Becoming a personal trainer to get into shape?

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I'm contemplating pursuing a personal trainer certification and am interested in hearing other's experiences that may be related to my own (those who are personal trainers, those who are currently studying to be a personal trainer, etc.)

A little about myself: I'm 32, married, have a very active toddler, am a self-proclaimed book worm... and am obese (~220 pounds at 5'6"). After having my toddler, I made a drastic career change and went from being a corporate, ladder-climbing career woman to part-time massage therapist. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new career. Because of my career change, I have spent the last few years becoming more involved in the world of health and while I am very aware of how important it is to stay active, I struggle to practice what I preach.

While picking my brain lately to try to determine why I have such a hard time motivating myself to stay active, I realized that when I do have rare moments of free-time, I'd much rather bury my nose in an anatomy book and learn. I know, I'm a dork... but for me, keeping my mind busy is much more fulfilling than walking in circles around my neighborhood (or partaking in other physically-oriented options). Many years ago, I was in the Army... so I'm no stranger to physical fitness. I am well aware of the benefits of living an active lifestyle. I just much prefer to sit with a book and put knowledge in my brain :-).

So, that got me to thinking... maybe I should pursue a personal trainer certification. I feel like it's the perfect gateway to taking advantage of what has always motivated me (acquiring more knowledge) in order to not only get into shape myself, but to eventually use my new-found knowledge to help others. I feel that by training to be a personal trainer, I'd be forced to practice what I'm learning in order to be the best at what I do. And I figure, what have I got to lose? Overall, getting certified doesn't seem to cost a huge amount of money. Lord knows that I've spent countless amounts of money trying to lose weight other ways. Plus, I think that the "strengthening" aspect of personal training is a great compliment to the "therapeutic" aspect of a massage therapist career. I've been looking into the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) certification, as I've heard that it is the "gold standard" of personal trainer certifications.

Anyone else out there on the same trek? Any other personal trainer bookworms? :) Any personal trainers with any thoughts or comments or suggestions? I appreciate any feedback as I try to brainstorm my next career move in life.
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Replies

  • AlinaRose17
    AlinaRose17 Posts: 92 Member
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    Hello there-
    I am in the final process of wrapping up my certification as a personal trainer through ISSA. I was already a gym rat, and figured that it would both be good for me to expand my knowledge base as well as try to use that passion to inspire others to improve their health and fitness levels as well. I am intending this to be something on the side, as I already have a full time job. So far it has been a good experience and I have learned a great deal and I do try to implement it into my own life as well. Best of luck to you!
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,525 Member
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    Being a trainer won't help you get more fit and more active.

    People become trainers because they already are like that and want to help other people. Secondly if you can't motivate yourself with no outside push- no internal drive- now how do you expect to motivate other people?
  • slhall0822
    slhall0822 Posts: 128 Member
    edited May 2015
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    MrM27 wrote: »
    I don't think I have ever seen that questioned asked here before, I may be wrong. I personally feel the other way around is a good way to go. You want to be able to motivate your clients and you should be able to motivate yourself as well. If you can't motivate yourself without becoming a trainer first then you'll be lacking some qualities that go into the trainer/client experience.

    I wondered that as well (how can I motivate others if I can't motivate myself?) but then I realized that for me, knowledge really is power. Take massage for example, I always knew that self care (like stretching and relaxing your muscles) is good for you... but I never really knew WHY. Since my massage school education, I now know exactly WHY self-care (in the form of stretching/flexibility/relaxation) is good for your body and the WHY is what motivates me. I am hoping that learning more about the exact reasons behind how physical activity benefits your body will help to not only motivate myself, but to motivate others. If I'm passionate about something and REALLY understand and believe how and why it works, then I'm much more likely to want to motivate others. Does that make sense?
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,525 Member
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    knowledge is power.

    so get educated and go train yourself.

    use yourself as your first test client.
  • slhall0822
    slhall0822 Posts: 128 Member
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    JoRocka wrote: »
    knowledge is power.

    so get educated and go train yourself.

    use yourself as your first test client.

    Exactly what I'm thinking :)
  • slhall0822
    slhall0822 Posts: 128 Member
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    Before I became a massage therapist, massages seemed like a luxury item, not a necessity. Now I feel like everyone should get a massage as often as possible because of the health benefits. Then again, in general, I don't give relaxation massages and primarily practice deep tissue/neuromuscular massage for pain relief. I am so motivated for others to get massage that I'd massage people for free if my bank account wouldn't suffer LOL. I'm hoping I find the same motivation by acquiring the knowledge it takes to be a personal trainer.
  • jetortola
    jetortola Posts: 198 Member
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    slhall0822 wrote: »
    Before I became a massage therapist, massages seemed like a luxury item, not a necessity. Now I feel like everyone should get a massage as often as possible because of the health benefits. Then again, in general, I don't give relaxation massages and primarily practice deep tissue/neuromuscular massage for pain relief. I am so motivated for others to get massage that I'd massage people for free if my bank account wouldn't suffer LOL. I'm hoping I find the same motivation by acquiring the knowledge it takes to be a personal trainer.

    If you want to add in a few more years of schooling -- what about becoming a Physio Therapist? That's what I thought of when you said you liked anatomy books. :)

  • PACO1481
    PACO1481 Posts: 29 Member
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    I think it's an awesome idea. My first personal trainer (which I had for 4-5 years) was still in school when I hired him. And he had lost 80 lbs himself, so he understood what a struggle it is to lose weight. He achieved his ultimate goal of owning his own gymn just last year.
    Even if you never use the certification with actual clients, it will be worth the benefit that you get out of it for yourself. :-)
  • slhall0822
    slhall0822 Posts: 128 Member
    edited May 2015
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    slhall0822 wrote: »
    Before I became a massage therapist, massages seemed like a luxury item, not a necessity. Now I feel like everyone should get a massage as often as possible because of the health benefits. Then again, in general, I don't give relaxation massages and primarily practice deep tissue/neuromuscular massage for pain relief. I am so motivated for others to get massage that I'd massage people for free if my bank account wouldn't suffer LOL. I'm hoping I find the same motivation by acquiring the knowledge it takes to be a personal trainer.

    If you want to add in a few more years of schooling -- what about becoming a Physio Therapist? That's what I thought of when you said you liked anatomy books. :)

    Thought about it. Seriously thought about it. I already have a Bachelor's degree, but it's a Bachelor's of Arts... so I'd have to take a year or two of prerequisites before I'd even be eligible for admission into my local physical therapist program. PLUS, I am still paying off student loans from my Bachelor's degree and would rather not accumulate tens of thousands more in student loans :-).
  • usmcmp
    usmcmp Posts: 21,219 Member
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    My friends who are personal trainers say that their job keeps them active, but the busy lifestyle can mean it is tough to focus on your own fitness.
  • slhall0822
    slhall0822 Posts: 128 Member
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    PACO1481 wrote: »
    I think it's an awesome idea. My first personal trainer (which I had for 4-5 years) was still in school when I hired him. And he had lost 80 lbs himself, so he understood what a struggle it is to lose weight. He achieved his ultimate goal of owning his own gymn just last year.
    Even if you never use the certification with actual clients, it will be worth the benefit that you get out of it for yourself. :-)

    That's awesome. That's another thing. If I am successful in changing my life around, I'd have a great success story and would hopefully be able to relate to my clients who struggle with busy lives and losing weight.
  • fallenoaks4
    fallenoaks4 Posts: 63 Member
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    Honestly, it seems like an excuse to me. Saying that you're not going to work out and eat right until you've spent months studying the subject is a good way to put it off for quite awhile.
  • slhall0822
    slhall0822 Posts: 128 Member
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    Honestly, it seems like an excuse to me. Saying that you're not going to work out and eat right until you've spent months studying the subject is a good way to put it off for quite awhile.

    I don't think I'm making an excuse. I'm not saying I'm going to wait until I'm certified before I practice what I've learned. I could sit on my couch and eat pizza without even considering becoming a personal trainer. I am currently actively practicing becoming more active and eating right... but if I'm being completely honest, it's something I struggle with... especially the staying active part. I'd rather spend my time learning something than just running like a hamster on a treadmill. I need something that challenges my mind, not just my body.
  • cotewalter
    cotewalter Posts: 111 Member
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    slhall0822 wrote: »
    Before I became a massage therapist, massages seemed like a luxury item, not a necessity. Now I feel like everyone should get a massage as often as possible because of the health benefits. Then again, in general, I don't give relaxation massages and primarily practice deep tissue/neuromuscular massage for pain relief. I am so motivated for others to get massage that I'd massage people for free if my bank account wouldn't suffer LOL. I'm hoping I find the same motivation by acquiring the knowledge it takes to be a personal trainer.

    Free massage!!! :*

  • usmcmp
    usmcmp Posts: 21,219 Member
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    slhall0822 wrote: »
    Honestly, it seems like an excuse to me. Saying that you're not going to work out and eat right until you've spent months studying the subject is a good way to put it off for quite awhile.

    I don't think I'm making an excuse. I'm not saying I'm going to wait until I'm certified before I practice what I've learned. I could sit on my couch and eat pizza without even considering becoming a personal trainer. I am currently actively practicing becoming more active and eating right... but if I'm being completely honest, it's something I struggle with... especially the staying active part. I'd rather spend my time learning something than just running like a hamster on a treadmill. I need something that challenges my mind, not just my body.

    You will actually learn a lot more about overall fitness and weight loss from just reading about it online (and picking the brains of the people who have made the announcement posts) than you will from a basic certification. I workout with a lady who has her personal training certification, I'm constantly teaching her things that her book didn't. I learned from reading and talking to personal trainers with many years of experience (plus multiple certifications).
  • slhall0822
    slhall0822 Posts: 128 Member
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    usmcmp wrote: »
    slhall0822 wrote: »
    Honestly, it seems like an excuse to me. Saying that you're not going to work out and eat right until you've spent months studying the subject is a good way to put it off for quite awhile.

    I don't think I'm making an excuse. I'm not saying I'm going to wait until I'm certified before I practice what I've learned. I could sit on my couch and eat pizza without even considering becoming a personal trainer. I am currently actively practicing becoming more active and eating right... but if I'm being completely honest, it's something I struggle with... especially the staying active part. I'd rather spend my time learning something than just running like a hamster on a treadmill. I need something that challenges my mind, not just my body.

    You will actually learn a lot more about overall fitness and weight loss from just reading about it online (and picking the brains of the people who have made the announcement posts) than you will from a basic certification. I workout with a lady who has her personal training certification, I'm constantly teaching her things that her book didn't. I learned from reading and talking to personal trainers with many years of experience (plus multiple certifications).

    That makes sense... I worked out with a personal trainer for several months while I was in massage school. I was amazed that she knew less about muscles than I did. She was a great trainer, don't get me wrong... but you'd think that trainers would be required to know much about muscular anatomy.

  • usmcmp
    usmcmp Posts: 21,219 Member
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    slhall0822 wrote: »
    usmcmp wrote: »
    slhall0822 wrote: »
    Honestly, it seems like an excuse to me. Saying that you're not going to work out and eat right until you've spent months studying the subject is a good way to put it off for quite awhile.

    I don't think I'm making an excuse. I'm not saying I'm going to wait until I'm certified before I practice what I've learned. I could sit on my couch and eat pizza without even considering becoming a personal trainer. I am currently actively practicing becoming more active and eating right... but if I'm being completely honest, it's something I struggle with... especially the staying active part. I'd rather spend my time learning something than just running like a hamster on a treadmill. I need something that challenges my mind, not just my body.

    You will actually learn a lot more about overall fitness and weight loss from just reading about it online (and picking the brains of the people who have made the announcement posts) than you will from a basic certification. I workout with a lady who has her personal training certification, I'm constantly teaching her things that her book didn't. I learned from reading and talking to personal trainers with many years of experience (plus multiple certifications).

    That makes sense... I worked out with a personal trainer for several months while I was in massage school. I was amazed that she knew less about muscles than I did. She was a great trainer, don't get me wrong... but you'd think that trainers would be required to know much about muscular anatomy.

    You will learn some important things from certification, but you really don't get the full spectrum of things you should know as a trainer. Don't throw money into certification yet. Wait a while and learn as much as you can before considering becoming a trainer again.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,865 Member
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    I've seen many people make big time changes to their lifestyle and then become PTs but I don't think I've ever seen anyone use becoming a PT as a modality to change their lifestyle. I've completely changed my life from where things were just a few years ago and I would love to share that with people and become a PT, but I unfortunately can't quit my day job. I still work with several people though more as an overall wellness guide than an actual PT and I'm not certified or anything. I would actually like to be someday and maybe make it my pre-retirement/retirement gig.

    I also agree with usmcmp, you can and probably will learn a lot more just diving in and doing your own research than you will gain through the certification process. There are a couple of top notch PTs at my gym, but I know more on my own than the vast majority of them there do.