Inspirational Musings: Becoming a Personal Trainer

Inspiration comes in many forms: what is inspiring to one person (their kids or significant other) can be completely different from someone else (their career or even their pet), and so on. A while ago, I was complaining to my girlfriend about what I want to do long term and she said, “Let’s start with what inspires you.” She made it sound like such an easy question.

About seven months ago (for those of you who don’t know), I moved to San Diego to pursue an EMBA (Executive MBA) from San Diego State in global entrepreneurship, where I would be traveling to Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi and India for one year. One day prior to orientation, I received a call that the program was cancelled. WHAT? I quit my job, rented out my apartment in NYC and moved across the country for this program. How could this happen? This EMBA was my Plan A; there was no Plan B.

I was already in California, so I took this time to visit family and friends, travel overseas and enjoy the time off from the real working life (hey, I may never get this opportunity again). I took things day by day. I suppose I could have gone back to the city and resumed my "normal" life, but I looked at this tragedy as an opportunity because I wanted to remain positive (or try). I knew that a negative attitude would not bring my program back and would not be advantageous to my future. But, yes, it sucked and there was no one to blame, so I moved on.

As I got settled in San Diego, I never took the time to think about the big picture and ask myself some key questions. What will I do for work? What do I WANT as a career? Which city do I want to live in? Do I want to find another graduate program? Do I want to move back to NYC? People would ask me what my plans were and I didn't have a definitive answer—I was still figuring it out. I think I needed my friends and family to help me learn what, in fact, inspires me.

For most of my life, I have been an active person who is interested in health in fitness; I even started a blog to share my knowledge and tips with others. On a day-to-day basis, I'm genuinely interested in fitness and health and I can spend hours creating tasty and nutritious meals, more hours talking about food, and even more hours eating the food. All this eating means that fitness plays a major role in my everyday routine, and I’m always finding new ways to stay in shape (I think I do a pretty good job of this most of the time).

After some thought and hints from my friends and family, I made the decision to become a personal trainer. FINALLY, I figured out the answer to the question (for now). I am inspired by the idea of helping people obtain a healthy lifestyle. The next question clearly was: How do I do I get started?

I talked to a bunch of friends (and friends of friends) who are personal trainers, and they all LOVE their jobs and feel their careers are rewarding. This was incredibly motivating to hear. I inquired about which program to take and they suggested I get a certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). One of the most recognized CPT (Certified Personal Trainer) certification, the NASM course is an at-home curriculum, which posed a whole new set of problems for me.

I have been out of regular school for a long time and without a professor to tell you what to do, it’s just me! I remember when I had full-time job in NYC and somehow found time to study before and after work for the GMATs (test for EMBA), take Spanish classes at lunch and copyediting classes at night. I stayed up late, found time for friends and family and didn't feel stressed out, but now I do. WHY? Without a full-time job, I have all the time in the world, yet, without a set schedule, studying is much harder to tackle and time management has a whole new meaning to me, but I’m getting there…slowly.

I have to tell myself when it’s time to study and I actually really enjoy what I’m learning. This is not work; it’s fun! I’m a quarter of the way through my NASM textbook and I plan to take the test mid-October. This means I will be a real CPT—this is exciting...and really scary at the same time! Yes, I love fitness and have the right mindset, but when doing something new, it's always a challenge, but I know that I’m on the right track, which feels wonderful.

The most important point is that I’m taking the steps in the right direction and working toward something that inspires me: becoming a personal trainer. What comes next? You’ll just have to wait and see.