How (and Why) I Got into Personal Training

I don’t tell the story about how I got into personal training very often. But even though it was a long time ago, I still remember vividly when I wasn’t into fitness. I didn’t think much about my health when I was young. I ate what I wanted and had lots of energy to lead a busy life. That was good enough for me.

Who’s That in the Mirror?

This changed after I had my son. Naturally, I’d gained weight, but I was unprepared for the toll the pregnancy, weight gain, and sleep deprivation took on me physically and emotionally.  I’ve always accepted that my body would change during pregnancy and over time. What I didn’t realize was how shaken I would be by it. I didn’t feel like myself and when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize myself.

I know this sounds like vanity (and there’s a piece of that in there, I can’t deny it), however, I’ve always been fully aware that my identity is so much more than my appearance. Still, I couldn’t deny the connection between how I felt and how I looked to myself. I wanted to recognize myself again. So I went to the gym.


The gym gave me an hour away from the whirlwind of new motherhood where I could clear my mind and get some endorphins. It was my oasis. Sure, there were days when I would think I didn’t have the energy or the time to spare. This is a huge roadblock to progress, and I know it well. But at the beginning of my fitness journey, the luxury of having time to myself usually won out.

As I got some control over my energy levels, I also got some control over my identity crisis (if you could call it that). In accepting that my body would always be changing as time went on, I had completely overlooked the fact that a lot of changes were in my hands. When I wrapped my brain around this new reality (lightbulb moment), I grasped how much I didn’t know about my body or exercising. I was intimidated to leave the safety of group classes and venture out onto the gym floor. So, I got a trainer.

Meeting of the Mentor

I’ve had lots of trainers since, but Brian will forever be “my trainer.” The saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” comes to mind when I think back on our early sessions. I spent most of our time together asking questions. I soaked in everything he said. I went home and researched exercises and anatomy. I read everything I could get my hands on about nutrition. I wanted to know how everything worked. I couldn’t learn enough.

During one of our sessions Brian looked at me and said “You really should become a trainer”.  It hadn’t occurred to me that every one of his trainees didn’t spend their whole workout picking his brain. So, like the good student I was, I did what Brian suggested.

What Makes My Trainer Heart Swell

As a trainer, I love it when my clients ask me questions about how their muscles work and how their diets feed their bodies. I love it when someone picks up weights for the first time and they smile and tell me how empowered they feel. And I can’t help but feel a deep connection with my clients who say they don’t recognize themselves. I want to tell them that I know how they feel. Of course, I didn’t get back my 25-year-old body and energy. I got something so much better. I got stronger and healthier than I have ever been, and I got a passion. I’m glad to say I recognize the person in the mirror now. She’s a trainer who does what she loves.

By Kristen Kellogg, Certified Fitness Trainer, NCSF


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