As I reach the end of my 12-week internship at Fitness Fusion I just want to say what a privilege it’s been to get to know all of you, work out next to you, and on occasion offer words of advice, correction and encouragement as I watched you go through your exercises. Before and after class I’ve had the chance to get to know many of you, and have greatly enjoyed our bond of sweating and working out together.
A friend and former gym member turned me on to Fitness Fusion. She raved about the workouts, the level of training and instruction, and the sense of community. “Check out their Facebook page,” she told me. “I’m pretty sure Brian is looking for trainers.” She knew I had recently started working as a trainer at the Northampton Y and that I was wanting a little more input as a new trainer. So I emailed Brian and explained to him why, at 57, I was just getting into personal training. True to form, Brian wrote me a very nice and encouraging response, inviting me to come down and see the gym.
Walking into the gym for the first time I realized this was the real deal. Not a lot of machines. Not a room full of treadmills and ellipticals like we have at the Y. Instead I saw weights, bands, medicine balls, TRXs, benches, ropes – the raw equipment of serious physical training. This is not a place where you’ll find a bunch of people plugged in and staring at TV screens while they log their 30 minutes of exercise. On the contrary, it’s a place where you’ll find sweaty bodies leaning into really hard physical training, relentlessly. It’s a place where you’ll find every individual pushing their limits, summoning energy and strength they didn’t know they had. As a “young” trainer, it’s a place I instantly liked.
My first class at the gym nearly killed me. I was gasping for breath between exercises, sweat pouring off me, thinking I must look like the most unfit person in the world. I was pushing as hard as I could, afraid to look around, afraid that Brian might be thinking, “Oh geez, why did I offer this old guy an internship? He’s never going to make it.” Honestly, I wasn’t sure I was going to survive the demands of these workouts.
During the second class that week I started to glance around and realized that everyone was finding their own pace with the exercises, some pushing harder and some a little easier. “OK,” I thought, “maybe it’s OK to take this at a more reasonable pace.” From that point on I started learning how to lean into the workouts for optimum gain, taking into account where my body was at on any particular day, without driving myself into the ground.
One of the basic precepts of physical training is that the body adapts to whatever strain we place on it. Within a few weeks I started to notice that my endurance was increasing fairly dramatically. I could keep going through the full set of exercises for each station. I learned to adjust the weight or resistance for the anticipated number of sets. I still had sweat pouring off my brow, but I wasn’t worried about collapsing. In fact, at times I felt like I had energy to burn – which was good, as I often had to turn around and demonstrate the moves to the next class!
I started to see benefits too in my work as a trainer at the Y. The Fusion workouts dramatically increased my repertoire of exercises and variations that I could use with my clients. It also shifted what I felt I could ask and expect from them in terms of effort. When you’ve busted out 50 pump push-ups followed by 55(!) Belly Bumps on sliders the previous evening, a 30-second plank suddenly looks pretty tame. And I noticed that I was starting to feel kind of addicted to the strenuous effort of the Fusion workouts.
Every other week Brian would quiz me on what I was learning – progressions and regressions for each exercise, corrective exercises for various physical imbalances, strengthening exercises for every major muscle group in the body. He’s committed to producing trainers who really understand movement and exercise, ensuring the safety and well-being of the people they work with, and it shows in the care and attention he’s put into the design of the internship.
All in all, my internship at Fitness Fusion has been a great experience, invaluable both in its contribution to my growth as a personal trainer, and in furthering my own fitness journey. Brian is a great guy to work with, and I’ve learned so much just watching how he interacts with everyone in class – not to mention tapping into his wealth of knowledge about physical training. I did a few 1-on-1 training sessions with Jared which were awesome – highly recommended for anyone dealing with any physical issues or challenges or just wanting to level up your game. And I got to know a bunch of really cool people – all of you – who greeted and welcomed me into the FF family from day one. I’m grateful to Brian, Marlene, Jared and Kaisa for giving me the opportunity to join the team for these past few months, and grateful to all of you for making it so much fun! Thanks!