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How to Choose a Personal Trainer

How to Choose a Personal Trainer

Special points of interest:  Accreditations  First impressions  Results-oriented  Realistic goals  Setting the bar

1. Before you jump the gun, find out if your Personal Trainer is certified through a top accredited program (such as NASM, ACE, or NCSA). Most certifications only require passing an exam, which means almost anybody could take the test. You want to make sure it was a challenging & reputable program that ensures the trainer is well trained and knowledgeable in fitness for a variety of clients. Also make sure he/she is AED/CPR or First Aid certified and has obtained a legal business license. If they don’t take their business seriously, you shouldn’t take them seriously either.

2. Does your trainer LOVE his/her job and seem passionate about it? This one is a no-brainer. First impressions are truly invaluable when meeting a Personal Trainer. If your trainer seems pressed for time, has little to say or looks uninterested in conversation – you probably should turn the other direction.

3. What results did past clients have? Ask if your trainer can share testimonials or can get you in touch with another client for a second opinion. If your trainer has not helped other people achieve a new level of fitness, don’t expect miracles to happen when it’s your turn. However, if he/ she is a new trainer, just make sure you are treated with respect and he/ she demonstrates a genuine interest in reaching your goals. If your trainer is arrogant or makes you feel inferior during the initial consultation, which is not a good sign.

4. Are they setting realistic goals with you, or are they making false promises? Typically, one should not plan on losing more than 3 pounds of fat per week. Do not let someone fool you into thinking they can get you down 50 pounds your first month. While nobody wants to be told it will take 6 months to get into shape, being lied to is going to hurt you more. Does your trainer practice what they preach? Ask them how they stay in shape and see what they say. If they give a detailed description of how often they work out and what types of healthy foods they eat, they are probably a good trainer for you.

Many trainers have naturally fit bodies which is why they chose this career path, but sometimes you need to find one that works hard to stay fit so they can understand what you are going through. Volume 1, Issue 6 by Kelly Irish Decisions, Decisions… In conclusion, go with your gut to choose a personal trainer. If a trainer seems honest and genuine with you, and you can trust what they say, you have found a good match. Don’t let a pressure sale or cheap price choose a peronal trainer for you.

Read more: Choose a personal trainer PDF

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Is Personal Training the Best Job?

Find out if Personal Training is the Best Job

Let me Start by telling you How I Ended up in a Personal Training Career

When I was a little girl, I would spend much of my time outdoors, from sledding down the hills in our backyard in the winter to running through the sprinklers in the summer.  I grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and my favorite childhood memories include playing summer youth softball and achieving the all-star ranking.  I dreamed of becoming a professional athlete and I continued my joys of playing softball from childhood to high school to college.  I enjoyed basketball, cross country running, snowboarding, skating, and more.  There is no doubt that playing sports had a positive effect on my social, mental, and physical health. But, becoming a pro was more of a dream than a reality.

I was an athlete in high school. I even loved skateboarding!

So, could I transfer this love for fitness to a career in Personal Training?

Well, in high school I thought it would be a cool job, but to be honest, I didn't even consider Personal Training when I was in college. I was so out of shape, and I never thought I could start a career as a chubby trainer! My college degree was in Biological Engineering because I dreamed of designing treatments or cures for medical diseases. I always had a passion to help people, and to make the world a better place for all people.  In 2010, I graduated from Penn State University and moved to Arizona to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather and big city life.  I met my husband shortly after living here and we eventually moved into a house together.  When I was pregnant with my son, I started to take my own health very seriously. I spent much of my time learning about nutrition. Little did I know, diet and exercise are the leading cause of most chronic diseases in the United States!  After doing some research, my eyes were opened to the harsh realities of how genetically modified foods and pharmaceutical drugs can negatively impact human health.  I quickly transitioned to a plant-based (vegan) diet and signed up for the NASM Personal Trainer Certification in hopes of losing weight in a healthy way.

Kelly Gibson, 2010 Penn State Graduate

I started to consider making Personal Training my next job, but I still had my doubts that I'd ever get fit enough. 

Once my son Vincent was born, it became a priority for me to stick to a workout program to get rid of my excess baby weight.  I lost weight very quickly with my newfound knowledge of diet & nutrition, and that led me to believe I really could become a Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach! I wanted to teach others how to do what I did.  Had I known the things I know now (back in college), I would have been in the fitness industry years ago.   I was so excited about starting a new career because I sincerely wanted to help other people look and feel their best.

The Weight Loss Story that Made it all Happen

I had gained over 50 pounds during my pregnancy. By that point, I was ready to commit to my health and get the body I always wanted. I transitioned to eating a plant based diet for weight loss after I spent several months studying nutrition on my own.  It became apparent that the most successful weight loss diets require eating less meat, less dairy products, and less cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol is only present in animal-based foods, and I wasn't interested in having any foods in my diet that could hold me back from my goal. Everything I read would suggest we increase whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. I wanted to focus on eating the highest quality foods for weight loss, and avoid the lower quality foods for weight gain.  At this point, it was pretty clear to me what I needed to do to get fit and healthy - go vegan!

I gained 50 pounds during my pregnancy and had alot of work ahead of me to lose the weight!

So, that's what I did. Like many of you, I got tired of the misinformation shared on the internet, the calorie restriction diets, and getting nutrition advice from bloggers and sales reps (especially those who have no credentials to make health claims.)  Health was also very important to me, as I wanted to stay healthy for my newborn son and didn't want to rely on supplements or diet pills. I learned about plant-based diets from a variety of reputable websites such as,, and from several nutrition books and videos. I watched "Forks over Knives" and "Food Inc", as well as video footage of how animals are raised for food. I watched several videos to learn how food is made in factories including the processing of meat, cheese, butter, and poultry.  After becoming educated, it was easy to transition to veganism as my new lifestyle of health, compassion, and fitness. A whole foods plant-based diet helped me lose weight and feel great! I've never felt better.

From uncontrollable pregnancy weight to bikini body!

Starting in January 2012, I spent most of my free time learning new vegan recipes, reading food labels to find vegan products, and learning about fitness and nutrition. During this transition I lost 75 pounds in 10 months.  So, I took the plunge! I opened a Fitness & Nutrition business in September 2012 and called it Kelly Athletics, because I like to take a fun athletic approach to fitness.  I was finally able to help other women and moms lose weight too! Did I mention Personal Training is the best job ever?! I had so much fun working with other moms and women who had the same struggles that I did. They were inspired by my story, motivated by the outcome, and driven to succeed too.

The twist to the story... Personal Trainers can earn just as much as Engineers!  (Curious what we charge? Go here.)

I don't feel like I wasted my engineering degree. In fact, the work ethic and skills I developed in college have led me to where I am today.  I don't let anything stop me from achieving my goals, and that is what I thank engineering school for. After a year of maintaining my weight loss, I experienced an amazing reward for the hard work I have put into my health & fitness journey. I became the featured cover model & weight loss story in Woman's World magazine! Go here to see the January 2014 weekly issue that I was the cover for. I am so thrilled that I had the chance to share my story with millions of readers! Since staying active after college can be tough on us, I decided to focus my work on young women and moms who need help getting fit.  It is my passion to incorporate fun training into my exercise programs to make working out more athletic in nature and enjoyable for my clients! There's nothing like feeling young when you're getting old! I still feel excited to help more people as a Gluten Free Vegan Trainer, and not only will I keep doing it, I live for it! Yes, Personal Training IS the best job!


Written by Kelly Gibson | Gluten Free Vegan Trainer | Online Personal Training | Online Personal Trainer

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Kelly’s Gluten-Free ThanksLiving Recipe Plans

pumpkin latte

ThanksLiving Is The New Thanksgiving!

Read more for Gluten-Free Thanksliving Recipes


With all the amazing meat-free, vegan options out there today, why settle for Turkey as your main course when you could eat healthier and start a new Gluten-Free ThanksLiving tradition. As a vegan of 4 years, I still love to experiment with new foods!  I picked out a few recipes this year, and look forward to digging right in!

I plan on having a ThanksLiving celebration, with my vegan family and vegetarian friend Erica, with delicious plant-based foods! I also donated some help $$ to Mercy for Animals, who is currently doing a Million Dollar Challenge!! This ThanksLiving, give back!

Main ThanksLiving Course: Vegan Meatloaf made out of Lentils and Gluten-free Bread Crumbs, topped with cranberry sauce. (I’m the only one who has a gluten allergy, so the other three will be eating Tofurky as their main course.)

Delicious Plant-Based Sides:

  1. Mashed Potatoes mixed with Non-GMO Canned Corn and topped with a satsifying gluten-free gravy.
  2. Vegan Stuffing made with Gluten-Free Brown Rice Loaf (instead of wholegrain bread).

Amazing Beverages:

pumpkin latte
Delicious Latte from Pomegranate Cafe, AZ
  1. Pumpkin Spice Lattes with Vanilla Almond Milk and gelatin-free marshmallows; Hot Cocoa with marshmallows for Vinny 🙂
  2. Reisling for the adults; grape juice for the kid.

For Dessert:

I’m still debating between this Banana Cream Cake and the Chocolate Pumpkin Pie with Almond Meal Crust.  I will have to post pictures of which dessert I end up making!!

Which one would you choose?  I was really eying down that cake… we ended up making both!

Happy Gluten-Free ThanksLiving to all of my vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan friends out there. GO YOU if you are working on reducing meats and introducing new plant-based meals! I would love to help you – just contact me for more info.

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