What I Know Now That I Wish I Knew Then 5

Confessions from Three Local Trainers

As we grow older, we often find ourselves reflecting on lessons that we have learned in our lives. Quite often, we realize that if we had learned some of these lessons sooner rather than later, our lives might have been less stressful. Personal trainers are just like the rest of us in this respect. Given a few moments to reflect, most trainers can recount bits of wisdom they wish they had known when they started their careers.

Johnathan Gwaltney, Body Shop Fitness, Providence

After high school, Johnathan Gwaltney tried several career avenues before discovering that personal training was for him.

“I discovered that I didn’t want to sit at a desk all day and that I didn’t like looking at a computer screen. I’m a hands-on person, and I only feel at home in a gym.”

Since that realization, he achieved his International Sports Sciences Association certification and has been training numerous clients for more than years.

“Wellness and fitness is all about nutrition. If I had known about nutrition when I was very young, then I wouldn’t have been drinking three to four soft drinks every day. When I was younger, I just don’t think about nutrition. If someone handed me a cupcake, I would eat it; it brightened my day.

“Nutrition is everything. It is vital that I embed the importance of nutrition in my clients so that they will realize that what they are doing outside of the gym is just as important as what they do with me in the gym.”

Colby Cowan, WholesaleFIT, Rivergate

For several years after high school and college, Colby Cowan worked long hours in retail dreaming of the opportunity to work in the fitness industry. Despite his heavy schedule, he would still squeeze in a few of hours each week to train clients on a part-time basis. Eventually, Colby realized he didn’t enjoy the retail sales environment and wanted to make the leap to full-time personal training. After earning an International Fitness Professionals Association certification, Cowan has now been training for more than eight years.

“I wish I would have known that supplements won’t fix everything. When I was in high school and college, I felt constant pressure to take supplements. I spent a lot of money in the local nutrition stores thinking that supplements such as creatine and whey protein would do all the hard work for me.

“If you are not eating right nor exercising correctly, then you are not helping yourself by taking supplements. Knowing what I know now, I wish that I could have flipped my supplementation knowledge for nutrition knowledge when I was younger.”

Morgan Hillis, First Baptist Church Hendersonville Family Ministry Center

Morgan Hillis’ original career plan was to become a police officer. After attending college majoring in criminal justice, she soon realized that while she desired to help people, she didn’t want to do it from inside a patrol car. One weekend while camping, Morgan realized she felt the most fulfilled when she was physically active. At that point, she began her journey into personal training. Since earning her American Council on Exercise certification, she has been training a growing number of clients for more than three years.

Morgan says she wishes she known “to establish a cancellation policy. I only have so much time available for my clients, and when one fails to show up, I lose money. Early on, I was so afraid of losing a client that I would let them cancel with no penalty. However, that approach didn’t bring me any more client loyalty, and it cost me money.”

She says she has now “established a 24-hour cancellation policy that is fair to both my clients and to me. If they cancel within the 24-hour period and reschedule their session during the same week, then we all win.”