Written by Nova Guthrie
The human body has the same tissues, organs, and systems that it had thousands of years ago; but, how we use our bodies in the modern world is very different than even 50 or 100 years ago. Our knowledge of human anatomy is constantly improving and medical techniques for surgical repair are changing every few years. Physical Therapy protocols change and exercise science changes in accordance. Today, our lives are full of technology that leads to forward head, rounded and hunched shoulders, and repetitive use syndromes – such as carpal tunnel. While technology can be wonderful, it leads to a more sedentary lifestyle plagued with weight gain, increased body fat, slower metabolism, and limited cardiovascular fitness. Therefore, movement and physical exercise have never been so important to counteract these negative effects. This recognition of the need for and understanding of proper physical activity is what led me down the path of becoming a person trainer.
I first became a trainer through the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) with their basic, “Certified Fitness Trainer”, certification. It provided a good foundation of information on anatomy, physiology, body mechanics, and standard weight training technique. The more clients that I trained, the more information I wanted. Each body is unique and most mature bodies have been through some form of trauma – sporting injuries, car accidents, work stress, and life wear and tear. I felt that I needed more education to provide effective workouts to all my clients and I had an interest in working with special populations.
Most professional certifications require continuing education credits or recertification every 2-3 years. This is important because it keeps practitioners current in their field and allows them to provide their clients or patients with the best and latest techniques. I feel this is extra important because it helps keep our clients safe while making the most of their time in the studio. It is also invaluable to keep me inspired with new ideas and fresh perspectives.
This is also true for Yoga Instructors. Each student comes to the mat with different body abilities and limitations. To keep a class safe and effective for all students, many hours of experience are necessary. It is a special skill to look at a group of students and see how their bodies are working, what is possible for a body, and what is not. The yogic tradition of teaching is based on mentorship. Working with more experienced teachers is an invaluable part of the training. Learning appropriate modifications, adjustments, and techniques is critical to keeping a class safe and able to move into more advanced poses.
The ISSA requires continuing education every 2 years to remain certified. They also offer advanced certification programs. I chose to work through the following six certifications, qualifying me as a Master Trainer through their program:
- Certified Fitness Trainer
- Specialist Fitness Trainer
- Specialist Exercise Therapy
- Youth Fitness Trainer
- Specialist in Senior Fitness
- Specialist in Corrective Exercise
Petra became certified as a Yoga Instructor through 8 Limbs Yoga with a 200 Hour program. She is currently working on completing her 500 Hour Certification through the same school. She has thousands of hours of practical teaching time in both group and one-on-one classes. Her clients get the benefits of this experience and she teaches all levels equally well – small children, teenagers, prenatal women, menopausal women, athletes, people with chronic pain, and older adults.
At ZenRock Fitness, we strive to help all our clients achieve their fitness, heath, and wellness goals regardless of their physical circumstances. Both Petra and I believe that resistance training and yoga are a perfect, complementary pair. We see our clients make progress most effectively when they work with both yoga and regular workouts. Thus, by seeking ongoing education in both, we can offer a variety of skillsets with the most relevant, high-level knowledge available in our field. The achievements of receiving our diverse certifications give us the ability and credibility to address the various needs of our clients, ultimately leading to successful results.