I attended Umass-Lowell for Sports Medicine and Exercise Science. Without it being required by my boss or by a certification board, I decided on my own to attend several seminars in New York City to learn various aspects of personal training, including weight training, functional training, nutrition, physioballs, and corrective exercise training. I won’t settle to fulfill the minimum requirement for a personal trainer’s education; rather, I am constantly updating myself on new methods from both the Sports Medicine Field and the Exercise Science Field. I enjoy studying the NASM materials that cover the OPT, or optimum personal training methods. I receive and review information from the Therapy Times on a weekly basis. I have designed nutritional guidelines and programs for people using the food pyramid. I like to present the information to clients via the warm, positive and upbeat feeling of coaching rather. I much prefer that to 'yelling at' and 'ordering' clients using a commanding and reprimanding attitude.
I have worked at a number of gyms during my career, and as an in-home trainer for nine years. I know that my passion will always be health and fitness. Lately I have been seeking in-home training opportunities because all the gyms are turning me away for being over-qualified for positions such as fitness director or head trainer. I pride myself on my ability to take clients with injuries or health problems who need physical rehabilitation and turn them into elites athletes. I see no limit to how far a person can go, no matter where they are starting from fitness-wise. My own experience overcoming health obstacles taught me that anything and everything is possible. Also, I picked up lots of hands-on experience and knowledge during the two years I worked for Health South Sports Medicine Physical Therapy. I am extremely comfortable with the physical requirements for weight loss as well as for rehabilitation. Psychologically, I am in tune with clients hoping to get into better shape and better health. I can personally relate to how a person feels when they are hurt or ill. I have the ability to connect with them, let them know that I know how they feel, and help them overcome any self doubts they may have, in the mental or physical realm. I also enjoy and am extremely skilled at working with older adults. One of my 65-year-old clients has lost 30 pounds in less than six months under my tutelage. Age or health problems are not a true obstacle to getting in fabulous shape. I mean, I have cracked my head open, had three seizures and had a hip replacement. Now I am a lean, strong, fit 117 pounds. A positive attitude is key to overcoming obstacles, and I instill that in every client I work with.
Many clients are looking for weight loss in addition to improved strength, endurance, flexibility, and health. When I work with a client who wants to lose weight, I start with a health evaluation to find out what his specific goals are, and the time frame in which he would like to achieve them. Then I set him up on a cardio program, whether it be on cardio equipment, or simply using the home by working on the stairs or in place. Walking or jogging outside are also options. For a beginner, I start with trying to get a quarter-mile or a half-mile of walking out of him. Week by week as he demonstrates readiness we try to go a little further to try to increase cardiovascular endurance--but always building up slowly, only going at the pace that he is comfortable. I generally have weight loss clients perform resistance training with compound movements that involve multiple muscle groups at once. This gets the resistance training done quickly, efficiently, and effectively, and increases the number of calories burned during the workout, which ultimately leads to weight loss when combined with proper nutrition. My nutrition philosophy for weight loss is not about deprivation, it is about abundance—abundance of good foods. I suggest taking in lots of fruits, veggies, dairy, and lean meats every day. I recommend avoiding foods that contain too many empty calories for your activity level. For example, athletes who exercise two hours a day might be able to eat bread and pasta and still reach their weight loss goals, but the gym-goer who has a desk job will simply slow his or her weight loss by eating too many carbohydrates and fats. However, whole grains and healthy fats are an important part of anyone’s weight-loss diet. All foods are okay in moderation and when you exercise proper portion control.
Personally, I have kept myself in great shape for years now. In 2003 I was recognized as one of the top performers in a Fitness Challenge hosted by Bally Total Fitness. This fitness test was amongst all the personal trainers, who generally are among the fittest people you’ll find. I train myself very hard. For most beginning clients, I prescribe functional training, because it is important to learn how to perform basic body movements with correct form and control. For more advanced clients, I prescribe classic strength training and cardio. For myself, I perform advanced strength training and sixty minutes of cardio five days per week. Overall I spend about 10 hours per week working out to maintain my high fitness level. People ask me how I have the time. Well, I work 40 hours a week, and I have three kids and a husband. I have a lot of responsibility in my life, but I believe there is something wrong if you can’t take an hour or two out of the day to do something good for yourself. I manage to get it in by designating a certain time frame to exercise and just doing it. If you’re going to the gym, utilize the day care if necessary. If you’ll be at home for your workout, let your family know that you aren’t available during that time. If you can, find a way to make your workout more enjoyable. Get a workout buddy, hire a trainer for some of your sessions, watch your favorite TV program while you work out, read on the cardio machines, or listen to some good audio programs or music. You give up things. I haven’t sat in front of the TV more than once a week for as long as I can remember. I don’t always get to do all the social things. But it’s worth it to me because I feel good."
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