The course I took is the one offered through the ISSA, but it is an entirely theoretical course. Fortunately for me, I already work at a gym (called a sportschool in Holland). I talked to my boss, and he's agreed to let me shadow the personal trainers up to four mornings per week for pretty much as long as I like. I won't get paid for it, and he doesn't currently have an opening for a new trainer, but he has no problem letting me get some experience and insight into what actually is expected when doing the job.
It is different here in Holland than in Canada. In Canada, my experience with the fitness industry is a lot more like what you see on shows like The Biggest Loser, where the trainers push their clients to make major changes. In Holland, people take it much easier. Even if they want to make major changes, they do it slowly. It is quite common that people make an appointment with a friend to do something sporty, like taking a aerobics class or playing tennis or squash together, every week. It is a lot like how Canadians meet each other for coffee or to go shopping!
In any case, the course I did was in English, so there are quite a few things I'll be learning during my shadowing.
- Names of body parts, exercises and muscles in Dutch
- How to explain ideas and exercises
- How to match someone's goals and personality with a program
- How to teach them the program
- How to work with them to succeed
I have noticed some changes already. Learning how to work with a client can only continue to help me. I have tended to create awesome, yet unreasonable, workout plans for myself. After learning only theoretically how to make a plan for someone else, I started to make more reasonable plans for myself. I noticed my success improving as I was able to reach my much more reasonable goals for my fitness activities.
I want that to carry over into other areas of my life. The more I learn to set myself reasonable, achievable goals, the more I will succeed at what I want to accomplish. And fitness is a great start!