YMCA personal training

Candy Fisher, right, leads some clients through stretching exercises Thursday at the Ottumwa YMCA.

OTTUMWA — Fitness programs need to be tailored to the individual doing them. That’s the point Candy Fisher kept coming back to when discussing her work as a personal trainer.

“Our job is to develop a program that suits their needs,” Fisher, a member of the Ottumwa YMCA fitness staff, said. “I have to work with each client to find an activity that is pleasurable to them and gets them here to see me all the time.”

She said most people who come to a personal trainer are seeking information. “They’re not quite sure how they want to move forward with their fitness,” she said, or maybe they’ve tried something and failed and are looking for something different.

“Providing information is a big part of our job.”

Clients come to her with goals as well. They generally start off pretty broad: they want to get stronger, lose weight and feel better in general.

“We take those general ideas and fine-tune them with goal-setting,” Fisher said. “We try to focus on a specific goal that we can measure and see progress toward. Each little piece comes together for the big picture.”

One of the challenges she faces is a staggering statistic: 50 percent of people who join a health club or start a program stop doing it. Fisher’s goal is to help her clients make their workout a habit.

“It needs to become a part of your daily live. You have to find a program that works for you,” she said. “When we find that one thing that works for you, it becomes a habit and you don’t need us anymore.”

And that’s happening more and more. She said it’s become common for clients to sign on with a personal trainer for the short term, get their training and habits down and move on.

However, there are those that stick with it. “Some people say they need that accountability and motivation to stick with it and only come to work out with a personal trainer,” Fisher said.

There are multiple aspects to fitness, including flexibility and balance on top of strength and endurance. Fisher works to get to know her clients to best gauge how to work each aspect into the training.

For some people, Fisher said, the idea of yoga and pilates might be a hard “no.” So she works in other ways to build that flexibility and balance training in. Others might be on medical restriction, so she may end up in the pool working with them.

“Some things aren’t always for everybody, but the people who do it love it,” she said. “I love being able to work with people where they’re at and help them set and reach a goal.”

Fisher first got into personal training working with active older adults in retirement and moved on to working in yoga and pilates.

“There so much focus now on active older adults. They’re retiring earlier and and are wanting to remain active,” she said.

“I saw it as a hobby, and it turned into a job for me. I really like it. It’s a really rewarding job.”

Features Editor Tracy Goldizen can be reached via email at tgoldizen@ottumwacourier.com or followed on Twitter @CourierTracy.


Tracy Goldizen is the Courier's features and magazine editor, leading production of the award-winning "Ottumwa Life" and the Courier's other magazine offerings. She began work with the Courier on the copy desk.

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