Why I Became a Personal Trainer

Also known as the story of how a girl who daydreamed of trekking around the globe with her Leica ended up hanging around in her hometown helping busy women lead happier, healthier lives.

I didn’t always want to be a personal trainer, but when you think about it there are probably very few kindergartners who dream about a career in fitness. At that age I wanted to be a veterinarian or a zookeeper. I often wondered how you got a job like Jane Goodall’s. Then sometime in middle school I changed my mind and decided I was definitely going to be an artist. This eventually morphed into the desire to be a photographer. I knew I could never work in a studio and I had my heart set on becoming a National Geographic photographer. I spent my childhood flipping through the pages of this amazing magazine and I was mesmerized by the photos. However, I think it was the whole romantic idea of the job that created my desire. The adventure, the danger, the unknown, the far-away locales, the exotic cultures, and capturing a moment in time that will be viewed by millions of readers. What more could a girl ask for?

In high school I became frightfully aware of my family’s health history. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and high cholesterol practically gallop through both sides of my family. I knew I had to take immediate action if I was to have any chance of avoiding these conditions. So I became a vegetarian, started a regular and rigorous workout routine, and eliminated soda from my diet. With these lifestyle changes, came an interest in the subjects of health and fitness and I started to consider personal training as a future career possibility.

By the time college rolled around I had amassed quite a list of potential career options. I probably gave my advisor a great shock when I presented her with the list that included: photojournalist, paramedic, free-lance writer, art historian, computer programmer, archaeologist, investigative reporter, and of course personal trainer. I spent a few years in college taking a wide variety of classes, but by the time I decided to graduate I still had no idea what career path I would pursue. I knew I needed a career that was going to be personally meaningful, creative, and that allowed me to contribute to other people in some way. It also had to provide a continual flow of new challenges and independence. I did not want to do the same old boring thing day after day.

A close family friend always encouraged me to become a personal trainer. She said I would make a great trainer and that she would be the first to hire me. Sadly, she died from cancer while I was in college, but she helped to open my eyes to a problem that faces so many women. I always considered her to be a very successful woman. She had her own business and had many satisfied customers. However, she always struggled with weight and health issues. She tried every new diet invented and purchased all the latest items promising to melt the fat away. Yet, she was never satisfied with the results. She often lamented that she felt like a failure because she could not successfully lose weight. I knew she wasn’t alone. After much contemplation I felt I owed it to her, and the multitude of women like her, to use my passion for fitness to help them fight their battle. That’s when I decide to become certified as a personal trainer and the rest, they say, is history.

So I’m not capturing pictures of tribes in Timbuktu or conflict in Columbia, but I’m satisfied with my current career choice and I enjoy going to work each day. Each client offers a challenge, every session a surprise. I see my job as a chance to make a positive change to people’s lives. I know I’m making a difference in women’s lives by supporting them, while they overcome their fitness challenges. And it’s truly rewarding to see them make improvements in their bodies, minds, and lifestyles.

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