Wiktoria Michalik was told she couldn’t box because she’s a girl. For that precise reason, she started boxing. The BA (Hons) Sports Business & Coaching student, who is also a Nike Pro Trainer and gym instructor, has since found a passion for the sport and aspires to be an Olympic gold medalist. Here, Wiktoria tells us how she balances studying for a degree with training to be the best in the world…

Tell us how you got into boxing and the highlights of your career so far…

My boxing journey started for two reasons. First, I was told I couldn't box because I'm a girl, so I wanted to prove to myself and to anyone who told me that I couldn't do it. Second, due to a few track and field injuries – I used to run middle-distance in high school – I was told it would be better if I quit the sport completely. That's why I decided to study at UCFB and get a coaching degree, because if I can't be an athlete I can be a coach and still stay in sport. However, I found boxing and it turned out that I was good at it, so I took it more seriously. Each session pushes me out of my comfort zone and that's what I love the most about boxing.

The closing of boxing gyms due to coronavirus has provided me with the opportunity to focus on my fitness. I have been able to improve my speed and endurance, which has increased my daily runs from 5km to 10-15km. I have also managed to work on my career development. Although unusual for an amateur boxer, I now have a clear path, timeline and road to the achievement. I would say that these are my main highlights and I have many more to come.


What are your main aspirations in the sport and hopes for 2024 Olympics?

Since starting boxing I have always taken the sport and the achievements that come with it seriously. My aspiration is to become an Olympian and represent the UK or Poland, my native country. I want to win a medal that can never be taken away from me. In boxing it is possible to win and lose titles, but as my dad said: ‘You will always be a gold medalist!’

Tell us about your coaching career and your role as a Nike Training Club Pro Trainer.

I became a Nike Training Club Pro Trainer in June 2019 and this experience opened the door to my career as a fitness instructor. Nike gave me the opportunity to complete the Gym Instructor Level 2 and Personal Trainer Level 3 course. The course lasted five months, so I was on this and at the same time I was in my first year at UCFB, as well as working on the FA Level 1 football coach qualification. This allowed me to start working as a coach after my first year at university. My role as a Nike Trainer is to promote Nike in the community, teaching future generation gym instructors and personal trainers who aspire to fulfill their fitness careers. I also support Nike events throughout London and the UK.

At the moment I work as a family activities instructor, boxing instructor, fitness instructor and at a school for children with special educational needs. I like the fact that all these jobs give me the opportunity to work with different age groups, people and children from different backgrounds and cultures which makes it more exciting.

How do you balance your boxing commitments and your studies?

My dad always said "be the hardest-working man in the room" and that's how I was raised. It's not easy because when I train, study or work I have to give 100% or more; however, one of the things that really helps me is managing my time and scheduling a week or two ahead. I would say it's more about discipline as my schedule is pretty busy with studies, work and training. As James Clear said: “Consistency makes progress, intensity makes a good story”. The advantage of my course is that it is online at the moment and I only have lectures and seminars twice a week, which means I can study independently at any time of the week which gives me more flexibility.


How have you found your BA (Hons) Sports Business & Coaching degree so far?

I love it! Especially my second year modules, such as Talent Development, Entrepreneurship, Events Planning and Research Methods. I’ve not only gained knowledge in these fields but at the same time I’ve learned new skills. It’s given me an opportunity to have a better insight and I can relate more to the course I study because I am an athlete and a coach at the same time.

How has your degree helped you in your coaching and fitness instructor roles?

 This degree has already helped me in my coaching roles, and I have received great feedback from my clients and managers. This degree has allowed me to understand the key factors I need to consider when coaching or teaching someone. What I love about my degree and coaching roles is that UCFB has taught me how to discover my skills, my personality, my strengths and weaknesses and has shown me different paths that I can use and apply to my philosophy coaching.

Do you have any advice for students looking to study at UCFB, particularly involved in competitive sport?

I've heard many times in my life that girls shouldn't play sport and that girls shouldn't do sports degrees. If you have a dream or a goal, just do it and prove them wrong. You are the only person that decides whether you can or can’t do it. My advice would be to stay consistent and disciplined because I know how hard it is to study and train at the same time, however a week is 168 hours long and if you can manage it effectively you can do much more than you think!