Dear God, what have I done?
There I was, sitting in a room with other hopeful personal trainers and feeling
completely out of place. How had I convinced myself I could do this? I didn’t know
the first thing about personal training. My anatomy knowledge was non-existent.
The only thing I had going for me was a gut instinct telling me I needed to be in that
room. If I wanted to change other peoples’ lives like my trainer had changed mine, I
needed the skills.
My heart and brain were questioning how fast they could get me out the door, but
my gut was persistent. It knew the three years spent obsessively watching Krista as
she trained me was more than just about trying to get the exercises right.
My personal training journey started with a conversation after a sweaty workout
and led me to a three-day weekend course that crammed my brain to bursting. We
covered everything from energy systems to anatomy to program design to
marketing ourselves as trainers and everything in between. I was overwhelmed by
how much I didn’t know, but I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.
Over those three days, what surprised me the most was how much I actually did
know. All those classes spent honing a certain lift or improving my push up had
given me some of the tools I needed to not only explain but also effectively
demonstrate an exercise. This has only improved as I now watch Krista not only as a
client but also as a fellow trainer. I listen to how she words certain cues and how
clients respond to it.
My learning didn’t stop after that weekend course. It was just a springboard that
launched me into several weeks of intense study. I made flash cards, reviewed the
study guide, answered the chapter review questions, and read chapter after chapter
in the textbook.
When my theory exam came around, I didn’t feel ready, but looking back, I’m not
sure I ever would have felt ready. One of the things I’ve learned with being a
personal trainer is you never stop learning. I could have poured over that textbook
for another two weeks and still pulled gold nuggets from it.
Despite my lack of confidence, I did indeed pass the theory exam. One hurdle
jumped, another on the horizon. The practical exam meant putting into practice
what I had learned through the course and what Krista had been teaching me for
Designing a program and filling out a periodization card were daunting tasks. I
almost let the mere thought of them overwhelm me. I was able to pull myself
together and design a program that suited “Maria” nicely.
On the day of the practical, my heart was racing once again. A friend from the gym
was to be my “Maria” and although I was nervous, I wanted to make her – and Krista
It’s intimidating being put on the spot to demonstrate and explain a selection of
exercises. It felt different than helping someone during a workout, yet despite that
odd feeling, I can proudly say I passed and am a certified Personal Training
Specialist. But I’m not slowing down now. There are so many questions I have to
answer about myself: what kind of trainer do I want to be? Do I want to own my
own business someday? How will I market myself?
I don’t have all the answers yet, but I’m taking it one step at a time. I have an
amazing mentor to guide me. Personal training has given me the freedom to expand
and grow. It’s putting me on the spot and forcing me to get comfortable being a
Three years ago, I never imagined I’d be here today. Now, I can’t imagine being