Why I Became a Personal Trainer (Ross)

Ross Elliott, HFS, CHC Personal Trainer at Asheville Family FitnessI still consider myself a relative newbie to the life of a fitness trainer, but I’m definitely not a rookie when it comes to exercise.


I started participating in athletics in middle school.  I actually had to persuade my parents to let me join the soccer team (they were much more focused on my piano lessons).  I finally got to join the team, and guess what?


I was absolutely mediocre at soccer.


I wasn’t the fastest runner, I didn’t have the best endurance, and I had little to no leg power.


But, somehow, my coach named me one of the captains of the team (I know, not the biggest accomplishment).  He told me to keep playing in high school because I was the quickest learner, a good listener, and I did anything my coaches told me.  So I tried out for the team my freshman year…


And I didn’t make it.


All the other players were stronger, faster, and more skilled than I was.  It was discouraging to get cut from the only sport I thought I could be good at.


That is, until a friend talked me into going to wrestling practice with him.


Let me paint the picture for you.  A 14-year-old kid, weighing all of 93 pounds, with only a year of experience participating in sports, walks into the wrestling room for the first time.  The coach took one look at me, asked how much I weighed, and said, “you should stay a while.”


And thus started my career in wrestling.  2-time conference champ.  2-time district champ.  Went to state.  It was much more successful than my one year of soccer.


I had many more accomplishments, but I still wasn’t the top guy out there.  Still, my coach named me captain, saying that from the very beginning I was the quickest learner, had the best technique, and could teach the rest of the team how to be successful.


It was at this point that I realized my knack for kinesthetic learning.  I could watch my coaches execute a certain move or technique, and  just get it.  I understood all the body positioning, the leverage, and the nuances that made the move successful.  It was my technique that made me a good wrestler, not my strength or speed.


I wrestled year-round for five years before starting college at the University of Florida in 2009, and guess what?


They didn’t have a wrestling program.


I had no wrestling team, no way to challenge myself physically and mentally.  I was pretty stuck.


That’s when I made the move to competitive rock climbing.  The two sports are vastly different, but similar in that they are both very technique-driven and demand a lot of body control.  I learned fast and quickly progressed in the sport.


It was here that I made the big shift into coaching.  In my last two years at school I became an official coach for the climbing team.  My quick understanding of technique, as well as the knowledge gained during my studies as a Physiology and Kinesiology major, helped teach me about goal-specific training and how to progress climbers from novices to veteran athletes.


My first step into personal training came during my internship working with the Shands Fitness and Wellness Center.


It was a specialized gym, very similar to our very own Asheville Family Fitness.  Patients in the Orthopedic Center of Shands Hospital would be referred to us to continue improving their fitness after going through physical therapy.  This is where I started to learn about fitness as a medical treatment rather than just the “get fit” attitude of most exercisers.  I learned to be a better trainer and got even more excited about exercise (that’s right – more excited).


A month after graduation I moved to Asheville and started using my experiences to help others accomplish their fitness goals at AFF, and after being here for a year and a half, I’m still deepening my understanding of fitness and refining my approach to training.


In addition to my regular Gx classes, I teach a Balance Bridge class on Thursdays at 9am. And then there’s my baby, the FunGx4 classes on Monday  nights & Saturdays.


Written by Ross Elliott

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