Social Thursday: Why I Left My Job and Changed My Mind

This past week my blog had to go on another temporary blackout, the same one it had to endure while I was searching for a job in fitness. Well, unfortunately, I left my job as a fitness consultant/personal training intern because things started heading in a direction that had me on edge. The manager who hired me was let go (he was the sixth one in the two years the gym has been there), dramatic changes were underway, a district manager was thrown in the mix, and a new manager was brought on board.

These dramatic changes included losing the ability to sell walk-ins and take telephone inquiries; working more hours than what I was told I was going to be working; daily prospecting that adds wear and tear on your car, not to mention siphoning the gas from your tank (and I wouldn’t have minded this if the money I was making was worth filling up my gas tank more often–but it wasn’t); constant micromanaging that includes a continual update throughout the day of the number of appointments and sales we have–so it became too sales-y for me; being overly involved in numbers that made me realize the last time I was obsessed with numbers, I ended up in the hospital; quotas I did not feel I could meet with the current lack of resources; and an overall feeling of dread as I realized my original purpose for being hired was being sucked away from me.

I was originally hired to to simply sell memberships while making a salary in order to support myself as I learned the trade of personal training from someone else. Most of my sells were walk-ins, but I was still making them and was completely happy with this arrangement. I knew that with the new manager, I would no longer be able to do it. So it was with a heavy heart that I left. But I luckily left on amicable terms with the new manager, and I have no ill feelings toward him at all. After all, he is doing what he is being told to do, as any good manager does. My previous manager simply had a different philosophy that meshed well with mine. I still work out at this gym though (as my fiance’s guest), as it’s a gym I fell in love with during my time as a consultant. The experiences I gained there are unforgettable, and I learned even more what my limits are. And, yes, I do miss working there, being there daily surrounded by people I grew to enjoy having around. Even so, I knew it was time to move on. Yet, I thank my previous manager for giving me the opportunity to build the experiences I worked for.

I know I’ve talked about launching my personal training business this summer. That’s still going to happen. What I’ve changed my mind about, however, is working as a personal trainer for a gym. YMCA hired me on as a personal trainer, and I start training Monday! 

There are several reasons why I chose to go back to this route. For one, my job as a fitness consultant didn’t pan out, and I know that I never, EVER, want to do sales again, so finding another job in sales was out of the question. I also knew that I wasn’t going to be fully happy unless I was working in fitness. And while I loved working the front desk, greeting members and helping them with their concerns, the desire to do more than that, to make helping people a massive part of my life, kept gnawing at my heart. When a friend of mine told me YMCA was hiring, I knew I had to send off my resume before I lost this opportunity, as none of the YMCA in my area were hiring when I was looking three months ago. Joe Cannon told me the YMCA is a great place to work for trainers just starting out, and since he’s someone I look up to, I knew I could not pass up the opportunity to submit my resume to YMCA.

Call me a cynic, but I did not expect to even get an interview. After all, the job description said that it preferred a trainer with at least a year’s experience–and I simply have 3 months. Plus, I never trusted submitting resumes and applications online. When I was searching for a job a few years ago, I sent out over 40 applications and resumes and didn’t hear back but from two places. So the fact that I had to submit my resume online was also another reason that I was surprised I received an interview.

I tried not to get my hopes up for the interview, so during the week leading up to it, I didn’t think about it. I didn’t prepare for it. I was just going to let my passion for fitness and the desire to change people’s lives guide my answers during the interview.

I am so happy to say that during the interview, I realized working at the YMCA was my dream. I don’t have to worry about sales. The hourly pay is enough to have a living wage, even at part-time. I get to actually take part as a volunteer in many of the events the YMCA holds; thus, I have more opportunities to affect the community at large in a positive way. I’m participating in a kickball tournament next month, so it obviously offers many opportunities to bond with co-workers. And I’m just thrilled that in spite of my minute experience, I am being given a chance to change the world, one person at a time.

I am in a privileged position to be able to start from the ground up. I live with my fiance, who is able to support both of us with his job while I build up my dream career.

I cannot wait to begin the journey. My new dreams are going to be my clients’ dreams.

***

WSDAD

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My New Future Career

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from MenScience

One of the reasons my blog has been rather slow lately is that I started studying for the ACE certification exam to become a personal trainer. This actually became a recent dream of mine, one I thought about for a month before deciding to go with ACE. I didn’t want to immediately start studying for it as soon as the thought entered my head, simply because I wanted to know whether or not it was just a passing whimsy. So I spent an entire month doing research on it to ensure it was something I wanted to do before forking over the cash to start my studies.

At first I was a little discouraged due to the fact that some gyms only pay you on commission and you’re forced to “work the floor” to find your own clients. Yet, others pay an hourly wage, handing you your clients instead, though you are paid considerably less. I was also a little discouraged because of the idea that you are forever having to earn continuing education credits in order to stay certified, which means you’re forever forking over cash. But the more I thought about these cons, the more pros began to enter my mind, and the more those cons actually aren’t a big deal. I have a background in sales and marketing. There are tons and tons of fitness centers in my area, so I’m sure I can find one that pays hourly. Even if it doesn’t, well, I don’t mind a little challenge–not to mention I’m super passionate about health, so I think I’ll be able to convince someone of the importance of being fit and going with a trainer to help you achieve that goal. I also actually love the idea of having to receive continuing education credits, as the research for exercise science and nutrition is always changing; thus, it is important as a trainer to stay on top of this information and prove you’re continuously honing your knowledge.

Now that I’m actually studying for it, I’m even more excited about being certified.

Now what on Earth inspired me to suddenly take this route, especially since I’m so close to graduating with a degree in English? Well, I started following some lifestyle blogs, and I came across Lauryn Evart’s The Skinny Confidential. I started searching for lifestyle blogs to help me change my diet, to help me eat clean. In her bio, I read that she is currently studying for a certificate in nutrition, and she’s going through ISSA to do so. I thought this was interesting, so I decided to look it up.

There is no unified body that aspiring personal trainers must study in order to be certified. ACE and ISSA are just two of many schools of thought you can use to become certified. After looking through ISSA, I remembered when I was working an event at a fitness center. I saw a personal trainer in action, and I thought his job was pretty cool. At the time I thought you had to have some sort of degree in wellness, but luckily for Lauryn’s blog, I discovered you don’t need one, though it can better your chances of finding a job. I was already passionate about being fit and healthy. I want to share that passion.

Now what prompted me to want to start eating clean and exercising more?  I suffered with an eating disorder for four months, which is another reason my blog has been a little empty. That is another story in itself, but I was spending two months trying to recover from it. Yet, during my eating disorder, I did tons of research on nutrition and fitness and found all of it interesting. Unfortunately, I used the advice to fuel some bad habits, but even after recovering, I didn’t lose my desire to research nutrition and fitness. This time, however, I want to use nutrition and fitness to remain healthy, to be the best me that I can be. During my time in inpatient, I remember seeing a few diet commercials. They made me so livid. They fuel people’s insecurities and are ultimately unhealthy.

I want to be part of a future that emphasizes good nutrition without resorting to fad diets, along with exercise to help others live a long, fulfilling life. I don’t want people to have to resort to dangerous fad diets or extreme exercise programs you can find online from people who aren’t experts in order to achieve their ideal images. I want to be part of a growing movement that puts importance on health at every size, which has been proven to help fight obesity without fat shaming. I received this tidbit of wisdom about HAES from my ACE personal trainer manual.

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from My Gut Tells Me

I want to show people that exercise doesn’t have to be stressful or time consuming, but fun and fulfilling. Since I started eating healthier and doing more exercise than just ballet, I have so much more energy, I’m handling my anxiety much better, my mood is steadier, my stress levels are in check, and I just feel overall great. I want to help people feel all these wonderful things. I’m also not about helping people achieve their dream bodies. Sure I’ll help with that if they want it, but I also want people to know their health is more important than a chiseled body. I also want to help prevent eating disorders, which are the deadliest mental illnesses out there. It horrifies me that I was diagnosed with such a deadly illness and absolutely would have died if it weren’t for two amazing friends of mine. Educating the public about health and nutrition, working closely with people who want this for themselves, I think can help combat body image issues and hopefully help those using eating disorders as a coping mechanism to find a much better way of handling stress.

Wanting to become a personal trainer was actually inspired by my disease, which is Anorexia Nervosa. I was able to make something good come out of this horrible illness.

Overall, I’m super excited to see where this career takes me. I hope to take the exam this December, around the time I should be graduating.

Now that you know this, you can check out my other blog that I stared a few months ago.