PHOTO: CHARLES VANEGAS

Not just lifting

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By Josh Weinstein

You often see them walking around the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) or Recreation and Athletics Centre (RAC) with the word “trainer” printed across their backs. What you often don’t see is the time-management, dedication and certification required to become a personal trainer at a Ryerson gym.

Aside from having prior fitness experience, the process by which new trainers are hired is a multifaceted one. There are many aspects of being a personal trainer that are overlooked, despite the fact that it isn’t just about exercise.

“It’s about their health in general, whenever people think of personal trainer they usually think lifting weights and that’s it, but it’s more than that,” said former Ryerson personal trainer Mike Benitez. “We take a step back and look at their overall health, and depending on the client we’ll manage their goals.”

Nino Robles, a fitness specialist at Ryerson, said the numerous certifications required to be hired at the MAC or RAC are extensive. Courses taken through the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and the Certified Professional Trainers Network are some of the certifications required to become a personal trainer. Being educated with Standard First Aid and CPR/AED Level C certification is also  important in order to take on a position.

“We take our time and try to build a professional friendship with them, which I don’t think all gyms really invest in doing,” Benitez said.

In the process of hiring a new trainer, there are a number of essential characteristics Robles looks for in an applicant. A lot of it comes down to the fact that “the ability to work independently with a wealth of health and fitness knowledge is crucial,” Robles said.

Benitez notes that being a personal trainer at Ryerson is a different experience than at other gyms, as they’re encouraged to build professional friendships with clients.

Once hired, the individual needs to have exceptional time management skills so that they can balance  their training appointments with their daily life. To Robles, it’s also about more than working out.

“There is a constant degree of counselling on health, nutrition, and fitness,” Robles said. “Personal trainers have the ability to become clients’ friends, nutritionists and life coaches.”

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