Not your typical personal trainer.
I represent a growing yet under-served demographic vis-à-vis the fitness industry; namely, the over-40 set, who are still hitting the gym at least 3 days a week while participating in the same activities we enjoyed as kids – all despite limitations posed by age-related issues and injuries, for which the best (if not only) remedy is sheer determination …and passion. Indeed, it is precisely this demographic, together with the so-called baby boomers, that is largely credited for the unprecedented number of men and women choosing to make their living as personal trainers.
But, where they saw opportunity, I saw a void.
All too often, healthy older adults are discouraged by well-intentioned young trainers who either work them too hard or not hard enough. The problem has less to do with the trainer’s qualifications than with perception. When the impression of a client’s age obscures the objective data collected during a thorough fitness assessment, any program the trainer designs for this client is bound to miss the mark. By the same token, when a trainer told my friend she reminded him of his mother, the intended compliment resulted in a rapid erosion of their professional rapport.
(Then again, reminding a 27-year-old client that I was old enough to be his mother, never failed to get him through that last set of goblet squats or teasers.)
There is no shortage of certified personal trainers with expertise in every conceivable fitness system, from the traditional to the trendy. But, for the healthy older adult, who remembers a world without cell phones and Facebook, finding a like-minded trainer might prove difficult.
So, after more than two decades in the corporate arena, I followed my passion, trading in the suits and pumps for spandex and sneakers. I looked into just about every certification program that was available to me in New York before choosing the American Academy of Personal Training (www.aapt.edu). My reasons? First, AAPT is, to date, the only certification program in the country that is federally accredited by the US Dept. of Education. Second, the 300-hour curriculum, which is modeled after the NSCA and ACSM certifications, offers the added benefit of daily practical, hands-on training. In other words, by the time we graduated, my classmates and I had already designed a 6-week program for our assigned partners and, thanks to a remarkable instructor named Todd, were well-equipped to hit the ground running… which is precisely what I did.