Personal fitness trainer diploma

David-MerinoDavid Merino

Interview date: November 2012
Graduated ELA: June 2012
Now: Personal Fitness Trainer at World Health in Clareview
Age: 22 years old

Secret favourite exercise: Yoga poses to finish off the workout (but don’t tell anyone…shhh…David only does these at home when no one is looking)

ELA: What is your typical day like?
D: Every day is different. I make my own schedule with my clients so I never start at the same time. I usually always finish by 9pm, unless I have some cancelations or some unexpected clients that I want to train. Right now I get an average of 4-7 clients per day. If I have 7 clients then I will be at the Gym for about 10 hours between training and spending the time to write programs and learning new exercises. At some point I try to fit in my own work outs, but that doesn’t always happen because I am so busy.

ELA: Is there something that you learned in the program that is especially helpful to you now as a trainer?
D: I use periodization a lot!

I also use different assessments all the time. At World Health we are required to do basic assessments for all new clients. But with what I learned at Elevated Learning academy, I can do other assessments so that help my clients even better. When the client sees the extra knowledge I have, they see more value in hiring me to be their personal trainer.

ELA: What’s is your favourite part of being a Personal Fitness Trainer?
D: Training. Training is my favourite part.

I write the program and I visualize everything in my head, but it’s always different from actually seeing it in action with the client. Seeing the client enjoying, working hard, and having fun, is the best part. That makes my day!

ELA: What types of clients are you able to achieve the best results with?
D: Most of my clients right now are females with weight loss and toning as their goal. I see the most results with these clients.

ELA: How do you motivate people to come work out at the gym?
D: I just try to give them a good work out. If they are tired at the end of the work out, that is good. That is what I want. I also want them to be happy and to have enjoyed the work out so that they want to come back.

I HAVE been called a “drill sergeant” and “slave driver.” My clients claim that they are saying it with love. 🙂

ELA: Can you give us an example of a client you are really proud of and why?
D: I actually just finished working with a client who did World Health’s Fall Fitness Challenge, where people try to lose as much weight as possible and the winner receives a prize. She didn’t have a lot of weight to lose so she might not win, but she did lose a few pounds and a lot of centimeters all over the body. She was pretty satisfied with the results.

When she first started coming to me she was fit, but she wasn’t passionate about fitness. I showed her new exercises and had her do things she didn’t think she could do. She not only increased her fitness level but has also adopted a new passion for fitness as a whole.

ELA: What is the secret to your success?
D: It is hard to answer that question right now because I have only been working in the industry for 6 months. I have heard from my clients and other trainers that it must be my charm that helps me succeed. Those aren’t my words but theirs! Lol!

Aside from my charm, my workouts keep my clients coming back to me. They are hard, but achievable. People like seeing that they can do something more than they expected and it gets them curious about what else is possible.

ELA: What is your favorite pre/post work out food?
D: After a work out, to get my protein, I eat a peanut butter sandwich. It’s not my favorite, but its what is in my budget right now. Before working out I will go with a regular meal or some fruit to give me energy. Either that, or I will go to Tim’s and get a small coffee.

ELA: What is your favourite music to work out to?
D: When I work out though, I put my ear phones in, so that I’m not listenting to the same music that plays at the gym everyday while I’m at work. There is a song by Kanye West and Jay-Z called “HAM.” It has a great beat and helps me work out hard.

ELA: What are your fitness/gym pet peeves?
D: Aside from the music at my gym, you mean?

We have handles for cable machine that are all made of steel, but there are also a few rubber handles. These rubber ones are easier on the hands and I prefer to use them with my clients. Unfortunately, whenever it comes time to use them, I can never locate two at the same time. One is always missing. I have to run all over the gym to find it. I’ve even prepared both handles prior to the workout but when it comes to that particular exercise, one of the handles always disappears. I always find after the exercise is complete, in the corner of the gym somewhere.

ELA: What has been your most embarrassing training moment?
D: I was training this girl once and wanted to really impress her. The session went really well, and I wanted to take the last 15 minutes to show her a new exercise. I really hyped it up and told her how amazing and awesome it the exercise was that I was going to show her. All of a sudden, as it’s time to show her the exercise, my mind goes blank and I can’t remember it. So I turned to her and I just told her I couldn’t remember it so we did another exercise instead. She looked at me very strangely, especially after how much I had hyped up the other exercise. We were both so excited, but then I couldn’t remember it! So embarrassing!

ELA: How has being a PFT affected your romantic life? Has being a PFT helped your romantic pursuits?
D: I can’t say it hasn’t helped! It definitely helps. Girls like it when I tell them that I am a personal trainer. Sometimes I’d see a girl that I normally wouldn’t know how to approach, but now I can just tell her to come see me at the gym and that I will put her through a workout.

ELA: What do you do to pick yourself back up when you are feeling unmotivated to workout?
D: I either go to Tim’s and get a coffee, or I do a warm up. I trick myself and say instead of working out today, I am going to do 15 minutes of cardio. I will then turn on my music and warm up and by the time that 15 minutes is done I want to work out more because I feel good. So its kind of a mind game I play with myself. I just tell myself, “Just 5 more minutes.” I will keep telling myself that and before you know it, I have done a full workout.

ELA: Did you see yourself where you are today when you first enrolled for the Personal Fitness Trainer Diploma program?
D: I didn’t. I had absolutely no idea where I’d be or if I would end up being a personal trainer. I didn’t want to go back to doing the odd jobs just to pay the bills. Once I started working at World Health, everything just fell into place. Starting a career gave me a bit more of a reason to wake up in the morning rather than just trying to pay the bills. I feel like I was doing something meaningful, and I didn’t expect that right out of school. I was hoping that this is how the future would look, but not right away. But here I am, and I love it!

ELA: How do you find balance in your life?
D: I only have one day off from the gym right now, which is Saturday. So I turn everything that has to do with fitness off. I go spend time with my family and my nephews. I also spend time with the girlfriend. I just turn the fitness off so that by the time Sunday rolls around, I am ready to get back to work again.

When I leave the gym I try to turn my fitness brain off so that I can focus on other things and relax.

ELA: You work a lot! Do you do that by choice?
D: It’s both. Some trainers will just come in an write the program on the spot for their clients, but I want to come in early and really think about the program and the exercises I am going to give the clients that day. I like to not only prepare the program, but the setting too. So I guess it’s by choice, because its not required by the gym. I feel like I have to do it to be a good trainer. It’s about working with my clients in the best way possible.

ELA: What is the biggest challenge that you have had to overcome as a Personal Fitness Trainer?
D: I think it would was confidence. Most of my clients are older than me so I need to be extra confident so that, even though I am young, they can see that I know what I am talking about. That was the biggest thing that I had to overcome in the first few months. I feel that now I can talk to clients with much more confidence.

ELA: How do you feel about the World Health team?
D: My Fitness Manager is great and always tells us to come talk to him if we are struggling with anything. He was a trainer before becoming a fitness manager and knows what we are going through.

The other great thing about working at this gym is that all the trainers have a pretty good relationship. When I do struggle with a client I can ask another trainer what exercise they would recommend, so I am always learning new exercises and different techniques.

ELA: Is there anything about being a Personal Fitness Trainer that you didn’t expect or came as a surprise?
D: Personal Fitness Trainer? No. Working at World Health? Yes. I knew that there would be high sales expectations, but I didn’t expect it to be as much as it is. I have been pretty good with that though. I feel like because I am focusing on my clients, the sales numbers just come. There are other trainers that are so focused on the numbers that their training is negatively affected. They are always trying to sell, but don’t put the value in the training.

So that is what surprised me. I didn’t expect to have to think about sales so much that sometimes it is overwhelming. I have been able to meet all the numbers so far though, so that is good.

ELA: Has anyone been a mentor to you thus far, or is there anyone that you look up to?
D: During my practicum I was overseen by Curtis Laughren, who is the fitness manager at the Macleod World Health location. He provided me with some great guidance and I learned a great deal from him.

ELA: If you could give any advice to students attending Elevated Learning Academy at this time, what would you say to them?
D: Try to suck in as much information as you can because it is all going to be useful.

ELA: What advice would you give to people considering becoming a Personal Fitness Trainer?
D: If you have a passion for fitness and want to make a career out of it, then Elevated Learning Academy is the best place to go. It is that stepping stone that will get you started and then you can work on your own from there. Elevated Learning Academy is all you need to make your passion become your career. (I swear, I didn’t make him say this – Julie R.)

ELA: How do you think our program compares to others?
D: I know some people who graduated from NAIT. Their program is 2 years in length, in comparison to Elevated Learning Academy’s, which is 4 months long. So far, I feel pretty confident with my knowledge. Of course I don’t have more knowledge than them, but when it comes to working at World Health, they maybe use only 25% of the knowledge they learned in school and I get to use all of what I learned. I feel good about that!

ELA: Would you recommend this program to other people, if so, why?
D: I would recommend this program to everyone! It is the best thing if you want to be a personal trainer. It was a hard 4 months, but it was the best 4 months. I used to hate school and thought it was a waste of time, but going to Elevated Learning Academy was the best educational experience that I have had. What they teach there is everything that you need to be a trainer. You don’t waste your time learning things that you don’t need.