I decided to become a personal trainer 7 years ago. Never in a million years did I imagine this is what I would be doing when I was in high school, when I graduated college, when I got married or had my first child. By the time I had my second child, I was aware that personal trainers existed and I even had one. I began teaching group fitness classes before I had my kids. I was always at the gym before and after work, and instructors gave me the nudge that teaching might be something I would enjoy. And so my fitness journey from the other side began!
After I had my kids, I decided to leave my full-time job and began teaching as much as I could in the early hours and when the “kids clubs” were open. I learned as much as I could, took at least one class from other instructors for every class that I taught, and got certified in the original Spinning Program, Pilates, Yoga, Aqua, and strength bar training. I spent years educating myself, developing programs to keep my classes exciting, putting together playlists, back when music was still on cassettes, and discovered fitness conferences, like IDEA World, where the best presenters in the world opened my eyes to the WHY of fitness and the bodies that are trying to DO FITNESS.
“After I had my kids, I decided to leave my full-time job and began teaching as much as I could in the early hours and when the “kids clubs” were open.”
Teaching to full classes was fun and exhilarating, but the fact that in big gym settings, I could not really help individuals with their form and overall goals and wellness was frustrating. I would see trainers in the gym who had the opportunity to work one-on-one with clients, simply putting them on machines and counting reps instead of really engaging with them. Clearly these trainers did not attend the same conferences or education I did, or they would have interacted with their clients differently. Several of the trainers would take my classes and at the end tell me how much they learned from me and my class that they could use with their clients. WHAT? I thought to myself, maybe I should be a trainer. But definitely not at a gym. And so began my next phase. Become a personal trainer: A trainer for those who have been exercising forever, but never see any changes, a trainer for those who do not know where to begin, a trainer for those who are uncomfortable in the gym environment, a trainer for those who never learned why a crunch is not an exercise for the neck or that a squat is not for your knees, a trainer for young athletes, a trainer for performance athletes, a trainer for older adults, a trainer for those who need the next step after physical therapy, a trainer for anyone who does not want to hurt themselves, a trainer to teach healthier lifestyle choices and assist in weight loss and weight management.
If you have ever wondered why a personal trainer might be right for you….here are a few reasons:
Why a personal trainer? Because every body is different and the same exercise protocol, routine, and workout is not right for every body. It’s a fascinating study in to the human body and what it is capable of, or not capable of, based on history and experience. Each one of us comes with a story, and as that story unravels, so do our bodies! In the end, the only thing we can count on is our health. And a healthy body can move. It can glide, it can dip, it can twist, it can run, it can jump and it can soar. One of my favorite sayings however, is “where the mind goes, the body will follow”. This means the body will only be capable of what the mind allows it to be. If the mind is not right, the body will not be right either. This changes everything when it comes to training. If you are trying to “muscle” through movement and if the mind is not right, chances are very high that the body won’t respond well and usually injury or pain will occur. One of the biggest reasons for having a trainer who is educated is that they will know “where the mind goes, the body will follow” and ideally they will be able to feel where your mind is to be able to direct it to offer you ideal movement from your body in return. It is a relationship.
Why a personal trainer? An appointment with a personal trainer provides you with accountability. Variability. Sustainability. Your body is an investment. Every workout or training session is like a credit into your account. It is the one thing you alone are solely responsible for. There is no one to blame but yourself and no one who can do it for you but yourself and no one to thank but yourself. Different from our medical system where we are offered medications with side-effects to treat symptoms more than causes, we can have direct treatment to the causes of pain or disease or injury with the help of an expert personal trainer. The best medication is our nutrition and our movement. We are solely in control of that. But we don’t always know the right things to do. A good personal trainer does.
Why a personal trainer? Our human nature is to take the path of least resistance. We are naturally lazy. Only the highly evolved of our species will recognize this and do something about it. When I see squats and lunges and breath patterns that are counter-intuitive to the body’s natural flow, and when I see shoulders set up into the ears due to our overworked stress reflex, and when I see people come in to workout after sitting all day, I know that there are certain measures we have to take to turn these patterns around so that the movement we put on top of them is productive and life-enhancing instead of destructive and painful. A good trainer will likely turn everything you knew about your movement and the body around, and guide you towards relearning it so that it will sustain you instead of wear you down.The Energy Lab was founded by Jill Ruth Rooks as a personal training studio and to offer group exercise classes that focused on correct movement patterns. There are no machines, we do not sit to train. We train in 3 dimensions where life happens. We value preparing the body for movement and respect the fact that “2000 generations ago we were hunter/gatherers. 200 generations ago we were farmers. 20 generations ago we were operated machines. And just in these last 2 generations, we sit.”~Thomas Myers. My concept of personal training offers flexibility and variability. The entire body is looked at as a whole. I am fortunate to have many brilliant people who study the body and why our health is so important as mentors.
I blend Pilates concepts, yoga flow, loaded movement patterns (Institute of Motion- Michol Dalcourt), fun, play and games (Todd Durkin, Derrick Price), ancient tools and mind-body connections through our spines (Jungshin Fitness – Annika Kahn), Tai Chi and Qi Gong wisdom (David Dorian Ross and Lawrence Biscontini), TRX Training, heart rate training, understanding movement patterns (Faster Global – John Hardy), understanding and providing MELT Method treatment for chronic pain (Sue Hitzmann), a deep study of the fascial lines and anatomy (Thomas Myers, Anatomy Trains) and countless others who I have learned from. Our trainers at The Energy Lab are held to the same standards of education and strive to create the best versions of themselves. They are exposed to as much of what I can share from my knowledge base as possible. Our training community receives exercise for both the mind and the body based on science and treating the body as an integrated unit. We offer one-on-one training, small group training, 30-minute sessions and 60-minute sessions. We offer workplace training and wellness programs. We train teams and sports programs. The Energy Lab is not a gym, it is a lifestyle. We train people to be successful for life.
“Wisdom given by those who justly shaped your life is worth passing on”