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Kimberlee Bethany Bonura, PhD, RYT

1. What qualities set you apart from other personal trainers? Education? Experience?

A unique combined background of practical experience in fitness and fitness training, and a PhD in Educational Psychology with a research emphasis in Sport and Exercise Psychology. I have had students tell me that they often feel that the field is divided between practitioners and researchers, and that I bring a nice sense of harmony between the two components of exercise science.

I also have a unique focus of mindfulness and gentle, holistic wellness and exercise, based on my own long-term yoga practice and training/experience as a yoga instructor. I focus on Chair Yoga and other forms of gentle/adapted fitness with older adults, to support healthy aging across the lifespan, through fitness.

2. What is your best advice to someone just starting their career as a personal trainer?

Figure out what you love and focus on the parts of fitness that make you feel like you are making a contribution. Some people love working with athletes – or children – or in gym settings – or with older adults – or with disabled individuals – but not all settings are right for all fitness instructors / fitness trainers. Identify what you love about fitness and the population with whom you feel best prepared and equipped to work with.

Always stay open to feedback and constructive criticism. Sometimes, you may think you are doing a good job, but your clients/students may feel otherwise. Listen to them, even when it is hard. Be open to growth and improvement. Mastery is a process and an aspiration, but if you think you have gotten there – then you are overconfident. Be aware of your limitations and always keep your eyes open for your own blind spots. We all, always, have room for more growth, in our own fitness, and in how we inspire fitness in others.

3.  What made you choose a career in personal fitness training?

My mother. She is a 100% disabled veteran. We were in a yoga class together, and the instructor was pushing her too hard – we heard a pop – later that week, she was having surgery to reconstruct her knee. I wanted to learn more about fitness to keep my mother safe and well in exercise, and to help others improve their quality of life through safe, accessible fitness programs.

4.   What made you chose the IFPA?

IFPA offers a wonderful variety of fitness training programs – the Tai Chi / Qi Gong was one of the first fitness trainings I completed with IFPA. I have learned and grown from every IFPA course I have completed.

5.  What was the hardest challenge you had to overcome in your personal training career?

Feeling that I do not “fit in” in gyms – I have never been a gym-goer – I started as a yoga student and then yoga teacher. I do not like aerobics classes, and due to a lifetime history of some chronic conditions, I do not like to run or push my body to exhaustion, because then I end up sick and worn down. So I am not the traditional “super-fit” fitness trainer. That can be an intimidating group with whom to engage. However, this also helps me relate to the students I primarily work with – older adults, and individuals with chronic illness and other conditions. In many cases, these individuals need support in a gentle, adaptive way that respects their bodies without risking injury. I am profoundly aware of the tightrope balance between not enough exercise to help, and too much exercise, which can injure.

Kimberlee Bethany Bonura, PhD Triple-Certified Yoga Instructor, Registered with Yoga Alliance & The International Association of Yoga Therapists
Certified Personal Trainer (AFAA)
Certified Group Fitness Instructor (IFPA)
Certified Group Kickboxing Instructor (AFAA)
Certified Tai Chi / Qi Gong Instructor (IFPA)
Certified Senior Fitness Specialist (IFPA)
Certified Weight Management Instructor (IFPA)
Certified in Prenatal and Youth Fitness (AFAA)
Certified Anger Resolution Therapist (CAR)
Reiki Master (Usui System)