person I am today.”

“When I fell pregnant with my first son, the 3am finishes just weren’t practical anymore, so I considered other options.

“My family have always been and still are heavily into sport and fitness, so I leaned into this and completed my Level 2 Gym Instructor course and worked in a small hotel gym in Dunfermline to build my confidence.

“I moved up to Aberdeen in 2003 and worked for Aberdeen Leisure (what was Sport Aberdeen back then) as a gym instructor at the Beach Leisure Centre.

“I then worked at Bannatyne Health Club & Spa in Aberdeen for 15 years as a part-time gym instructor and picked up other qualifications along the way such as Les Mills Body Combat Attack, Pump & Vive, Indoor Cycling, Aqua Aerobics, Kettlebells, as well as my Level 3 Personal Trainer course.

“I became the Fitness Manager in 2005 for four years, and then from 2009 to 2018 I was appointed as General Manager.

“I think working in the fitness industry has made me realise that I am motivated by helping people to become the best version of themselves – seeing people happy in the environment that you create gives you a real buzz.  

“In 2018 I started at Sport Aberdeen in the role of Group Operations Manager, I went for this role so I could progress but still stay close to home.

“I really enjoy my role now as Group Health & Fitness Manager at Sport Aberdeen – I started in post in September 2022 and prior to this I worked within the Active Schools division for a year (from April 2021 – April 2022).  

We asked Evelyn about her greatest piece of advice for young females…

“Trust yourself, go with your gut, don’t be swayed by the masses. Try new things, get comfortable with being uncomfortable and take risks.”

“It’s so easy to let self-doubt get in the way and talk yourself out of something, but my advice is to be open to trying new things, you never know you might like it or at the very least, you will learn something about yourself.”

“I started CrossFit almost 8 years ago – when I first walked in, I almost walked straight back out. To this day I am still learning, practicing, challenging myself and progressing…

“Don’t ever not walk through the door because you don’t think you can – you absolutely can so have that belief in yourself.”