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Look for variety, passion from personal trainer
Train more than your muscles
MariaSanders 020
Maria Sanders is a personal training manager for Fit Life Personal Training. Call her at 252-269-6756 or email her at - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

A personal trainer can help you stay on track for fitness goals, offer motivation and teach you proper exercise techniques.

Maria Sanders, personal training manager for Fit Life Personal Training, said a good personal trainer should offer more than certification and a basic skill set. They should also offer a dose of compassion and variety.

Sanders moved to Hinesville in 2011 and soon got into the fitness industry.

“I started off not knowing about fitness, or everything that I thought I knew was completely wrong,” she said. “The one thing you want to make sure of is that your trainer has a passion to help … You want to have the passion to help someone and seriously believe you can help them.”

Sanders grew up in an active household.

“When I was younger, my parents used to own a dance studio,” she said, adding that she became an instructor.

At age 18, she said, she went from dance costumes to Army fatigues. She stayed in the military for five years and met her husband.
She became a stay-at-home mom for her two kids for about four years and then wanted to do something outside of her home.

Because of her background, she started her fitness career as a group fitness instructor on Fort Stewart in 2012. She became a personal trainer about 18 months ago and immersed herself in everything relating to health, fitness and lifestyle changes.

She currently holds crossfit training certifications for level 1 training, coach’s certification, mobility training, gymnastics training and is certified by USA weightlifting, just to name a few.

She trained and learned a variety of exercises, read fitness and health-related articles and practiced what she preached.
“You want to exemplify what you teach,” she said.

Sanders said Fit Life Personal Training, a third-party personal training company that offers its program at Anytime Fitness in Hinesville, is dedicated to ensuring that clients receive a passionate and long-term commitment.

“The way we have our training system set up is that we require a little bit more than just somebody who earned their certification online,” she said. “Certification alone doesn’t mean you are a great trainer.”

Fit Life requires trainers to go through a standardized format on how to train people based on individuals’ needs and goals.

“There is no one-way, cookie-cutter-fits-all routine,” Sanders said.

Far too often, she said, trainers will try to train clients using the same moves and exercises they learned.

“That is not exactly the best way for everybody,” she said, emphasizing that it takes dedication and time to develop a trusting relationship between client and trainer.

“That is one of the things to look for when getting a personal trainer, making sure that you can develop that trust and relationship,” she said. “(The client) might be in a vulnerable time in their life. They might be uncomfortable with the way they look, uncomfortable with how they move. And you develop that trust where the trainer can grow with (the client), making sure they grow in their confidence and making sure that we can take them from someone who doesn’t work out at all or doesn’t know the gym and help them gain confidence.”

She said she wants to show clients everything a gym offers. She added that she wants to make sure clients learn about the benefits of weight and resistance training.

“Which is the best way to get into shape,” she said.

Far too often, she said, people spend 60 minutes on a treadmill or elliptical trainer and miss out on true training.

Sanders said she does a one-hour consultation with potential clients.

“We go over their whole health history, ask about their fitness goals, their expectations, and develop an ongoing conversation,” she said. “I really want to establish a trusting relationship where I can honestly tell them, ‘This is where you are right now, and I can help you get to your goals.’”

Sanders said she also does a workout introduction for potential clients.

She said some clients come in seeking to lose weight, others to gain strength, and still others for overall health. Based on their goals, clients are assigned a trainer who can best meet those needs.

“I really enjoy working with someone over a period of time,” Sanders said. “It’s more a learning experience, and we spend it with them over a longer period of time. Six months, 12 months — there is so much to learn from your personal trainer that you can’t cover it all in just a couple of sessions.”

A long-term approach helps establish a lifestyle change, not just in diet but in how people move, feel and experience day-to-day activities, Sanders added.

“I want everybody to have the gym be an extension of their lives, and that is where variety comes in because in real life, you do a whole bunch of things,” she said, noting that training movements are more vital to master than the stationary machines.

“Variety is very important,” she said. “Making sure that you are actually moving your body the way it is designed to move. Stationary machines are great, but not in terms of functionality … We want to teach you how to move functionally so you can extend your quality of life outside of the gym.”

Functional training mimics everyday movements such as lifting groceries out of a car, carrying or lifting a child, or bending over to pick something up.

She said her trainers are taught to focus on coaching a client in proper form and function.

“They need to know proper movement techniques, biomechanics and know what movement patterns look like so we are actually working one-on-one with a client,” she said. “Instead of just prescribing a workout and just telling them to go and do it, we are going to stand there and make sure you are doing everything right … make sure you are moving in a safe manner.”

She said having a varied workout routine will improve body composition and overall body awareness as well as improve fitness levels and overall health.

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