I wasn’t always into fitness, but once I got an interest in it I was obsessed. I would say that I first became really interested in working out in my first year of college when I was 18. Up until that time I had been competitively dancing, which was more physical activity than I needed, so I never had to worry about exercising. I was still dancing in college, but not nearly as much as I had been previously. So I started going to the gym. At first it was just during my shows at night and I would simply go on the elliptical while I watched The Bachelor, but then I joined a sorority and was introduced to tons of girls that all had different takes on exercise. I started experimenting with strength training and really noticed a difference in how my body felt and looked with regular cardio and weight lifting.
In my third year of college, I got a really unhealthy obsession with exercise. I started almost each morning with a 75-minute hot yoga class and then after classes I would run for exactly one hour on the treadmill. At the time, I really did like doing both of these things, but I didn’t realize that I wasn’t eating nearly enough and I was outputting way too much energy. But this is a long story for another day.
After college, I got my first “real” job. After a few months I realized it wasn’t for me and since I was still living at home with my parents, I had the luxury to be able to play around with two things I am really passionate about – kids and fitness. I became a nanny to make some money while I got certified to be a personal trainer through AFPA and NASM.
At the time I was working out at a local fitness club and once I got certified, they hired me to be a trainer. I basically had my own business there – I set my own rates, found my own clients, and had to give the gym a percentage of my earnings to use their facility. It was a great deal, but I really had no clue what I was doing. If I could go back and give every person I trained in that year their money back, I would in a heartbeat. I knew I needed some structure and some real coaching if I was going to be serious about this, so I applied at a large corporate fitness chain and got hired almost immediately.
Before I could officially start working there, I had to go to a week-long training at a local facility. Although I was really antsy to just get started, this time was really beneficial for me. It didn’t focus so much on physical movements, but on how to be a good trainer, get and retain clients, and ensure that you are maximizing your time each hour – whether you are training a client, doing administrative work, or trying to market your services.
I spent about another year training clients of all types – women looking to tone up, women looking to lose massive amounts of weight, teenagers that were insecure about their bodies, kids that were into specific sports, men that had serious injuries from accidents, and high-level male athletes. I got so much good experience and really learned how to tailor programs to whomever I was working with. I also taught a few classes, one introductory weight-loss class, one medium-level strength training class teaching people how to properly use gym equipment, and one running class for children.
During this time, I met some really great people, including a client who turned into a friend that I see on a very regular basis now, my current boss, and my best friend. I decided to quit because I was given an opportunity in business that I couldn’t pass up, right at the time when I was becoming increasingly frustrated with some of my co-workers and the fact that they cared more about sales and numbers over actually helping people become healthier. I hit my breaking point and quit on a whim, without really thinking about what I was really doing.
Now I am immensely grateful for all of the experiences and jobs I have had over the years, but I really feel in my heart that I am just supposed to do something with fitness and helping people become healthier and happier. I’m not entirely certain at this time exactly what that looks like, but I’m hopeful that I’ll begin to understand it soon.
There are a couple of areas of fitness I’m passionate about in particular, being:
- Women, post-baby
- Young adult girls
- Elderly people
Varying reasons caused me to choose these categories, but these are always the groups of people that I have gravitated towards. Looking back at my journey with fitness over the last seven years, above all else I deeply understand the struggles that young adult girls go through with their bodies. I really believe that if we can somehow help teenagers to love their bodies, they will be able to avoid a lot of years of heartache in their 20s. I want to help people learn to love themselves and understand that they are enough just as they are, but if they are unhappy with something, it is totally changeable.
I think that personal training is about more than just working out. It is about developing a lifestyle that you are proud of and want to portray to others through your everyday actions. It is a way to gain confidence, structure, love, and stability in life. It can help to develop a community of people with like-minded goals that can turn out to be lifelong friends. It has the power to turn someone’s life around and help them to start over at any point in time. And it is certainly something that I want to be a part of my life for as long as people allow it to be.
For anyone out there who is or was a trainer, I would love to hear more about your journey and why you are or are not currently working in the field. 🙂