I didn’t always care about fitness. As a kid, I doubt I even had a fully-formed notion of ‘fitness’ and its role in my life. Fitness wasn’t something I pursued; it was incidental to being young and a kid and having parents and teachers who encouraged my participation in rec soccer and gym class, and who forced me to eat my vegetables. I was lucky to be active and well-nourished. And because I was healthy, I enjoyed the privilege of never having to actually think about my health.
What I cared about was books. I cared so much that I pursued a Bachelor’s degree, and, eventually, a Masters, in English. I loved to read and I loved to write. And I told myself: This is what I’m good at. This is what I should be doing. I defined myself by this belief; I was a nerd. A bookworm.
And over the years, I did develop an interest in fitness, but I always considered it a side project. At first, vanity motivated me: I wanted to be lean and sexy and ‘have abs’ (remember when abs were the thing, before glutes came onto the scene?). But then as the gym became a habit, the abs fell by the wayside and what kept me coming back for more was the feeling of it: the feeling of my body pushing nearly beyond its limits, and that finding that every time I came back for more, the limit had expanded. The harder I pushed myself, and the more physically exhausted I became, the stronger I felt on the inside. The strength I learned in the gym flowed into other areas of my life. My life has changed in so many respects since I started working out—going through its own expansions and testing of limits (and the coming and going of abs)–but throughout it all, my commitment to fitness had remained the one constant variable.
And at 26, after receiving my Master’s degree in English, and realizing that I didn’t want to teach, or sit all day and edit people’s writing, or spend any more of my years in the limited and esoteric world of academia, I found myself at a crisis point: the thing that I had let define my life and my identity had been suddenly pulled out from under me. My future was supposed to be there, at the end of it—but it wasn’t; so what did I have now?
Am I Fit Enough to be a Personal Trainer?
A trivial answer, maybe, but my mind kept returning to it. For a while, I resisted: I thought, am I going to just throw away my education? Will it all be for nothing? Am I even tough enough to be a personal trainer? I don’t know how to yell at people. Am I fit enough to be a personal trainer? I am really, really bad at pull-ups. (Full disclosure: I still am).
I Had More than a Passion for Fitness: I Had a Need to Share it.
But I had more than a passion for fitness: I had a need to share it. It was central to my life, my saving grace, and as I witnessed more and more people struggle with their own health and fitness issues—my friends and family included–I felt nearly overwhelmed by the desire to help. Most people nowadays approach fitness and health as a solitary battle—one that you fight against society, or genetics, or upbringing—and which, if you lose, serves as reflection of your lack of willpower or determination or strength of character. But I knew it didn’t have to be this way. And I wanted—no, I needed–everyone else to know.
Enter Infofit – the Only Choice!
Like so many experiences in this day and age, my personal training career began with a Google search. I was back living my parents at the time, in Edmonton, wondering what the hell I was doing with my life, and knowing only that I needed to leave; I could hardly explain it to my friends and family (or to myself, really) but I felt compelled to seek some new and unfamiliar experience, to challenge myself. And so I did. I Googled, “how to become a personal trainer Vancouver”, knowing next-to-nothing about the education or certification required (or Vancouver), and stumbled across Infofit, a school for fitness professionals.
Infofit stuck out immediately; their website was well-organized and professional and free of grammatical errors (important), and when I called them, they went out of their way to resolve my issues and reservations. I would be dishonest if I didn’t say that their reasonable pricing had some effect on my eventual decision to register in their program—like a lot people (and like most new graduates), I wasn’t rolling in dough, and I was nervous about spending yet more money on an education that may not result in a career—or even a part-time job.
Going into that first class, I anticipated fearfully what I thought would be a lot of science and memorization. I considered myself a confident and intelligent person, but I also believed that these were the things that I was ‘bad’ at, and that ‘my brain just didn’t work that way’. I was prepared to struggle. I considered failure to be a very real possibility.
I Loved Learning About the Body
But I didn’t fail; I felt challenged, definitely, but I didn’t struggle. I realized that I had been attributing for years limitations to myself that no longer existed, if they had ever existed at all. I loved learning about the body, and all of the motions and the mechanisms taking place beneath its surface. It was gratifying, realizing how much I loved it, and it also made me feel sad for all of the opportunities that I had evaded and resisted because I had believed myself incapable.
Of course, I didn’t come to this conclusion all on my own; the instructors assumed that we were all capable…and so we were. They pushed us, but no one was made to feel less than—or superior to—anyone else, due to our levels of education, or occupations, or backgrounds—or by the way we looked.
I realized coming into the program, that I had expected the fitness industry to demand a certain ‘aesthetic’; I envisioned personal trainers as always young, muscular, and white (but evenly tanned)–as well usually being tall, hairless, and lightly gleaming with perspiration.
Infofit Promoted an Open-Mind and a Generous Spirit
But though everyone in my class was healthy and obviously interested—if not dedicated—to fitness, most did not fall into this mold. Though it’s cheesy and maybe cliched at this point, health and fitness really does look different on different people. And throughout our careers, we would come across so many people with so many different stories and different types of bodies—it was made to clear to us from the outset that the title of ‘personal trainer’ does not give us the right to criticize the bodies of others or their lifestyle choices. Infofit promoted an open-mind and a generous spirit—we were facilitators of health, not its judges.
Infofit has Been Invaluable
Another gratifying aspect of my experience with Infofit—perhaps the most gratifying—was its relevance in the real world. I didn’t regret pursuing my Masters—I still don’t. I still am that nerd who loves literature and who loves writing. But it was nerve-wracking to graduate and realize that my degree did not guarantee a career, or even a part-time job as a copywriter. It is a new and strange experience, now having an education that people want; I haven’t even come to the end of my training and, already, I have people approaching me and wanting to hire me. And in this, too, Infofit has been invaluable. They teach their students how to bring in clients and maintain their businesses, as well as regularly hosting career fairs and inviting representatives from gyms and fitness clubs. And because of Infofit, I feel prepared to offer my clients the most enjoyable and positive personal training experience of which I am capable. I have no anxieties about my career prospects—and for that, I am incredibly grateful.
In conclusion, if you have stumbled across this post because you are also considering a career as a personal trainer or fitness professional, I hope that I have helped in some way. Obviously, it’s a scary thing, pursuing a new path, whether it be in a careers or otherwise; any deviation in our lives from the familiar is often incredibly intimidating and painful. But that’s the business of the fitness industry: transforming those experiences which are challenging and uncomfortable into exciting and worthwhile opportunities. And that is what I hope for you, in whatever you choose to pursue in your life.
Theresa Faulder, Infofit graduate