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Rick Degregorio February 2013

What made you choose the IFPA?

IFPA was recommended to me by a fitness center owner that I highly respected. I also did some research and found that IFPA is on the cutting edge of the fitness industry. They have provided all the necessary training programs to make me successful.

How long have you been a Personal Trainer?

I’ve been training and training other people for all levels of competition. When I reached 72 years old, I decided to get certified and work with senior fitness. I’ve been an IFPA Certified Personal Fitness Trainer for 13 years.

What is your best success story?

I trained and managed the Nevada State Light Heavyweight Champion. But my most successful accomplishment was training a 94 year old lady to be able to reach into a supermarket cooler and retrieve a gallon of milk without asking for assistance.

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

Everything under the sun evolves, so has the role of the PFT. In the past, the only things the PFT needed to know was the anatomy and how to structure a workout schedule. Today, that is a given. The PFT needs to have excellent communication skills, the personality to develop new relationships and sustain ongoing ones. They have to be educated in all phases of health and wellness. We have become a combination of a medical aide and a beautician.

What made you choose a career in personal fitness training?

It’s a matter of creditability. I’ve been a personal trainer (without being certified) for 55 years but I was not a true professional. When I stopped doing what I did to pay the bills, I decided I was an old man who still liked to train people.

How has the PFT business changed since you started?

The PFT of today are better educated than when I started. The equipment we use is more scientific and easier to use. Our clients expect more than just pushing iron. If you go back to when I first started lifting, the changes are more graphic. The first gym I walked into, the only equipment was a few wooden benches and a wooden incline press bench. The squat rack was an automobile rim with a three inch by four feet pipe welded to it, with a v angle on top. The same for the bench press – one size fit all. The ab machine was a board with a strap around the end. On the wall, strips of wood were at different heights. You had to place the wood at the desired incline to do crunches. On the floor, plates were different weights, along with a number of bars (some short and other long). Part of the workout was setting up to do the workout. The gym was in a building that no useful commercial purpose. The year was 1942, in Oakland, California.

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

My background in fitness was more of a competitive nature. My thinking was you train to compete, not for a shower. It was hard to always peek for a completion too. Above all, the hardest challenge was that I had to re-invent myself to work with seniors.