I once saw a YouTube video that casually explained life and the human experience like a video game summary. The video describes infancy as the tutorial of life, and our life prior to high school graduation as an extended tutorial where we can develop our character.
I like that description. It gives a gentleness and forgiveness to our early development years. Similar to a video game character tutorial, our early years are going to be full of mistakes and blunders while we learn how to do life.
Fast forward to High School, I now was working as a lifeguard for the local rec center. I taught swim lessons and worked my way up to swim coach. This is where I declare my career in the fitness industry to have officially started. I began to learn the skills of organizing a session, pushing children and adults to swim faster, farther, and with better technique. I was also still running on the treadmill every day.
I signed up for two different classes in high school, I took both of them each year I was there, even though I only had to do them once for the credit. These classes were aerobics taught by Mrs. Pays, and weight training taught by Mrs. Posey. I remember in my first aerobics class that I set out with that same attitude I had in middle school “I am going to do what the teacher says no matter how hard it is.” Well this is where my ego got checked. While I had become great at running on the treadmill for 30 minutes and swimming various times, I was still very weak physically. I was shocked to see that any girls could bench the bar, let alone with weight on it. In aerobics I loved and hated the feeling of my muscles screaming at me when I reached my anaerobic threshold. This taught me that I was once again, at the bottom of the food chain.
For the next two years I worked hard to become better. Aerobics came to me easier than weight training and I eventually abandoned weights entirely. Those three years in high school shaped me more than anything to become who I am today. Personal training was on my radar then as a career, but I would continue teaching group fitness and coaching swimmers for several more years. This was mainly due to my developing confidence and enjoyment with participating in the group aerobics classes.
High school came and went, college years started and I remained teaching water aerobics and swim coaching. It wasn’t until I moved to Arizona that I started seriously thinking about moving on to the next phase.
There was a good amount of time I was considering becoming a firefighter. Summer of 2010 I got certified as both an ACE Personal Trainer and a nationally recognized EMT. After doing several hospital clinicals and working as a volunteer ride along with the Phoenix Fire Department. I decided that I much rather prefered to help people enhance their lives, rather than help them pick up the pieces after they wrecked it. In the hospital I saw things like an obese woman coming into the ER because of a stomach ache and knee pain, we saw cases of type 2 diabetics who continued to abuse their body’s limits, and not to mention all the unhealthy children.
When I moved back to Utah in 2011 I decided to throw myself into fitness. I started my own in home personal training business. Back then it was called “Fitness with Heidi” and I started working for a large corporate gym as a personal trainer. I had already been with this gym as a swim coach and group fitness instructor, but this was my first time seriously jumping into coaching clients in the weight room.
I learned a lot in my time there, but working for a big box gym was not for me. I left this job after becoming a 200 hour certified Life Power Yoga Teacher. By then I was so burned out and used up from that gym. I gave up fitness as a career for a whole year. I was burned out on every level, I didn’t think it was for me and I found a job working as a EMT security officer. It was blue collar shift work. Boring and routine, but it was just what I needed to heal from the previous job. Often my days would start at 5am and I would not go home until after 9pm. So having a shift job that was less than 12 hours seemed like a vacation to me.
When the opportunity came for me to start working as a trainer again, it was for the University of Utah. In my year off I had begun bodybuilding and my love for the gym was sparked again. This was an exciting time in my life and I was full of joy to have a full schedule of seeing clients again. I trained there for about 3 years until I finally decided to take on my business full time in the early spring of this year 2016.