Destination Certification: On the Path to Becoming a Personal Trainer

About a year ago, one of my roommates was questioning passions. She’s a deep thinker, this roommate. She asks perceptive questions while others make small talk, and she’s more often than not ruminating on something. She asked me if I knew what my passion was, thereby immediately directing my attention, as she is so often able to do with just one question, to my own internal goings-on I hadn’t been so attuned to.

I’ve forgotten my answer by now, because her response meant so much more: She told me she always thought my passion was fitness, and not just in my work in health journalism, but in the way I live my life, in the way I care about others.

I didn’t necessarily disagree. A love for soccer as a kid morphed into a more focused athleticism as a pre-teen, although why I thought a strict regimen of daily sit-ups leading up to my first-ever high school soccer tryouts would help me make the varsity team is beyond me. These days, I often joke that I’m all pushups all the time, but I promise I have other fitness goals, too.

But a penchant for fitness was surely different from a passion. My own definition of a passion never made room for something as mundane as fitness. A passion was bigger than a personal quest for defined triceps. A passion was supposed to change the world for the better. A passion was noble, something to be proud of for reasons other than vanity.

The certainty with which my roommate had suggested fitness is my passion began to rub off, though, and, without her knowing, I felt my viewpoint beginning to shift. She was certainly right that fitness brings me great personal happiness — call me crazy, but I have been known to forgo the oh-so-slightly more typical celebrations in favor of working out on my birthday, on Valentine’s Day and on New Year’s Eve — but it also connects me to my community. I make plans with friends to exercise, I’m the person coworkers ask for tips to loosen up a stiff knee. And those are the moments when I am my best me. Maybe, just maybe, I could make the world a better place, or at least a fitter one.

It’s one thing to find a great love and mouth off about it. It’s another entirely to be trained to do so. So I’m embarking on the “Let’s make it official!” leg of this passion: I’m becoming a certified personal trainer. Which means in a few months, I’ll be mouthing off more than ever.

This week — with a big old “Here goes nothin!” — I officially purchased my study materials. Check back soon, as I’ll be sharing some thoughts — and if you’re lucky, some workout tips, free of charge! — along the way.

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