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Behind the scenes

Friday, February 08, 2013

I just realized that I haven't actually written a blog here since I started my new job, and that seems like an awfully silly thing for me to have done. Granted, I do tend to spend somewhere between 10 and 12 hours at the gym now because of it, but that's no excuse to not write out how my experiences have been going.

In case you are unaware, I up and left my job at the bakery in the beginning of December. I spent a few weeks unemployed and preparing myself, then applied at the gym I go to. I got a response from the recruiter less than 24 hours later asking me when I could come and talk to her as a pre-screening interview to make sure I would suit their needs before I was sent to a fitness manager. At the end of that interview, she asked me if I was available the next day to come and meet with the FM for a second interview. She made sure to point out that she wanted me in the next day. I said I was definitely available, and that I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly she wanted me back in. She said, and I quote, "I normally give at least two days so you can complete the homework, but if not tomorrow then there's no availability until next Wednesday. I don't want to wait that long. When we find someone we like and know will fit, we don't play around." Safe to say, I felt pretty confident walking in to see the FM, Sean, the next day. The homework I had to complete was a case study, a mock client that I had to create an appropriate workout for, explain my choices, then run the FM through a few of them to prove I knew both how to do the exercise properly, but more importantly how to communicate effectively to make the person do the exercise properly. He gave me a few pointers along the way, mostly to change a few of the words I chose to cue. I was offered the job pretty much immediately. And thus began my adventure.

Yes, I am aware that I am officially a walking cliche. The fat girl that loses weight then becomes a trainer. But it just.. worked for me. I have so much gathered knowledge from years spent doing exactly what these people are trying to do. I understand how bad cravings can be, how crippling your own mind/thoughts, and most importantly, I know the mental and emotional battles that are being fought at the same time as the physical, because I've been there and done it. They may crave different things, they may have different thoughts and emotions that they fight, but those are just different battles in the same war. It is this understanding that I believe gives me an edge, because I can relate to them in a way that trainers that have always been fit cannot. I also remember how hard it was to start on my own, and how much harder it was to continue when I kept failing. What I would have loved to have had, to have had said to me, to have been shown during those times. I may not be the image of the tight, fit woman most people would attribute to a trainer, but underneath my jiggly bits is more muscle than most of them would know what to do with, as well as the know-how to help them get the same. I believe my knowledge speaks more than my stomach does, and I aim to prove that.

I will admit, going up and randomly talking to people has never been something I've been incredibly comfortable with. Too many years being as self conscious as I was, I still feel like I'm 300lbs sometimes and people are looking at me for all the wrong reasons at a gym. Instead of going and giving myself panic attacks trying to strike up conversations right off the bat, I've made my presence known in my own way. I have two uniform shirts until I can actually order more (these ones were given to me), one men's and one women's. The women's shirt actually fits me really nicely, so that's the one I wear when walking around, standing at the front desk, or working with people. The men's shirt I have designated as my workout shirt. Any time I'm actually doing a workout, I have that shirt and my name tag on, so people will take notice that I am in fact a trainer, and in spite of the belly, I know what I'm doing. The men in the gym, especially, seem to take notice of me a bit more when they realize I'm in the weight room moving almost as much as they are, if not -more-. On Wednesday, one of my coworkers and I had been joking about deadlifting for most of the day. We were both bored and had nothing to do around 6pm, so I smacked him on the arm and said "Come on Johnny. Let's go deadlift." Off we went. I personally don't normally do conventional deadlifts, much preferring the stiff legged version, but we decided to try conventional ones. At this point, it's key to note that I had already done an insane workout with Derek earlier in the day, and I'm in the middle of a sickness that I'd been fighting off, so safe to say I'm anything but at 100%. But hey, what the heck, right? We started at 155 for the first set, then went to 175 (I also threw in a couple stiff legged deadlifts here, just because I was curious). Then 185, and finally 195 for the last two sets. This was a happy day for me, since I finally had evidence that I can deadlift more than my bodyweight. I can't wait to try this again when I'm not sick or pre-exhausted from a previous workout and see how much I can do. haha. I did all of this, of course, in full uniform in the middle of the weight room full of big burly men. Oh, they noticed.

Another thing getting me noticed is Derek. Because he remembers what it was like trying to get your first clients, he's helping me out. He's already totally jacked, and knows as well as I do how good a trainer looks when they're training a client who is in good shape, so he lets me run him around the gym as if he is my client. It's a small thing, but something that gets me seen on the floor, lets people hear me training someone, and gets me noticed for the right reasons. I appreciate that he does that for me, but he's benefiting from it too because I've actually come up with a few things he's been totally surprised with and asked to use with his other clients. He's always been very free flowing with information for me to help me succeed as a trainer, so it's nice I actually get to give something back.

Speaking of free flowing information... I finally went and did my practical exam to get my certification to be a trainer. Derek was my mock client, and I'd mentioned to the pro trainer (Mike) doing my exam that he was my trainer (and of course I went to the exam in my uniform, just because I could). During the course I took, Mike was always very open with information. My exam was nothing less, and he was having a LOT of fun with it. He said that I was his last appointment of the day, so he didn't have a time constraint holding him back, and the fact that we were both working trainers enabled him to get right into it. Everything we did, he had some tiny little variation to add in. And each of those little variations was like "..holy crap, that's awesome." I gained so many little pointers during that exam, it was amazing. I admit, I did something I knew I shouldn't do for the actual client case study I had, but I'd weighed it out in my mind and thought it was worth the risk. I had remembered that during the course, he mentioned that he'd had a practical exam the day before and the person had actually used the rower as the warm up and he was impressed because he hardly ever sees it. I know the rower very well, I even have my own at home, so I knew I had to incorporate it in spite of the fact my 'client' had lower back pain and I'd never actually put a client with low back pain on a rower. He brought up that I'd lost some marks because it was an inappropriate exercise for the client, but that he was impressed that I used it and even more impressed that I explained and cued it perfectly so he gave me marks for it. It was a calculated risk, but one that worked out in my favour. I ended up getting 93%, and officially gaining the title of certified personal trainer.

I've done a number of consultations already, though no one at this point has gone beyond that yet. I have a couple people who genuinely seem interested, but until there's a signature on a line for me, interest is just shadows and dust. There was one person in particular, Jason, that I -really- hope decides to start training with me. He was a really cool guy that is already pretty fit but is looking to put on muscle. -That- would be fun. We ended up spending about two and a half hours in his consultation because we kept getting sidetracked talking about other things. Got along really well, and he hung on pretty much every word I said. He told me at many points during the consult that everything I said made perfect sense, and he was learning a lot just from the pointers I gave him. I have him booked for a reassessment later in the month, and I hope by that point he's made a decision and will come work with me.

As of right now, my goals for myself professionally are to get over myself and actually start talking to people on the floor, and gain at least one (but aiming for two) clients by March. A personal goal is to be able to do a full depth unassisted tricep dip before the end of the month. I can currently get about 2/3 of the way down, so I'm not too far off, and it's something to work towards. Reasonable goals, and ones I'm very sure I can accomplish.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUTEAFULL 2/9/2013 6:06AM

    you are an incredible writer, I felt like I was right there experiencing it with you. Now I have more insight into what a trainer goes through

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DYSFUNCTIONALME 2/8/2013 12:30PM

  Congratulations on passing your exam! And everything else!!! Sounds like you have made the right decision in becoming a PT ^_^

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REEBMY 2/8/2013 9:38AM

    Wow, your story is incredible! Congratulations on your new career! Isn't it amazing how things work out :) emoticon

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