Monday, February 8, 2016

My Path to Becoming a Certified Personal Trainer

After graduating from Baylor in 2010 with a degree in Sports Sponsorship and Sales, I thought I had a pretty good idea of where I'd be and what kind of job I'd have 5-10 years later. Boy was I wrong! After landing my dream job at the Denver Broncos straight out of college, I thought I'd work in the professional sports world for many years to come. While I loved my job and the people there, working in professional sports sounds a little more glamorous than it actually is...long hours, average pay, competitive job advancement, etc. Mix those components in with bad timing and I found myself a bit lost on what my next step would be come 2011 (the NFL lockout took place after my first season with the Broncos, so the league had to let most of the new employees go). 

Post-Broncos, I tried my hand at a few other jobs...a receptionist at a veterinarian clinic, sales for a start-up website, customer service for a nutritional supplements company, and most recently an executive assistant/office admin for a private equity firm. While I enjoyed certain aspects within each role, none of them had anything to do with my degree. I knew these jobs were not going to be my long term plan and I became frustrated not knowing exactly what I wanted to do. A degree from Baylor isn't exactly cheap, so I definitely didn't want it to go to waste. I considered working for another professional sports team, but I wanted to stay in Austin at the time, so my options were fairly limited. 

One of my reasons for moving over to Australia was to take a step back and really figure out what I'm passionate about and what kind of work I want to be involved with long term. I knew more of what I didn't want to do more than what I did want to do...which turned out to be helpful as well. 

Before I was 20, I never worked out because my metabolism kept me in good enough shape to not worry about it. But ever since junior year of college, I really got into running and fitness. With free access to a gym on campus and PE requirements needed to graduate, I soon found myself in the gym training for my first half marathon. My favorite class senior year was running (yes, that's a real PE class!) so I knew this was something I wanted to explore more. I spent the next 3 years after graduation casually running and working out, but didn't take myself too seriously. It's really when I started this blog and dedicated a year to running 1000 miles that I started to educate myself and learn as much as I could on my own about exercise and nutrition. 

The past 2 years I've dabbled in cycling, sand volleyball, yoga, Crossfit, Insanity, swimming, etc. and that's when I sincerely developed a passion for staying healthy and seeing my body and cardio abilities transform. Since 2013, I've had the personal training idea in the back of my head, but it seemed a bit daunting and intimidating to get started. 

Being overseas, unemployed with lots of time to think, I decided that personal training really is something that checks all of the boxes for me and I don't need to be scared to make it a reality:

Physically active - check
Away from a desk - check
Interacting with people - check
Dress in gym clothes - check
Be my own boss (eventually) - check
Paid to work out - check

But the biggest box it checked that none of my previous jobs did? Helping and improving the lives of others. 

I honestly think that was the biggest piece missing in my other positions. I know they were important in some aspects, but in the big scheme of things, I wasn't making a huge difference in anyone's life. It ended with me feeling under-appreciated and worthless at times.  

I ordered the NASM CPT Self-Study program and began studying early last week. I have 180 days from the time I order the program to take the certification exam, so I will take the test on or before June 30th. I have quite a bit of free time over the next few months, so I know I will be able to finish studying and knock out the exam this summer. Then I plan to apply to work at a gym for a year or two in order to gain some experience and meet potential clients. Eventually, I'd love to be my own boss and train my own clients, but I know that will take time to develop. 

While I'm still not using my exact degree, I'm okay knowing that I have a BBA from Baylor and just having a degree in general helps with a lot of things. I know having a business background and education will be beneficial in my future endeavours of owning my own business. I used to be scared of the future and the unknown, but now I'm so excited to see what it holds! 

If you know of anyone who needs a personal trainer in the Austin area this summer, you know who to call!