After working for more than 25 years in the corporate world, I decided it was time to follow my passion down a different path that would lead me to something I would be able to enjoy for the rest of my working life. I studied hard and earned my certification to become a personal fitness trainer, launching a brand new career on my 55th birthday.
Since then I have had the privilege of working with many individuals who, like me, saw turning 50 as a second chance for a healthier, happier, longer life. Sometimes my clients tell me that they are inspired by me and what I have been able to accomplish at mid-life. But I am equally inspired by them and how hard they are willing to push themselves week after week to achieve their goals. It is what makes my job so much fun.
My approach with a new client usually starts with some background info and fitness history. Since most of my clients are 50+, the initial discussions tend to reveal the athlete that still lives inside them – whether the person was a former high school or college athlete or once loved going to the gym and lifting weights. They have some memory of a time when they felt fit, healthy and strong, and they want to feel that way again. From there we will set a short term goal to get things started, and we continue to progress from there. I always customize the training to each person’s specific interests and goals. For example, if your goal is to run a 5K, I will do strength training with emphasis on the lower body as well as provide a “couch to 5K” running program. We will also identify a race and get you registered to make the goal more tangible.
In the beginning, I believe in focusing on body weight training to wake up the muscles and joints. Once we have a good baseline, I will incorporate weights, resistance bands and other equipment as appropriate. Many of my clients have gym equipment in their homes, and I try to design programs incorporate items they already own. I’m a big fan of kettle bells and dumb bells and will try to use them whenever I can. And once I see good form and consistent improvement in movement, the program will progress to include timed intervals to bring clients to the next level. Functional fitness is always important but even more so as we age, so I will generally include those types of moves in every workout along with stretching and mobility exercises.
Nutrition is so important to help fuel a challenging workout as well as to improve our health overall. Many recent studies have shown that a healthy diet can be more effective in treating certain chronic illness than medication – and it costs less too! Although I am not a nutritionist, I always provide my clients with practical advice and tips for improving their diet and eating healthier. Remember that no matter how much you work out, you cannot exercise away a bad diet."
Vivian clearly loves to challenge herself with new fitness adventures! She can teach you to do the same.