Rosa-Maria Ikäheimonen, the coach and founder of Speed Up Agility, is a highly educated wellness professional and a pioneer in agility handlers’ fitness training.
As Rosa-Maria developed a deep passion for agility, she wanted to search for its best practices. However, she soon found that there are little to no resources for agility handlers’ fitness training, even though the performance is based on the collaboration between dog and handler. This resulted in Rosa-Maria analysing agility and other sports for countless hours and consulting athletic professionals. Eventually, she developed the best methods for agility handlers’ fitness training.
Rosa-Maria’s areas of expertise are:
- Human anatomy, physiology and chemistry. Rosa-Maria has a Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. In addition, she has studied open university courses that specialise in wellness (such as ‘Nutrition for sport and exercise’).
- Rosa-Maria is a trained masseuse specialising in joint mobility and fascial manipulation. She is also a qualified personal trainer (FAF).
- Rosa-Maria has been a fitness coach in TopTeam – an agility training entity organised yearly by SAGI, Finland’s agility union – during the years -18, -19 and -20.
- In addition to agility, Rosa-Maria does weightlifting actively and will next spring (2020) become a qualified strength training coach, level 1.
In fact, Rosa-Maria started fitness training and getting inspired to train others from more or less level zero.
This is her story…
My dog was racing towards me. His performance was perfect, but I was too slow, unable to guide him. There was nothing I could do. We crashed.
This incident was my wake-up call. A few years prior, I realized that I couldn’t keep up with my furry teammate on the agility course. I loved our time together but was quite often completely exhausted after our performance. So, I quit smoking, and started to exercise regularly and eat healthy food (well mostly, I still eat way too much chocolate). I wanted to be worthy of my dog.
Yet, my long-legged border collie was in a league of his own. I realized that if I wanted to match his performance, I had to improve my sprinting and take my reactions to a whole new level. I tried to find a fitness coach who understands the needs of agility handlers, but there were none. So, I consulted experts in other fields and tested what would benefit me in agility.
Oh, the joy, when things started to click together. Feeling united with my magnificent beast was the best. Not only did we outperform ourselves time after time, but I was energized and happier in other areas of my life. Looking after myself and being fit to perform not only made me a great agility handler, but a better wife and mother as well. I felt complete.
Other’s noticed the change in me, and our results. As the word spread, I started getting coaching requests. So, I launched an online fitness course, Sporttitassu, in Finland, which was an instant hit, although the best part was the wonderful feedback I received. Knowing I could help others felt amazing, and I realized that coaching is my calling. I can’t wait to share the joy of personal development with more people, and to speed up their triumph.
All the best Rosa-Maria
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Picture: Yulia Titovets One of the most important ‘showcase’ events for agility in the UK takes place every December at Olympia, the London International Horse Show. “Every year the qualifying…
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