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What made you choose a career in personal fitness training?
Fitness has been an integral part of my life for many years. After college, I began taking martial arts classes, specifically Japanese karate. I loved the intense workouts of each class and the discipline it taught me. It also allowed me to get a sense of my body and understand how it works. After getting my Black Belt, I became an instructor and was able to pass my knowledge on to my students. Wanting to continue to challenge my body, I began training for a marathon, something I honestly didn’t think I could do. But through the discipline I learned from Karate, I completed 4 marathons. As I continued experimenting with other fitness concepts, I found that other areas of my life began to change for the better. My relationship with my family, co-workers and overall demeanor were so much better. I wanted others to feel the great satisfaction of not only accomplishing a goal, but how being fit and healthy translates into every aspect of your life. I began to learn more of how my body works. How to train to get optimal results. After becoming a CPT, I continued taking courses to learn as much as I could to be able to pass my on knowledge to my clients. That’s why I became a trainer; to give my clients the tools to enjoy the benefits of living a happy, healthy life.
How long have you been a Personal Trainer?
I developed a passion for fitness while working as a teacher and coach in Boston. When I moved to LA 18yrs. ago, I decided to become certified to help others enjoy the benefits of good health and fitness. It certainly has been, and continues to be, a rewarding experience.
What qualities set you apart from other personal trainers? Education? Experience?
I believe that “ reading” people may make me somewhat different than many of the other trainers. There are so many trainers, many of whom have a lot of knowledge and many have years of experience and some have both, but the simple idea of listening and observing seems to have escaped many of them. I don’t believe in a “cookie cutter” or “my way or the highway” approach. Each client is unique, with different goals and different limitations. It’s watching and listening, to both their voices and their body, that tells me when to push and when to back off. It’s a willingness to adjust, many times on the spot, to get them to the desired goal. It’s my energy and enthusiasm for what I do that resonates with each client.
What made you choose the IFPA?
When I moved to LA, I decided to become certified as a personal trainer. I spoke to a few trainers at the gym I joined, and IFPA was highly recommended. I must say I have enjoyed the contacts I have had with your personnel and the courses I have taken. Each person I have spoken with over the years has been very helpful and professional.
If you have taken more than our PFT course, what has been your favorite certification course?
My favorite continuing education course was Prescriptive Stretching by Kristian Berg. Stretching has become a chore to many people whereas it should be something that is part of our day. When we were young, maybe the need to stretch was not as necessary. As we get older and try to maintain a fitness level, stretching has become paramount to help “eliminate pain and prevent injury.” Kristian’s targeting stretches were of particular interest to me. I currently use many of these with my clients.
What are some adjectives your clients would use to describe you?
Punctual, dependable, passionate, knowledgeable, understanding, patient, prepared, flexible, enthusiastic and obviously loving what I’m doing.
What aspect of personal fitness training do you like most?
Although I have done group training and boot camps, I prefer the one on one sessions as it allows me to interact on a more personal level with my clients. I feel these sessions offer a more comprehensive approach to training. I discuss nutrition, stress triggers, the importance of sleep, consistency and a general sense of lifestyle and its affects on training. By getting to know my clients and their day to day routine, I can address issues they may have and suggest solutions that will keep them continue on a healthy, fit track.
How has the PFT business changed since you started?
I believe that training has morphed into a number of different avenues. There are more options that a trainer can choose from to target the type of workout the client needs to accomplish his goals. HIIT training, circuit training, and crossfit training are just some of the programs from which a trainer can draw to create individual workouts. This also means that the trainer must be knowledgeable in the various disciplines by continuing with his education. PFT has become an increasingly challenging and competitive business and only those who are dedicated and want the best for their clients will succeed.
What is your best success story?
Every client I can help realize their dreams and accomplish their goals is a success story. But there is one particular client who stands out. He is a 19yr. old, extremely overweight student. When we started his weight had reached 320lbs. My biggest challenge was motivation and trust. He had been overweight his entire life. This is all he knew. This is who he was. He had a number of issues that were tied to his weight; low self esteem, anger, apathy and more. After 1yr. of training and a weight loss of nearly 100pds., he is a completely different person, inside and out. His confidence and self- esteem are a joy to see. The anger is gone and he is happy and embracing his healthy lifestyle. He has given me as much as I have given him.
How do you envision growing your personal training business?
I wrote travel and fitness tips for a magazine, Vision, which is no longer in print. I would give tips to businessmen on how to maintain their fitness and nutrition while on the road. I’ve wanted to bring some unique fitness ideas into the workplace. I developed a program called, “Fit Break with Bruce.” I introduced this to the staff of the LA Rams and Legends, the company responsible for building their new stadium. Simply put, it is designed for employees who spend much of their day sitting at their desks. It is 15-20 minutes of movements, done at their desks with no preparation, no change of clothes and no clean up. It’s goal is to increase focus, energy and boost mood to ultimately translate into a more productive worker. You can check out my website; www.fitbreakwithbruce.wordpress.com Still a work in progress.
What was the hardest challenge you had to overcome in your personal training career?
Realizing I probably won’t be batting .1000! Like many other things in life, the idea of a “quick fix” is a roadblock to a number of clients. Once they decide to get fit and healthy, some clients want it now. These clients are all gung ho at the beginning, often having to be held back so as not to injure themselves. I try to have them focus on setting realistic, short term goals and celebrating those when they are accomplished. But many are not in it for the long run: think New Years Resolution. Every year getting fit and healthy is number 1 and is number 1 in failures. It’s frustrating, but I have come to grips that not everyone is ready for the journey.
What is your best advice to someone just starting their career as a personal trainer?
Do it because you love it. Do it because you have a true desire to help people. You have the opportunity to change people’s lives. If you’re in it to make easy money, which for that reason probably won’t happen, find something else. You’re a teacher as well as a trainer. You’ll need patience and understanding because some clients may be difficult. But the rewards are overwhelming.