The first time they worked out together nearly 18 months ago, Heidi Johnson spent about an hour with her new personal trainer, Clarinda Haglin. But Heidi exercised for only a few minutes during that session. The rest of the hour they simply talked.
“The first day Clarinda trained me, she had me do this sled thing and a few other movements to get a baseline to see where I was physically,” Heidi recalls. “It was really tough. But she also asked me to tell her my story while we were working out, and she took a lot of time to get to know me. I told Clarinda my long-term goal was to lose nearly 200 pounds, so we discussed things like eating habits and water intake. She really took the time to get to know my limitations before we focused on the big goals.”
Anytime Fitness personal trainers often use the term “little victories” to describe the progress their clients make towards achieving their ultimate goals. It helps make large targets feel (and become!) attainable.
“Right now, one of Heidi’s goals is to do a pull-up,” Clarinda said. “It’s a big goal that we are going to reach in small steps. We’re starting with the assisted pull-up machine. Every few weeks we are working to reduce the assist by 10 lbs. By breaking this up into small achievable milestones, we will build on each success until we hit her ultimate goal of doing a pull-up with no assistance. Little victories quickly add up to awesome accomplishments.”
Those who’ve made great strides in their fitness journey (Heidi has lost 150 pounds while gaining strength and stamina) say that finding others to support and motivate you is crucial to overcoming the inevitable frustrations on the long road to success. Heidi wholeheartedly agrees.
“I remember a few workouts where I was incredibly frustrated with myself because I wasn’t doing as well as I wanted,” said Heidi. “I actually remember crying during one workout because I was so disappointed in myself. Clarinda just let me sit for a moment and she told me that I was doing the best I could that day and she knew it. I told her I just didn’t want her to think I was being lazy. She smiled and said that was the last thing she was thinking.”
“There was also a group class I was doing that was just too hard for me. I remember the trainer who was running the class noticed I had gotten really quiet and he checked in on me. I started crying again and he told me that I could back off a little and go at my own pace. The general manager, Jim, noticed that day, too, and came right next to me and did some of the exercises at my same pace just to encourage me to keep going. I truly appreciate the understanding of Clarinda and the other trainers, especially if I’m having a rough day. I’ve witnessed them doing this for other people, as well.”
Putting the “Personal” in Training
Clarinda believes that “creating a solid foundation of understanding” while building genuine relationships with her clients is essential to helping them achieve their fitness goals.
“Every client is different and I adjust their workouts to what they can or cannot do according to their physical limitations,” said Clarinda. “I also hold each of my clients accountable as best I can so that they will reach their goals. Everyone needs someone to keep them accountable. There have been times that I texted Heidi and told her to get her butt to the gym or on my schedule!”
Reminding Heidi why she joined Anytime Fitness in Plymouth, MN in the first place, and tracking her progress beyond the scale, are other ways that Clarinda provides additional support and encouragement.
“Everyone wants to see results,” Clarinda says. “One of the best ways to do that is through measurements and a fitness assessment. I track these and we do them regularly to ensure we hit their goals. I’m also a teacher. I want my clients to understand what we are doing and how it benefits their daily life. I want my clients to feel they learned something from our session every time they see me.”
Forget What You See on TV
Many people are intimidated by the screaming trainers they see on reality television shows. That stereotype is exactly the opposite of how Clarinda treats Heidi and her other clients.
“I think that it is important to have fun with my clients during our training session,” Clarinda said. “Heidi and I have laughed so hard during some of our personal training sessions that our abs feel like they’ve had a workout.”
Even when “constructive criticism” is in order, Clarinda uses a gentle touch.
“When she has to correct someone on their form during an exercise, she does it in a British accent so it doesn’t sound so harsh,” Heidi said. “It’s just one more thing I love about her.”
Please join us as we continue to follow Heidi on her fitness journey this year via the Anytime Fitness blog. In future posts Heidi will share her new healthy eating secrets, tips on overcoming weaknesses, advice on making connections, and much more.Read Heidi's Backstory Read Heidi's Key Lessons