Interview date: June 20, 2016
Graduated ELA: February 2016
Now: Nutrition Practitioner at Simply Life (Airdire) and Personal Trainer at Snap Fitness (Airdrie)
Age: 27 years old
Favourite healthy snack/meal: I like making energy bites – with peanut butter and oats. Or veggies and hummus, that’s always a good one.
ELA: What led you to want to come take the ELA ANS program?
K: I was living and working in Saskatchewan as a personal trainer and there were always questions from my clients about nutrition. It was always outside my scope of practice though and I knew I had to take some kind of nutritional education or program. I came across ELA online and the accelerated/condensed course really appealed to me. So I moved out to Calgary and took the program!
ELA: What have you been doing since leaving school?
K: I completed my practicum hours at Simply for Life and was immediately hired on after, which was great. I work a couple of days a week there, a couple days as a trainer at Snap Fitness and I teach spin classes too. I’ve just been very busy teaching, coaching and filling my days with clients!
ELA: What is your typical day like?
K: At Simply for Life, I have my clients come in on a weekly basis for their 15 minute sessions. We have a chat, talk about how their past week went and set up a weekly goal, do weigh-ins etc. I’ve built really great relationships with my clients! I usually see about 20-30 people a day but it’s a really high energy and fun atmosphere. When I started, a lot of clients transitioned over to me and now I have a lot of clients that come from Snap Fitness. It’s nice because then I can help with both their fitness and nutrition.
ELA: What's your favourite part of being a Nutrition practitioner?
K: Building relationships with the clients for sure! I get really involved with them and they really open up to me. It’s kind of more like a counselling session. I love getting to help them and really look after their entire wellbeing. The clients have made it so worthwhile and I actually learn a lot from them too.
ELA: Have you received or are you working on getting any additional certifications/education?
K: Eventually! I took this course to see if nutrition was my field and I’m really enjoying it so far. I’ve been looking into becoming a Registered Dietitian, so maybe that in the future.
ELA: What's your favourite thing about working at Simply for Life?
K: Honestly, I just really love the company and their program is great. It’s a “food first” kind of place, with no supplements and no pre-packaged food. It is food that anyone can buy at the grocery store and you’re never starving. It’s exactly the kind of information that I learned in the program and I’m just applying it in day to day life.
ELA: Can you give us an example of a client you are really proud of and why?
K: Well, there are lots, so many. Recently, I’ve been doing this outdoor boot camp with clients from Simply for Life and Snap Fitness. Some of the clients have never exercised before in their life and are really just starting from the ground up. This one client has never done a pushup and now she can! It’s so cool to see the progress and the weight loss – it’s just amazing.
ELA: Has anyone been a mentor to you thus far, or is there anyone that you look up to?
K: Definitely, my old boss (Krystal) in Saskatchewan! She owned the gym and took me under her wing when I first started personal training – just really showed me the ropes. She was also the one who got me interested in the nutritional side as well.
ELA: What do you do to pick yourself back up when you are feeling unmotivated to work out and eat healthy?
K: If I’m having trouble, I take a couple of breaths and think to myself about how great I will feel after. If I’m feeling extremely unmotivated, I have a great support system in my boyfriend. Lots of clients don’t have that spousal support and it’s so important to have that support system to motivate and encourage you!
ELA: You also work as a trainer at Snap Fitness. How do you manage both jobs and find balance in your life?
K: It’s really great that I work Monday to Friday, so I have the weekends for myself. Sometimes, when you’re first starting out in this industry, you need to be really flexible for your clients, just to get it going for you. Once you have an established clientele, you can be pickier with your hours. I used to work 6-7 days a week but now I can pick my times and have more time for myself.
ELA: Do you find a lot of your clients at Snap Fitness ask for nutritional advice too?
K: Oh yeah! They go hand in hand and you must absolutely have both! If you’re coming to the gym but not eating well, you won’t see the results you want.
ELA: What is the biggest challenge that you have had to overcome as a Nutrition practitioner?
K: I would say the behavior change in clients. You can give them all the tools they need but if they aren’t ready to make that change, then they won’t be successful. You can only encourage and motivate to the best of your ability. It’s up to them to make that final change and that’s my biggest struggle for sure! People just quit because they don’t see being healthy as their biggest priority, which can be frustrating!
ELA: Is there anything about being a Nutrition practitioner that you didn't expect or came as a surprise?
K: The extreme highs and lows. When people are feeling unmotivated or struggling, I take that on personally. It’s sad and hard to deal with. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the high highs. I mean, I cry with my clients when they meet a goal or have successes. I never thought I’d be so emotionally involved.
ELA: Did you see yourself where you are today when you first enrolled for the Applied Nutrition Science Diploma program?
K: No! I never really even thought about working in a nutritional clinic. I just thought it would be another component I could add to the gym and my personal training clients. It’s kind of amazing how you can just work strictly on nutrition. I never expected to be here but I’m loving it!
ELA: What is the secret to your success?
K: I think you need to love what you do. It’s amazing where you can get, once you figure that out. It took me awhile but the health and fitness industry is my drive in life. Once you figure that out, everything else falls into place.
ELA: Is there something that you learned in the program that is especially helpful to you now?
K: Goal setting and coaching! It was so beneficial. It’s exactly what our meetings at Simply for Life are like. I use these skills every single day.
ELA: What are your long-term goals? Any big career aspirations?
K: I’ve thought about maybe going back to school to become a Registered Dietitian. I would also like to own my own fitness and nutrition facility in the Kootney’s (BC).
ELA: If you could give any advice to students attending Elevated Learning Academy at this time, what would you say to them?
K: Don’t miss any classes! It’s such a condensed course, if you miss one, you can get so far behind. Just focus! It’s such a short time that if you’re going to do it, do it right. Commit to every class.
ELA: What advice would you give to people considering entering the nutrition industry?
K: This field is good for anyone! If you are interested for your own benefit or for a career, it’s a great field to be in.
ELA: Would you recommend this program to other people, if so, why?
K: I would! In fact, I’ve already done so. You might have got a few phone call from people that I’ve recommend the course for. It’s such a great place to start! It clears up a lot of the controversial issues that you see online or in the media. You’re also given awesome resources to use throughout the course and afterwards. It’s such a great course to get started in the nutrition field.