Being fit is not about being skinny. The fitness industry misguides individuals into subscribing to regimes and treatments which do not promote permanent changes in behavior. If it did, the issue of weight management would be resolved, and the industry would collapse.
Weight management implies permanent lifestyle change.
“Being able to give someone a good workout does not make you a good trainer,” she says. “Teaching people new, lasting, positive habits in their day-to-day lives, motivating them to recognize the benefits, encouraging them to continue, providing the right amount of honest, constructive criticism… that’s hard to do.”
Maria’s style of personal training is not standard. Having worked as a rising fitness trainer in a gym setting, she realizes that individuals most in need of lifestyle change cannot be reached effectively through 60-minute sessions 1-2x per week. Clients need contact every day, often numerous times. Some need intensive nutritional and behavioral counselling as well.
In 2009, in addition to her volunteer work, Maria acted as a live-in trainer and coach for two members of her host family (separately), both of whom, over the course of six months, made improvements not just in their health, fitness, and eating, but also in their interpersonal relationships.
“I have the best job in the world. There is nothing better than sharing in the day-to-day successes of my clients. Building strong, lasting friendships with them, and reaching a level of trust seldom possible to gain in a gym setting.”