Until recently, my images of a personal trainer were limited to coaches like Sam Mussabini, the gruff little man in the movie “Chariots of Fire,” who took Olympic athlete Harold Abrahams in hand so that he could “run like the wind,” and the talented and dedicated Robin Wagner, who coached Sarah Hughes to ice skating stardom. Over the past few years, though, I have come to understand that there are amazing trainers who work wonders with ordinary folks.
Once I decided that I needed a trainer to direct me away from random, aimless exercise toward a disciplined, logical approach, that image changed dramatically. There is a great benefit of having a good trainer: one who knows what you need, what exercises will help you achieve your goals, and the ways to get you to do them. A really good trainer is a cross between a therapist and a drill sergeant and has the patience, the skills and the energy to help the layperson become and keep fit.
I’ve had two trainers: First, Tia, who encouraged me gently when I started my weight loss venture following my firm instructions to go easy on me. When Tia relocated, I began working with Nicole Anzalone, to whom I gave complete permission to push me further than the limits I had a tendency to set for myself. She’s been my trainer for about six months now, and I look forward to every session. Each time I learn something new about my body, my muscles, my core, and my future.
Nicole’s mantra is “There is no finish line.” This interview will give you some insight into Nicole’s background, her methods, and her thoughts about training people, especially those of us who are struggling to learn how to lift weights, do planks, skate, jump rope and run like the wind.
Interview with Nicole Anzalone, athletic trainer who works for EFT at Retro Fitness:
Q: How long have you been a trainer and where do you work?
A: I have been a trainer for three years and I work at Retro Fitness.
Q: What kind of exercise do you do for yourself?
A: Any exercise! I always include a little bit of cardio and a lot of resistance training. Once it’s nice out, I really enjoy running outside.
Q: Why did you decide to become a trainer?
A: I was always really into fitness so I get a lot of enjoyment to be able to share my knowledge about fitness with others.
Q: What kind of educational background do you have in the field?
A: I have learned a lot from my certifications which consist of Expert Rating and Mad Dogg, but mostly from personal experiences and learning from others I’ve worked with.
Q: Do you do both one-to-one training and teaching classes?
A: Yes, I do both.
Q: What kinds of classes do you teach?
A: I teach Total Body, Cycling, Butts and Guts, Muscles and Miles and Biking Boot Camps.
Q: What do your clients expect out of one-to-one-training?
A: To see results faster than they would on their own. Also to learn and achieve their goals on their own, eventually.
Q: How do you decide what to do in a half hour session?
A: Before a session, I create a workout which applies to that one particular person, always combining resistance training with a little bit of cardio.
Q: Have you worked with people who are extremely overweight? What kind of training do you do with them?
A: Yes. I start small with a little bit of cardio, walking on the treadmill, step ups on the aerobic step, etc. then I slowly start to incorporate resistance training.
Q: Have you had overweight clients who approach training with a negative attitude? What do you do with them?
A: First, I show them the damage they are doing to their body, then try and show them that working out can be fun and there are so many different exercises that we have to find at least one they will like a little bit just to start.
Q: How does the training change as they lose weight?
A: As they start to lose weight, they start to focus less on the education behind the exercises and more on performance, but still maintaining a learning aspect.
Q: What is your greatest success story with an overweight person?
A: As much as I play a part in the success, it’s all on the client and their success. I wouldn’t say I have one success story greater than the other. Any time a client reaches even the smallest goal. I think it is a big success and accomplishment.
: Who has been your toughest client (no names) and why?
A: The toughest client to have is one with a busy work schedule who is not 100% into it because of that.
Q: What is the best exercise for a person who has lost weight but who wants to reduce the flab?
A: Doing resistance training.
Q: How would you convince an overweight person who says, “I’m not ready” to start exercising and/or training?
A: When overweight clients say they’re not ready, I show them all the health risks of being overweight and all the damage they are doing to their body.
Q: Do you have a philosophy about fitness that you can share?
A: Yes! There is no finish line. 🙂
(Photos taken by Samantha Sensale of Retro Fitness)