Personal fitness trainer diploma

Simone-LefthandSimone Lefthand

Interview date: August 2013

Graduated ELA: March 2013
Now: Physical Health Coordinator, Wellness Centre, Eden Valley, Alberta

Age: 25 years old

 
ELA: What lead you to want to come take the ELA PFT program?

S: I’ll be honest. I was directionless and I saw the ad in the paper. I made an appointment, and a week later I was in school. I got the funding and everything else worked out, so I went with it. I think there was a light was shinning on the newspaper ad!

My goal was always to work in Eden Valley. It’s been a place that I have wanted to be in, but I wasn’t raised here. They needed something positive in the community.

ELA: You live in Eden Valley, how did you stay motivated to drive all that way to class every day?
S: I’ll be honest. I was directionless and I saw the ad in the paper. I made an appointment, and a week later I was in school. I got the funding and everything else worked out, so I went with it. I think there was a light was shinning on the newspaper ad!

My goal was always to work in Eden Valley. It’s been a place that I have wanted to be in, but I wasn’t raised here. They needed something positive in the community.

ELA: What have you been doing since leaving school?
S: Working on programs that are free to the Eden Valley community. I’ve also been going to wellness symposiums, and doing my group fitness certification, and doing a specialty fitness aboriginal course.

ELA: How do you motivate people to come work out?

S: I like to think that the results motivate people. When I first came here and I trained the boy’s hockey team they HATED me because they had never worked out so hard in their lives, but eventually they saw how well they did with the training. They placed second in the Province. After that, people started getting interested in what I was doing and people starting coming to Zumba. Some of the husbands even joined. However, they were sweating so much that they never came back again.

Word of mouth is mainly how everyone is getting motivated. People are loving how they are feeling and they are excited to share it with others.

ELA: Are there any special methods that you have had to utilize?

S: Facebook has really helped. I will send messages and remind people about things or I will just say hey it’s a nice day, lets go for a run.

I give them Zumba product. T shirts, waterbottles. Just different incentives to tell people that they are doing a good job.

Getting to know everyone has helped too. Also, Flyers work and I put the calendars around the community and hand out calendars to people that I see.

ELA: Have you had to do anything different or special being that it is a really isolated community as well?

S: I find it challenging because of the lack of a good facility. What is beneficial though, is the open space that we have.

Also, we go to the track, the field and the church.

ELA: How does the Community Council support you?

S: The Community Council is all for it. They love what we are doing. They support me 100%. We get together every 2 months and shoot around ideas.

I also help with “Culture Camp”, which is where we basically live like our ancestors.

I am the only physical health person here, in this community. I would love for more people to get the training because we really need more professionals in this field.

ELA: What is the secret to your success?

S: Elevated Learning Academy! ELA was the secret. I also think that being humble has helped, and not just pretending like I know everything. Not being demanding. I don’t step on anyone’s toes.

I really try to work with people and try to be dynamic within the community. I go about and beyond with people with my actions, but not with my words.

ELA: What do you love most about your job?
S: I love the people. I love who I work with. I love the people who take part in the programs that I organize. I love the view. I have a lot of freedom with my position here. I love everything about my job.

ELA: What is your dream in this role and a community as a whole?

S: I want to see a lot of other people that are trained and are as equally motivated as I am to see this community become healthier. I would like tell the nurses to suggest my programs for people.

I want to see an actual fitness facility and more space!

ELA: Sounds like you stay really busy with work, how do you find balance in your life?

S: Cynthia, a fellow previous classmate, and I try to motivate each other. I work out with the people I train. And at the end of the day I just remember what I learned at ELA and try to stay motivated.

I have a basement and I go down there and have time for myself. Or I ride my bike. Even riding my bike to work for ten minutes helps me clear my head.

Alone time is balance for me. It just helps me to regroup.

ELA: What is the biggest challenge that you have had to overcome in your role as Wellness Coordinator?

S: The hardest part is that I don’t have my own facility. The only place we have to train is the church.

I don’t think I have any challenges! I love it! It’s sometimes hard to manage everything. I am starting from the ground up, so just spacing out the time with what I have to do everyday.

I am trying to recruit a few people and train them so that they can take over if I ever leave. I want this community to thrive.

ELA: Has anyone been a mentor to you thus far, or is there anyone that you look up to?
S: My mom, the friends that I made at ELA, and my daughter is my biggest motivation.

ELA: Did you see yourself where you are today when you first enrolled for the Personal Fitness Trainer Diploma program?
S: Yes, I did. I knew that I wanted to work with Aboriginal communities and that was what kept me motivated throughout the program. I believe that if you envision yourself doing something you’ll be more able to achieve it.

ELA: How do you apply the knowledge you gained at ELA in your new role?
S: I apply everything! I like the variety of knowledge…workouts, posture, communication skills, going out of your comfort zone, etc.

ELA: If you could give any advice to students attending Elevated Learning Academy at this time, what would you say to them?
S: I thought I had a lot more time to do the assignments. I thought I had time but I didn’t! Start planning all your assignments ahead of time. Learn all that you can. Don’t think that you know everything. Listen. Pace yourself.

ELA: What advice would you give to people considering entering the fitness industry?
S: Let go of the stigmas of having to be a bodybuilder to work in the industry and the gym. You have to do it for your own wellbeing, not for others. You don’t have to look any particular way, you can just be yourself.

ELA: Would you recommend this program to other people, if so, why?
S: Yes, and I have recommended it to others. I told several people to take it already. People ask me what I do and ask me how I got there and I tell them “Elevated Learning Academy!”