Some might say the best part of personal training is the flexible hours or being able to get your own workout in while you’re working with clients. For Lindsay Howard at Sculpt 24 Fitness in Valdosta, Georgia, it’s watching her clients achieve their goals.
“It’s a blessing to be a part of their journey,” she said.
Howard has been a personal trainer since 2014, and she’s been with Sculpt since November 2016.
“I started my career in fitness as a Zumba instructor and then expanded into group fitness,” she said. “One day, one of my bosses at the time asked me, ‘Lindsay, why aren’t you personal training?’ At the time I didn’t think it was for me. I liked leading groups and dancing. Then, I decided to go for it. I’m so glad I did.”
While it is not required, most personal trainers choose to become certified through one of several organizations. Howard received her personal training certification through the American Sports and Fitness Association. She also has a Zumba fitness license for Levels 1 and 2.
“To get my personal training license was a lot of studying,” Howard said. “I had a lot of knowledge from some of my college courses and from mentoring from other trainers and fitness professionals, but it was still a lot of studying to get ready to take the test. I passed my test and got my license.”
According to Howard, some of the biggest benefits of having a personal trainer are having someone to keep you accountable; to give you new workouts; to help you get results; and, most importantly, to teach you proper form to prevent injury.
One of the biggest mistakes she sees in the gym is lack of patience with the process.
“Giving up too soon is one of the things I see the most,” she said. “Most people want immediate results. You don’t get out of shape overnight, so it doesn’t make sense that you would reverse that in such a short period of time.”
A typical day for Howard involves training clients both in the mornings and evenings.
“My first clients are usually around 8 a.m.,” she said. “I train clients until about 11:30 (a.m.). Then, I do the first part of my workout. Clients start up again at 5 (p.m.) and end around 7:30 (p.m.). Then, I do the second part of my workout.”
Howard said one client in particular stands out to her: a 58-year-old woman who has found joy in pushing her body to do things she didn’t think were possible.
“One of my clients just wanted to grow old gracefully,” Howard said. “She shows up and gives it her all every time. She has learned to love her body. Watching her excitement when she achieves something is the best. One time she didn’t think she could do a box jump. She nailed it, and the look on her face was priceless. She was so excited.”
Howard’s first fitness inspiration growing up was her athletic older sister. Now, she cites successful fitness industry businesswomen Amanda Latona and Pauline Nordin as inspirations. However, it may be her own health struggles that have fueled Howard’s passion for fitness the most.
“I had some serious health issues at one point,” she said. “I had the worst case of endometriosis my doctor had ever seen. I literally almost died. At the age of 33, I had a hysterectomy. Once I healed, I started working out again. Then, I got my Zumba license and continued from there. Once I got into personal training, I also decided to start competing in bikini fitness competitions. I’ve done 3 competitions and brought home trophies from each one.
“I can’t imagine not training now… I always felt that God meant for me to help people, but I had to look to his purpose and plan. I feel like this is what I was meant to do.”
For anyone who’s hesitant to start working out at a gym because they don’t know where to start, Howard suggests getting help from a trainer or going with a friend.
“When gyms offer that free consultation, take them up on it,” she said. “Try classes. Get a trainer. If you don’t jive with the first instructor or trainer, don’t give up. Try another. Bring a buddy! Having a workout buddy makes things not so serious so you can enjoy your workouts.”
Written by: Anna Limoges
Photography by: Jesse Taylor