How did you get started doing this type of work?
The first time I entered a weight room in high school my workout lasted about a minute. I wandered around, found a random machine and tried to figure out what I was supposed to do. After some fruitless attempts I was so embarrassed I gave up and went home.
Even for a few more years, I never touched a weight. I was a big swimmer, but completely burned out my junior year after a very bad back injury. (I found out 2 years later I had fractured a vertebrae.) I wanted to stay active so I decided to give the weight room another try.
This time I did my research beforehand. I was lucky enough to stumble upon some wonderful resources that taught me the important of free weights and strength training. I halfheartedly trained with dumbbells off and on for a few years. Finally on break my junior year of college, I built up the courage to approach the barbell. I'd been reading about them for YEARS and had wanted to try forever but was terrified.
I loved it instantly. Even though I had no clue what I was doing, probably had atrocious form and no guidance, I loved it. Summer of my senior year I got very serious - I suspected my form was terrible so I recorded myself performing lifts and sent them out to the internet to be critiqued by random strangers.
By the time I went back to school, some guys I met at the gym were impressed by my lifting and offered to let me train with them. Thus I got into Powerlifting. I read everything I possibly could about lifting, training, weight loss - everything regarding fitness. I spent countless hours everyday just sucking it all in. I knew the confidence I got from lifting was something I wanted to pass on to others - and that's how I got to where I am today!
What types of customers have you worked with?
I specialize in women's fitness - though you may be surprised to know as far as actual exercise prescription this doesn't vary too much from men's fitness!
Most of my knowledge is in strength training movements - bodyweight exercises, basic squats, presses and deadlifts (the pick stuff up off the ground exercise.) You'd be surprised how far that gets you!
As well, I provide my clients with nutrition advice if weight loss and improved performance are priorities. Remember you can't out-exercise a bad diet!
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
I mentioned in a previous question about how there is no national certifying body for personal trainers, which means that certifications can vary widely in quality, philosophy and actual required knowledge.
So how can you be sure you're getting someone of quality? Ask for recommendations from past clients - heck ask if you can call one of them up! Ask them their training philosophy. Ask them what kind of training they do themselves. Ask as many probing, meticulous, annoying questions you can think of! Any trainer worth hiring will be pleasantly surprised and happy to answer.