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Specialty Certification Helps Client Achieve Fitness Goals


articleimageJohn Cole, 43, struggled with issues many Americans contest with — stress and a sedentary lifestyle. A former UPS employee, Cole had spent many 8- to 10-hour days glued behind a computer desk.

It was when Cole reached 400 pounds that he decided it was time to change his lifestyle. In June of 2012, he joined Baptist East/Milestone Wellness Center, a medical-oriented fitness facility in Louisville, Ky. Cole’s journey towards better health catapulted after he was introduced to Jamal Thruston, a trainer at Milestone.

Like many health journeys, Cole’s started with setting goals. In total, his main goal was to eventually reach 185 pounds, but Thruston had him focus on achieving smaller goals that would eventually help him achieve his overall objective. “We did a lot of goal setting, and if John didn’t meet a goal, we’d re-strategize,” explained Thruston, who has been a trainer at Milestone for a little over a year.

One of those goals involved Cole revaluating his bad snacking habits, which attributed to his weight gain. “I asked him, ‘What’s your biggest obstacle?’” recalled Thruston. “He said snacking, so I had him log what he was eating and we came up with healthier options, such as popcorn, that he could snack on.”

As Cole accomplished goal after goal, he began to see progress. In addition to food logging, Thruston encouraged Cole to increase his activity level. “He set a foundation for me to build upon,” said Cole. “When I reached one goal, we would build from there.”

It was during his time training Cole that Thruston discovered his passion for helping others with weight management. A few months after meeting Cole, he began the process of earning ACE’s Weight Management Specialty. “I decided to specialize in weight management because it’s something, not only America is dealing with, but the world,” explained Thruston. “I feel very empathetic to those who are dealing with overweight issues, and I feel very confident, creative and capable of helping in the obesity crisis. That’s why I got my weight management certification.”

As he progressed in the certification process, his ability to advise Cole in weight loss improved. “It made me a lot more confident that the things I was telling him were sound,” said Thruston. “I have more tools under my belt now and can help him make a true lifestyle change.” Those tools included knowledge on behavior modification, nutrition, exercise for weight loss and more.

Cole said he noticed the transformation in Thruston’s knowledge during their sessions together. “I could see him growing, in terms of education, as he received his certification,” he said.

A year has passed since Cole and Thruston first began training together, and Cole has successfully transitioned out of the sedentary lifestyle he had been living — evident in his current exercise routine and subsequent 80-pound weight loss. He now works out at Milestone between five and six days per week, in addition to supplementing those workouts with Zumba® classes he takes at a local studio.

Additionally, Cole and Thruston meet every two weeks for a personal training session, and keep in touch regularly. “I see him during my workouts at the gym, and we’re in contact pretty often,” said Cole.

Thruston believes keeping in touch with clients between training sessions is a major component of a client’s success. “It helps you maintain your rapport,” said Thruston. “It’s very important trainers keep in touch through text messages, calls or e-mails, to show they care.”

Cole said he appreciated the communication, and that Thruston had made it easy for him to stay motivated. “He makes sure there’s always something in front of you you’re striving to achieve,” he said. “I’m at a point where I have nothing holding me back to reach my goals.”

Cole and Thruston’s story has been an example of how specialty certifications could improve the quality of training received by clients. As Thruston explained, gaining his ACE Weight Management Specialty improved his confidence, something his client noticed. Using Thruston’s expert guidance, Cole will continue to work towards reaching his 185-pound goal.

Entice your trainers to seek out specialty certifications to improve the overall service clients expect. If you take the time to help your training departments achieve specialty certifications, they will help make your club more valuable in the long run.


By Rachel Zabonick

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