A personal trainer story: what my first client taught me.

My name is JP and I’ve been in the fitness and training industry for 7 years – from a personal trainer to fitness director. Here on the blog we always tend to see client testimonials, but I want to do something different – give another perspective. A personal trainer’s side.

Thus, here is my trainer testimonial about one of my very first clients and what she has taught me.

I met my client early on in a not-so-common situation. It was my 3rd month at my new job as a personal trainer when I was called down for a customer service-related request. I was new and eager so I rushed to the scene. My help was needed for a free session for a member in lieu of a bad experience with a personal trainer.

I walked into the office and was met with a family of four. Katina, my unexpected future client, her husband and two kids. It was actually her husband that was the one with the bad experience. I tried my best to get him to give us another shot, but no matter how hard I tried, he was set on cancelling the membership. I was feeling pretty defeated.

However, between the commotion of 4 adults cramped in a tiny office and 2 kids fighting with each other, it ended up being Katina that took me up on the offer. She wasn’t even a member at the time. So we got her on a guest pass and scheduled a session.

The next week she tried a class I taught. I definitely didn’t take it easy on her (not my style), but she took it like a champ. We did the personal training session as well, and I think that’s where our connection began. We say it all the time now: together we are a bad combination. I never let up, and she never backs down.

Starting a Routine

She promptly signed up for 3 days a week for a month. Here I was, with a 39-year-old woman that had never worked out in a gym- ever- and had only done the elliptical. What to do? Short answer: whatever I wanted. She never questioned anything I made her do. She might not have liked it, but she did it anyway!

After one month she saw some progress. I was ecstatic. It was the first client I was able to actually get through 12 sessions on schedule!! She lost weight, she got stronger, she felt better. What I didn’t realize at the time, though, was that it was more than just the physical wins and tangible things that were important to Katina. It took me a while to figure out what else I was offering her as her trainer.

Over the next 4 years we trained for weight loss, strength, competitions, races, you name it. I’ve been there for her for just about everything, or at the very least texted her before and after to hear how she crushed whatever she was going after. People watched us train and thought we were crazy. Battle ropes, cleans, attempting to climb walls outside, pulling me on a sled through the gym. We would just laugh and say “this is the easy stuff.”

Related: want to sign up for a free training session at FFC? Click here!

Challenging the Trainer

I was challenging her, alright. It wasn’t until this year she challenged ME. Katina signed us up to do the Spartan Race, a 5-mile run riddled with mud and 20 plus obstacles. Of course I agreed thinking she’d forget because it was months away. I should have known better; she’s a woman that researches everything and even keeps a spreadsheet of her runs!

The day of the race finally came. Then, and only then, did I realize I actually had to go through with it. We both had no idea what we were in for. The racecourse was nuts! There was mud up to our hips, 10-foot walls, barbed wire… pure insanity. But we stuck through it. I helped her with the obstacles and she slowed down on the run for me.

What I Learned

After the race I had a new outlook on what I did for her all these years. It wasn’t just counting reps, helping her get stronger or lose weight. It was more than that. For the first time, she helped me, coached me, made me feel comfortable and didn’t let me give up. She didn’t yell because I ran slower than she did or get mad when I needed water. She supported me when I needed it and encouraged me when I thought I couldn’t make it.

The last 4 years have been a joy, to say the least. She’s never missed a session and I’ve never cancelled one. We’ve cried, we’ve laughed, we’ve had 2-hour sessions, we’ve even been mad at each other to the point of not even saying a word. Through our relationship, I can finally see what I truly offer as a trainer: support, trust and friendship.

Want to train like us? Here’s a sample workout. Show us your results with #FFCChicago. Good luck!

Related: “Member Stories: How FFC Helped Me Get Fit & Become a Beast By 40.”

JP & Katina’s Workout

  • 50 push-ups
  • 50 sit-ups
  • 50 cleans
  • 50 lunges
  • 50 wall balls
  • 50 kettlebell swings

Repeat twice. This workout takes Katina just under an hour!

Post written by FFC Gold Coast Fitness Director JP Maund. 

About JP Maund

Some see working out as a thing they do- run x miles, lift x weight. To me, it’s more than that. It’s a mindset and a lifestyle. It’s not that I’m into fitness, more so it’s that I want to impact people on a daily basis. Fitness is as routine as brushing my teeth and as unconscious as taking a breath. It’s not easy, by any means. But as with most things in life, “nothing in the world is worth having or doing unless it means effort, pain and difficulty.” – FDR Contact jmaund@ffc.com for a complimentary workout with an FFC personal trainer!

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