What does a personal trainer look like?

If I could find the picture, I’d take a screenshot of it. Somewhere under one of my pictures on Instagram, a sad, sad little being chose to passively make fun of me by saying,

“You’re a personal trainer? LOL.”

I won’t lie–of course that was one of those comments that makes you forget about all the other gazillion positive words you received but instead harp on that one naysayer for just a moment.

Is she saying I’m fat?
Is she doubting my knowledge?
Is she saying that I don’t look like a trainer should?
Is she meaning to be funny ha-ha or just plain old mean?
Is she using this as another “Precious“-like comment toward me?

I can’t answer any of these questions because I’m not her. I don’t know her intentions; I don’t know what she meant by it. But I do know that when people make comments like that from the {cowardly} comfort of sitting behind their computer or phone screen, it moreso says something about them than it does about me.

I can answer her though. Yes, I am a personal trainer. I am National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and have been since October 2011. And while I don’t look like a rippling, muscular black Barbie, I have been using my NASM-CPT to motivate, inspire, coach, and mentor many, many, many people through my blog, Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Not that this chick would care, but I could provide her with countless emails, messages and texts I’ve received to back that up. So while she’s busy judging me, I’m busy helping others and that’s what matters most to me. 🙂

Now, speaking of helping…I can also look through countless emails, messages, and texts and find the question, “When are you going to actually train somebody in person, Cherie?” Y’all have been asking that for a looooong time and you know it, haha. I can also finally answer you–I already do!

As of this January, I’m a personal trainer at my local YMCA!!!

ymca shirt

I know some of you already know this, but I realized I never wrote about it on my blog!

Yes, a few times, more than I’d like to admit, self-doubt overtook me. “I don’t look like a personal trainer. I’m not thin enough. I’m not muscular enough. You can’t wash clothes on my abs. A quarter may not bounce off my butt. I’m also not overly sales-oriented, pushy and focused on collecting commissions instead of focused on my client’s fitness and health and happiness. Nope. I don’t look like a trainer.”

After several trips to other gyms, I realized that those two sets of things were holding me back. What I “thought” I was supposed to look like and my personal convictions of not wanting to “sell” packages but instead motivate, teach and inspire fitness & nutrition journeys.

And then the wonderful YMCA entered my life.

When I got separated a few months ago, mounds of bills came into my sole possession. While I was just trying to stay sane and make ends meet, I came to the realization that I was no longer going to be able to afford my gym membership. I could run to my heart’s delight around my new neighborhood, but weightlifting was going to take some more creative thought. I tried a lot of body resistance exercises but my heart wasn’t in it. I needed to feel the iron in my hands again. When I heard that the YMCA offers reduced membership prices to those who are in financial need, I quickly applied.

I received notice by mail that my application was approved! But once I saw how much the discounted membership was, I knew I still couldn’t even afford that. I was totally bummed, feeling pathetic about my circumstances, and figured I’d have to skip the weights for a while. My fitness was important; but so was paying my bills. I’d have to get a part-time job just to be able to breathe financially anyhow, but I was going to put my beloved fitness on the back burner so I could get a second job. Oh well, I’d get back to being a gym rat eventually; priorities were priorities. And then I took my venting to Twitter.

Not angry venting, but just pure “meh” because I was really hoping the Y would work. The Y saw my tweet and contacted me to try to work something out. “Something” turned into pure awesomeness after a couple of meetings. Not only did I get a membership, I got a job! The Fitness Director heard about my weight loss journey and was interested in meeting me. He especially liked that I had a certification as a NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist in addition to the CPT. So yeah, that totally worked out, I’ll say!!

My favorite part of the Y is that there is no “gymtimidation.” It took a while for me to get comfortable at my old gym. There was A LOT of judging going on, a lot of stares, a lot of feeling of not being in shape enough to work out there, haha, if that makes any sense. Not at the YMCA. Everyone is super friendly, welcoming, and all are accepted–all ages, colors, backgrounds, abilities, etc. I can put more focus on my workouts now instead of worrying that don’t look worthy of being there. And there is more than one bathroom stall, an actual locker room, an indoor track, tons of free weights, machines (even though I don’t really use them), cardio equipment, a pool, a hot tub and a sauna. My old gym had none of that! I indeed see why it’s fun to stay at the YMCA!

I’m very thankful for the opportunity to start my “in the flesh” training! It’s not salesy-salesy, pushy-pushy like I work at a car dealership and I also get to make it into my own way of training that I like. I can do out of the box things like take my client grocery shopping to talk about nutrition, run together with local run clubs, or work out on the gym floor. I don’t even make commission so that’s no where near leading my desire to help my clients. I can actually just help them with honest intentions and their well-being at the forefront of my mind! Finally, the type of personal training I was looking for in my life! It was well worth the wait.

So what does a personal trainer look like?


Comments 9

  • I for one find more motivation in knowing that you don’t have to have washboard abs to be fit, that’s real. Those other trainers who are, good for them! However, most people will never look like that. Those trainers are possibly setting people up for failure. Please stick to your convictions and thank you for being you. Xoxo

  • That is totally awesome. Way to make it work for you. Amazingly, your live clients will be tons more excited to work with you because they know you know the struggles. Congratulations!

  • Bravo, Cherie! That’s a great blog. You are a personal trainer, and the personification of inspiration and motivation. Love you!
    Pamela recently posted..Starting 2014 Off Right: Blogs on Fitness and Healthy EatingMy Profile

  • Congratulations on everything – the job, the gym membership, and the changed mindset! It takes much study and dedication to get that personal trainer certification. It’s highly recognized! (I know because my ex had this certification.) Also, I think you look like a personal trainer (not that it matters). I know what you mean though. Some followers on social media can be so judgmental and hypocritical. I used to get “funny” (not the ha-ha kind) comments when I shared healthy eating habits. When I share my experience running, sometimes, I feel like people think I’m bragging or that I can’t possibly be a runner. But who cares! The best way to silence critics is to continue doing what you do.

  • BTW, I love the Y, too. Like beauty, it costs a little more, but it pays for itself.

  • Congrats on your new position at the Y! I absolutely love my Y for all the reasons you mentioned – all sorts of people, friendly, etc. Anyways, cheers to you! 🙂

  • First of all, you DO look like a personal trainer!! I think you are amazing and your story is motivating. I would hire you and your personality would be so fun to work out with. Good for you!

  • I wish that I lived where you live. YOU are the personal trainer that I need. Thank you for sharing and for always telling the truth.
    Tina recently posted..Moving Day/WeekendMy Profile

  • Congrats! You truly have an inspiring story! I have to admit that I have been going back and reading your past blog post because I just wanted to read more after reading one! LOL I will be back often for your inspiration!
    PS… I’m glad your feeling better now!
    Tiffanie recently posted..BOWLING!!My Profile