I am so thankful this year for a very successful launch into my new health and fitness career. I consider this my “re-tirement”, as in getting two new tires on my bicycle so that I can keep moving forward. Traditional retirement doesn’t appeal to me, and I see myself working in the health and fitness field for many years to come; besides I don’t like to golf and travelling doesn’t interest me or my wife.
Although I am new to the profession, I am by no means new to health and fitness. I have been a practitioner and student as a distance runner and group fitness enthusiast for 30 years, and I have observed and learned from some if the best in the industry over these years. I am also fully committed to living and modeling all aspects of a healthy lifestyle.
I was hired by Safari Island Community Center in February, and I began to build my client base through taking prospective clients through a discussion of their goals and health habits, and walking them through a sample workout. Of the 62 free sessions I conducted, 24 people signed up to train with me. There was a learning curve at first, but I gained skills as time progressed. For example, during the months of September and October five of the ten free sessions I conducted resulted in gaining new clients, and one more is considering training with me starting in December.
During the past nine months, working part-time, I have conducted 420 training sessions with clients ranging in age from 12 to 81. Through this experience, I have become more proficient in using various modalities including: TRX, step, BOSU, medicine ball, stability ball, bands, barbells, hand weights, kettlebells, fitness balls, water resistance, foam rollers and body weight training. To further develop my skills, I have signed up for NETA’s kettlebell certification training in February.
I have used my spare time to dig deeper in my studies, and I have earned six additional industry recognized certifications as a result:
NETA Senior Fitness Specialist
NETA Group Fitness Instructor
ISSA Fitness Nutrition Specialist
Silver Sneakers Classic and Circuit
Silver&Fit Signature Series
I have also completed TRX Suspension and Les Mills Body Pump training, and I continue to read and learn from my peers and mentors. Three books that have been particularly helpful to me are:
Miranda Esmonde-White’s book titled “Aging Backwards” emphasizes the importance of static stretching. As a result, I have incorporated the best static stretching practices into my one-on-one sessions with clients and in my group fitness classes.
Neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book “Think, Learn, Succeed”, though not directly related to health and fitness, has given me additional tools to help me lead my clients through the process of behavior change.
The book “Choosing the StrongPath: Reversing the Downward Spiral of Aging” gave me additional insights into helping older clients counteract the effects of sarcopenia through resistance training.
I have also co-developed and presented two seminars: “Strength Training for Older Adults” and “Introduction to Foam Rolling” at Safari Island which have resulted in gaining new personal training clients.
My commitment to education in the field will continue and intensify during the next two years. A chance meeting with Dr. Mallory Fox at the NASM Optima conference in Scottsdale, Arizona this October resulted in my enrolling in the Master of Science in Kinesiology program with a specialization in Geriatric Exercise Science at A.T. Still University.
I want to give a special thank you to Fitness Director Sara Weidemann at Safari Island Community Center who has been a great mentor to me and continues to drill into me the importance of proper form. Also, to Fitness Lead Megan Munoz at the Eden Prairie Community Center who has given me many opportunities to hone my skills and expand my range in teaching group fitness classes for seniors and the general population. And a huge thank you to the many trainers and instructors that I have observed, interacted with, and learned from over the years.