Day in the life of a personal trainer

Austin Eppert, senior in kinesiology and health, holds a shoulder press while personal trainer Stephanie Spotts, senior in kinesiology and health, helps spot at Lied Recreational Athletic Center. Spotts has been a personal trainer at Lied since May of last year after receiving national certification last April.

Sarah Binder

As a college student, it’s not easy to fit classes, jobs, a social life, adequate sleep and maintaining a healthy lifestyle into every day, but some have more incentive than others.

“As a trainer, your body is your billboard. People aren’t going to want to work with you if you can’t take care of yourself,” said Stephanie Spotts, senior in kinesiology and health and head student trainer for Recreation Services.

Personal trainers strive to help their clients find the same balance. They develop personalized plans for each trainee, whether the client is training for a marathon or recovering from an injury.

“Clients all have specific goals, wants and needs. Some of them are very advanced. They come in and say, ‘kick my ass.’ Some are very beginner,” Spotts said.

There also are services, such as TRX suspension training, which utilizes suspension of a person’s own body weight, that are only allowed with the supervision of a trainer.

Finally, personal trainers provide motivation to help their clients reach their goals.

“You want to be their friend. You want to be that support system, yet give them that extra little push to give them the workout they want,”  Spotts said.

After filling out a new client information form, a trainer will have a consultation with the client to discuss any medical issues or past injuries, as well as the clients goals and personal workout preferences. This meeting also gives Rec Services an idea of the client’s personality, so he or she can be matched with the best trainer for his or her needs.

However, all that personalization can put pressure on the trainers. Spotts said that for each hour spent with the client — the hour the trainer gets paid for — at least that much time goes into planning the program.

“It makes it hard to find time for yourself,” Spotts said.

She gets up early, “when most college students are probably heading to bed,” to make time for her own workouts. 

And she gets to bed early — she said sleep is something she makes sure not to sacrifice.

Spotts avoids energy drinks, which are high in calories, but will occasionally drink coffee. She keeps her energy up by eating five times per day, and eating a bigger meal at lunch than at dinner. She prefers fruits and whole grains as portable snacks — such as pretzels, grapes, applesauce or a banana.

Spotts is currently working a full-time internship with Rec Services as she prepares to graduate in May, and also coaches for the 10-week extreme body shaping program Kosama, which has a location on Main Street.  

She started working for Rec Services two years ago, doing everything from working the front desk to fixing workout machinery. She became a trainer last spring after being certified by the American Council on Exercise. As the head student trainer, Spotts also leads a weekly class for other trainers, where they learn everything from muscle groups to how to be personable with clients.

Though Spotts said she doesn’t see personal training as her future career — she wants to keep working in campus recreation — watching her clients succeed is a very rewarding experience.

“Knowing that I got them to the goals that they wanted to achieve makes the early mornings worth it,” Spotts said.