How I Became a Personal Trainer
April 9, 2019
Alright. SO, this is the long story of how I became a personal trainer. I didn’t ever have any expectation of making this a career for myself, but it also took some time for me to realize where my passions lay and to find myself. But, I am so proud of myself for how far I’ve come, I am now in a position where I feel like I found the perfect career path, and I am so excited to see how far it takes me.
*DISCLAIMER: My story does discuss abusive relationships and suicide. Please don’t continue reading if that is upsetting for you. Select names have been changed.
My story started when I met a boy… Yeah, I know. Cheezy, but stick with me on this one! We’ll call this boy Chad. Chad and I met during, well initially my sophomore year of high school, but started seeing each other my junior year. At first, everything seemed great, but looking back, I think I was just enamored by the fact that this cute older boy liked me. Well, I ignored A LOT of red flags… like a lot. I could go into it, but it was things like still texting other girls and exchanging pictures with said girls, not getting along with the majority of his own family, and manipulating me into thinking I was being crazy about all the little red flags I was seeing. Even now, looking back, I had every right and more to be upset. But for some reason I stuck with it!
After Chad graduated high school, he was going to school In Montreal, Quebec. For the time that he was gone, not only did he sleep with another girl, but he stayed with me long distance the whole time! Super fun stuff, let me tell you! But before his freshman year ended, he expressed that he wanted me to go to school out there, as well, and move in with him. At this point, I didn’t know about the other girl, I was finishing my senior year in high school, and I had no other plans after graduation since I was still considering four different colleges, so I very stupidly agreed.
That next summer, everything was pretty much a disaster. I spent every last bit of money I had saved up and maxed out my credit card to purchase things for our new apartment in Montreal. Simultaneously, Chad and I were constantly fighting. It was always stupid things, but somehow we always worked it out until we fought about it the next day or next week. I knew my parents weren’t thrilled about me going to not only another state for this guy, but another country. They weren’t fans of him from the beginning, but I think they were just giving me the opportunity to learn this lesson myself.
By the end of the summer, I pretty much didn’t want to go. But I had already committed to a university out there, and I made a verbal and monetary commitment to Chad that I would be living with him. I felt stuck, so I went.
Even only a month in, those initial red flags were exasperated and I was miserable. I had depression so bad that I was suicidal. There were a couple explicit nights that remember where we were fighting so badly that not only did I consider really committing suicide, but the police were even called to our apartment on domestic violence calls. I remember not even being “allowed” to call my mom to cry to her because Chad didn’t want me to “talk shit” about him, so I would have to sneak to the building’s laundry room just to call her. I never even left the apartment unless I was just going to the grocery store, because even going to class in jeans and a t-shirt, I was getting called a “slut”, getting accused of dressing for other guys, and being harassed to tears until I didn’t want to go anymore. These examples hardly scratch the surface, and of course more happened, but I’m sick even just thinking about it. I felt so alone, and above all else, I felt more stuck than ever. It’s crazy looking back, because I can’t believe that someone with such strong will as myself, let someone else berate me, belittle me, and make me feel so absolutely worthless that I didn’t want to live.
After moving there the last week of August 2016, I had already decided by the first week of October that I would not be staying for another semester. I wanted to leave immediately, but I also wanted to wait for my dad to drive out and help me move home to Colorado. I wanted the safety of being with him, and I missed my family so much. I made the decision to wait until the end of the semester. Sometimes Chad and I got along, but most of the time we didn’t. Things never got better, some nights certainly got worse, but at least I knew I was no longer what he saw as his “property” or girlfriend, and I would be leaving soon.
After I finally moved back to Colorado, Chad was begging to have me back, but even within the first week of being home, I had time to realize my worth. I was surrounded by friends and family who really truly loved me, I started going to the gym again on a regular basis, I was already SO much happier, and I was re-establishing my roots in Colorado. I was already feeling healthier, happier, and more confident.
Going to the gym was such a big step as I hadn’t been since before leaving for Montreal, and it helped my ongoing depression subside.
I was working out at a gym near my parent’s house and became good friends with one of the personal trainers there: Neil Gamboa. I trained a few sessions with him until I felt that I could confidently walk into the gym and structure my own workout. Neil had been training there for a while, and from what I knew, he loved his job. I would say he is the one that definitely inspired me to become a personal trainer, and I definitely owe that credit to him.
I went home one night, and just started Googling everything from what to learn, what jobs in the area were available, and so on. That very night, I ordered my study materials from the American Council of Exercise (ACE) with the little bit of money I had saved up from working, again.
After months of studying, I took my test and passed on my first attempt!!! This for me was such an amazing achievement as I’ve never tested well. I put the time in, I knew my stuff, and that ultimately proved it. This was one of the proudest moments in my life. I was officially a certified personal trainer.
The day I passed my certification test, I immediately started looking for a training job. I was so excited to get to start helping people the way fitness had helped myself. I applied to almost every gym that was accepting applications in the area as a personal trainer. I got one interview from a big-box gym in the area, and a call from a smaller one. No other gyms responded. The smaller one offered me a front desk position rather than training, and the big-box gym told me I would have to work in a sales position for some undetermined amount of time until I got good at that, then I would be allowed to train. This was such a huge knock to my confidence because I had just put SO much time and effort into getting my certification, but now I was basically being told that I didn’t have enough experience. So, my next question was, “How do I get experience when no one will give me a chance to get any, without any?”
What you need to know about me at this point is that I have a lot of determination and I am fairly stubborn. This frustration led me to Joshua Conn with Solid Fitness. From his website to his reviews, he had clearly built a successful business from the ground up and I wanted to learn from him. I promptly emailed him strictly just to meet to get advice, we met, and he told me his tips and tricks to growing a personal training business. I went home that night and built my website. I decided that I wasn’t going to stand around and wait for the opportunity to do what I had worked so hard towards doing, so, I was going to give myself my own opportunity. Josh gave me the generous offer to use his studio gym space to grow my business, was so kind in helping me get started as a personal trainer, and I am so grateful to him for all that he did for me. While I no longer use the Solid Fitness gym space, I appreciate everyone there and how they helped me grow my business to what it is now.
Now, at 21 years old, I am in a very happy healthy relationship, I love owning my own personal training business, and I am living a life depression-free and really truly happy. The gym gave me my life back and set the tone for my future. My goal is to help people like myself. I want to help inspire other people to feel happier, healthier, and more confident on a daily basis. That is why I became a personal trainer.