On Being a Non Traditional Personal Trainer

I remember 2008 when I attended my first IDEA conference for personal trainers. IDEA is the world’s largest fitness and wellness organization. Each year, IDEA hosts conventions where the leaders in fitness come to train the trainers on the most current science and fitness trends. As I entered the convention center, I saw 20 and 30 something’s with spandex, six packs, and hard bodies. I was approaching 50, had recently lost 180 pounds, and had bat wings! saddlebags, and cellulite. I had recently passed my certified personal trainer exam. I was filled with fear, trepidation, and some self loathing. Was I adequate and worthy to attend alongside some of these people who had masters degrees in exercise physiology? I had been a choral and theater educator for much of my career. Besides the ACE-CPT behind my name, how could I be worthy of training another person to be fit?

I look back now at that experience with a smile and some compassion towards that inexperienced but passionate younger me. I see now that I deserved to be there alongside the folks who were born athletic, with their degrees and Iron Mans and Mud Runs under their belts. I need only recall that at 350 pounds in 2005, I was in a motorized cart at Wal-Mart doing my grocery shopping. Working out and sound nutrition had enabled me to change my life forever. Because of that, I believe there is room for all of us to train people who want to be a better version of themselves.

I have struggled to maintain all of my weight loss these years following. My clients seem drawn to me because I empathize with their aches and pains and their battles with body image. We partner to use movement as medicine to heal ourselves. A dear friend calls this process being “gloriously imperfect.”

I have continued to obtain training in yoga, aquatics, cycling, biomechanics and more.   I have drawn a steady base of clientele- young, old, injured, and sick, who want the best quality of life they can get through movement. My journey into health continues as I take additional courses and find my own best health as I age.

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