Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. When shopping for a Personal Trainer or Nutritionist I suggest you check their education level and certifications. The average Joe or Jane can go to a weekend certification workshop and become a personal trainer. One weekend does not turn someone into a professional. Look for people with additional education such as college degrees or multiple certifications showing their commitment to education. Same goes for Nutritionists. Also ask for references of past or current clients. Not all personal trainers will be the right fit for you. Do your homework!
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. You always want to ask for proof of credentials because you never know who is trying to take advantage of you :) I have my degrees in Exercise Sciences as well as Advanced Nutrition Sciences and Wellness. I also hold a national personal trainer certification, which I have held since 1998, I instruct Adult CPR/AED and First Aid training for the Richmond Red Cross, as well as hold a number of other fitness related certifications. I also teach for an organization certifying other personal trainers. My company holds a business license to operate in Virginia as well as liability insurance. Myself and all my trainers have a combined 50+ years of experience in the field of exercise, weight loss, weight gain and muscle building, dietary intake, function training for older adults, etc. My advise to potential clients is to do your homework and don't fall prey to trainers who just want to make a quick buck. Make sure you are getting the experience you are paying for. There really are a lot of good & great trainers out there but as a consumer I urge you to do your homework and ask for all the proof you need before shelling out the cash :) We do not have to be licensed to operate in VA and you also DO NOT have to carry liability insurance but I urge you to make sure your trainer has all this paperwork and safe guards before starting any programming!
How can we help you?
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. 1. Do you have references or current clients I can talk to?
2. What is your experience working with ______ (whatever your medical condition is or your special needs)
3. What type of education do you have?
4. What certifications do you have and can I see a copy of them?
5. Do you have liability insurance and may I see a copy?
6. Are you CPR certified and may I see a copy of your certification?
7. What kind of people have your worked with in the past?
8. I require____________ do you think you would feel comfortable helping me with my needs?
You should have a long list of questions as you will be trusting this person with your BODY!
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. Do you realize that this is more than a commitment to me for a few times a week, this is a commitment to change your lifestyle. I can come and guide you through a safe workout however if you do not make changes in your life to aid in my work you will not find success and therefore will be unhappy. I have had clients blame me for their lack of success but honestly if I only see you 1 to 2 hours out of an entire week you must take some responsibility to do some work yourself! I can't help you if you do not want to help yourself.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. I never want to toot my own horn but I have a degree in Exercise Sciences as well as Nutrition Sciences. I have worked in the field for over 20 years. I have seen a lot, had the opportunity to do a lot and have worked with many different types of people. If I feel we are not a good fit for whatever reason I will be the first to let you know. I do not want to take on a client unless I am what they need.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. I like helping people achieve success. I think it is important to take care of your body b/c it is the only thing you will have for the rest of your life :)
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. 1. What kind of clients do you/have you worked with? I have and do work with all types. I have kids, adults and elderly clients on my current schedule. I have worked with people trying to lose weight, to people trying to gain weight. I have worked with the very out of shape to the very in shape looking for the next big challenge. I have worked with very healthy people to people who are sick/in rehab and need someone to help them work back up to their "good to go" status so to speak. Over my 20+ years of training I have seen it all and most likely worked with all. I have learned a ton and I know I still have a lot to learn as there is new research coming out all the time about training.
2. Customers will ask what my training STYLE is? I do have to say I do not have a "style" I train according to what the clients needs are. I am a huge fan of functional training. I believe that, if you are healthy and injury free you should be able to move your own body weight with very little effort. For example squats, lunges, push ups, etc. If that is difficult for the client we start there. Then we move to move difficult training. We want the client to train towards their goals but we also want the client to understand their goals and make sure they are obtainable for the client. There is nothing that makes me more upset than disappointing a client. I want everyone to get results so setting obtainable goals is super important to me!
3. Clients ask me about nutrition ALL THE TIME...I explain that without a holistic approach, nutrition, gym time or workout time and proper supplements (if required) it is hard to obtain your goals. You also have to think about taking care of your mental state and spiritual as well. CARING FOR SOMEONE AS A WHOLE is super important to success!
There are many more questions people ask, what would you ask us?
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. This gal I had back in college was so pretty but she felt so transparent b/c of her weight. She would not even workout by herself. I try to make all my clients comfortable with my training and me as a person. I am the trainer and my job is to train and pay attention to the client but this gal didn't want me to be a "trainer" she wanted me to be a workout partner which was fine by me. Don't get me wrong, I was working but I was also working out with her to make her feel comfortable. We acted like nothing more than workout partners and all the "trainer to client" stuff went on behind closed doors. After a few months of busting it with me she lost weight, gained confidence, enough so that when I came in one morning to workout with her I found her already down in the big boy section of the gym (the free weight room) working out all on her own. This was a place she would NEVER go without me. It took me a whole month to talk her into even going down there b/c it was mostly full of guys lifting. It was such a delight to see her down there, without me, with the boys :) that was when I knew I had done my job and done it really well. It was about the weight but it was really about her growth as a person and her outlook on herself that made such a HUGE difference in her workouts and her results!
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. My job is hard! I love what I do but when clients do not find success I feel like I am on sh** list if you know what I mean, even if it has nothing to do with me. I have found in the past clients are not honest with me or themselves and therefore l cannot help unless they wish to really open up and learn why they do what they do and then how they can fix it. My professional also comes with great responsibility and knowledge. A lot of people think I am a doctor. They ask me to diagnose or suggest things that I am not qualified to do. While I do know a lot I like to refer to a med dr., physical therapist or other to help clients when it is beyond my scope of knowledge.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. I had a personal trainer once and she was great. She was sweet, very understanding, knowledgeable and helped me get healthy. I found that she had to feel rewarded when people did really well and met their goals and I decided that is what I wanted to do, help people get healthy.
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. As a trainer we are required to keep up with certifications with CEC or continuing education. I read all the time, reports, articles, research and we take tests, go to seminars, conference, etc. to keep up with our training. I am also going back to school to get my masters so that will another trip down the education road to success. I love learning!
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. There is always a need for qualified professionals in this field. I would suggest you do your homework on certifications and find the best one out there that you can afford. If you can go to college that would be better. It could secure you a job in a more secure facility such as corporate or at a drs office. Once you are educated or certified, continue to improve your knowledge base and education base. It only adds to your professional edge. I don't think you need 8 million degrees or certifications but in this day and age education is key to a good secure job. Then learn as much as you can from anyone who is qualified and will teach you! Intern if you can b/c that would be really, really helpful!!!