Sharon, give a little background history of yourself.
I am a retired executive-level management professional in pursuit of my second career, which is actually my life’s passion. My fitness background includes a lifelong personal commitment to health and fitness. I was an accomplished sprinter/hurdler and basketball point guard at the High School and Collegiate levels. Beyond maintaining my own fitness activities that includes, cycling, weight lifting, and jogging; I enjoy African Drumming, playing the didgeridoo, reading, dancing, fishing, and target shooting. I also enjoy cooking and spending quality time with my family and friends.
What made you decide to pursue this area of study (i.e. Personal Fitness Training)?
My love of physical activity, people, and working in a service-oriented environment made Personal Fitness Training the perfect career choice for me. I often provided tips and suggestions to others while working out in the fitness clubs and in my neighborhood. And then one day, I decided that this might make a perfect second career for me. I can stay active; assist others; and develop my knowledge base about the body, nutrition, fitness and exercise program design – for me, this was a great opportunity. Philosophically, I believe that the dedication and commitment required by fitness professionals to motivate and assist others to become healthier and to achieve self-efficacy is a calling. What I am trying to convey is that to me, this is work, but it doesn’t feel like it. It is a joy to work in this field. As they say, “if a person pursues a career that they love; they will never work a day in their life.”
What made you to decide to pursue this interest in the Personal Fitness Trainer program at ACC?
I began researching specific information about the Health and Fitness career field and particularly, Personal Fitness Training using the Internet and by talking to the Fitness Trainers who worked in my fitness club. I soon realized that there were many paths one could travel to achieve my career goal.
The options included: (1) independent study of the certification textbooks and distance learning materials offered by various NCCA – accredited and U. S. Department of Labor recognized certifying organizations; (2) attend a PFT training academy; and (3) attend training at an accredited institution of higher learning such as ACC. The next step was to identify what I wanted to achieve and which approach would work best for me.
Professionally, I wanted to learn applications that extended far beyond the art of demonstrating and instructing clients on the exercise movement and execution. I wanted the classroom and laboratory experience of learning assessment procedures, risk stratification, exercise physiology, kinesiology, the wellness paradigm, and standards, concepts, and operations in the Fitness Industry. In other words, I was looking for a comprehensive educational program. I wanted to be able to apply critical thinking and sound training principles in a decisive and professional manner. I wanted to be able to sort facts from hype; assure a quality and effective training experience for my clients. The ACC program offered everything I needed, quality instruction and a comprehensive classroom and practical experience with the benefit of a structured internship program.
What was the hardest/worst part of the program?
For me, the hardest part of the program was the commute (44 miles round-trip). The most difficult part of the curriculum for me was learning the biomechanics of the scapulo-thoracic and glenohumeral joints.
What was the best/most beneficial part of the program?
Every aspect of this program is great! The Fitness Industry and Operations course, Athletic Performance Enhancement course (Exercise Program Design and Client Training Lab), and the 225-hour Practicum were the most beneficial parts of the program for me. It is really difficult to select a single part.
Are you currently employed as a Personal Fitness Trainer? If so, at what capacity? If not, why not?
Yes, I am currently employed part time at MediFit Corporation providing Wellness Management for Dell Corporation Campuses at Round Rock and Austin, TX. I provide part time fitness training services to elderly and special population (chronically ill and physically disabled) low-income clients of Family Eldercare, Incorporated.
If you had a single piece of advice for someone interested in being a Personal Fitness Trainer, what would it be?
Do what you love. Be willing and prepared to dedicate yourself to the greatest extent possible to be, learn, and do. As with everything, you get out of any educational or training experience what you put into the situation.
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