Class In Works For Personal Trainers


Personal trainers are not just for the rich and famous. Rim Country residents have access to several at local gyms available at inexpensive rates. And, if all goes according to plans at Gila Community College, beginning in the fall 2007 semester, quite a few more will be in the pipeline.

The college is starting a class to train aspiring personal trainers to take the test for formal certification from the National Council on Strength and Fitness.


Payson Athletic Club Manager Lindy Gibson spots Jerry Baker in the weight room. Gibson and Baker are both certified personal trainers, as are two of the other 20 staff members at the athletic club.

Peggy Miles, GCC Wellness Center facilitator, obtained her own NCSF certification in October and is developing the materials that will be used in the course.

It promises to be a serious endeavor for those who make the commitment. Miles displayed the materials that will be used by the students -- a substantial hardback text and two hefty spiral-bound books, one for their lab work and the other a workbook to accompany the text.

The class will prepare students to take the NCSF certification exam, which covers functional anatomy, exercise physiology, health and physical fitness, screening and evaluation, nutrition, weight management, exercise prescription and programming considerations, training instruction and considerations for special populations.

"The special populations aspect is one of the things I like best about the NCSF certification," Miles said. "You learn about working with seniors, pregnant women, youth and adolescents."

Miles is an athlete and works with clients at the college Wellness Center on a daily basis.

"One of the first things many of them asked me was whether or not I was a certified personal trainer and how to go about becoming one, so I decided to get my certification," she said. "I am always looking for ways to better myself. If it means something to my clients, I'll pursue it."

With the certification, Miles also has the opportunity to teach the personal training class. She said the class will involve lectures and work in the Wellness Center. About 25 students may enroll the first semester.

Miles explained how a certified personal trainer works with clients.

"First, it depends on the client's goal," she said. "A personal trainer is there to provided the motivation and expertise that a client might be lacking to help them be successful with their goals."

Sometimes a trainer will help a client define their goals. The objectives may be related to diet and/or exercise, she said.

When meeting with the client, a CPT will also screen for health risks, physical capabilities, range of motion and find out about his or her limitations and how they may impact the goals. Miles said, in some cases, she will ask a client to get the results of blood work from their physician to check cholesterol levels. She can determine their body fat composition, which shows how much of their weight is from bone and muscle and how much is fat. Using that information, Miles can help the client set their individual weight loss goal, if that is something they want.

She also finds out how much exercise they normally do, if any, and if they are doing it correctly.

"I help my clients set realistic success targets," she said. By creating short-term, realistic goals, a client will see positive results and that will help them maintain the physical, mental and emotional momentum to continue their program.

"I help clients to raise their own expectations," Miles said. "They can do more than they realize -- we all can, even me. For instance, today, I worked out with a partner and did more than I normally do on my own."

She said, by giving clients that extra push, they develop a self-awareness and tenacity.

"But a personal trainer can't work miracles," she said. "Personal responsibility is essential to success."

The course guide for the GCC fall 2007 semester will be available in late April and classes start Aug. 20, Miles said. The actual certification testing takes place at centers in the Valley and Flagstaff.

For residents interested in the services of a certified personal trainer, Miles can still make limited time available to those willing to make a serious commitment, she said.

To learn more about the Wellness Center, the new class or services, contact Miles at (928) 468-8039 or (928) 978-0834.

Four personal trainers at the Payson Athletic Club are also available to work one-on-one with clientele. Two of them are club manager, Lindy Gibson, who obtained her certification from American Fitness Professionals Associates in October 2006, and Jerry Baker, who became a certified personal trainer earlier this year through the American Council on Exercise.

Gibson has managed the PAC for owners Kent and Louise Echols for a little more than a year.

"I specialize in strength training (as a CPT)," she said. "But I can also do weight loss, endurance or body building training."

Baker specializes in weight loss training, but in a year or so might consider adding nutrition counseling to his repertoire.

"I love everything about the exercise industry," he said. "I have always wanted to be in this business. I have been very active in sports and do endurance sports now."

Although Baker is a newly minted CPT, he already has a couple of clients he works with on a regular basis.

The program requires the client to workout two or three times a week and he will stay with them until they know what they're doing. However, some clients continue to work with him for motivation.

Call the Payson Athletic Club at (928) 474-0916. Gibson can be reached at (480) 201-2435 and Baker is available at (928) 978-5363.

Club USA also has a certified personal trainer on staff. For more information, call (928) 474-2582. While Curves for Women does not have certified personal trainers, the staff receives extensive training from its corporation, along with university-level education in kinesiology and nutrition.

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