A question I get occasionally is why did I become a personal trainer? Most people assume that I was an athlete in high school or college and have been a fitness buff my whole life. The truth, however, is very different from that.
I come from a family of dancers. I started dancing at a young age which made weight a central focus of my upbringing. I was weighed by my ballet instructors each week which made food and weight an issue at home. No desserts. No seconds. There always seemed to be someone watching what I was eating. I became silently rebellious by sneaking food and scarfing it down behind closed doors.
When I stopped dancing at the age of 15, I made an honest, verbal vow never to exercise again. I was a self proclaimed exercise hater. I proceeded to eat everything I could get my hands on to make up for the previous 10 years of deprivation. During my high school years I ate what I pleased and didn’t move a muscle (except my overused jaw muscle so busy chewing and swallowing). I quickly put on weight.
This prom pose is cracking me up.
From that point on, my weight officially jumped on the weight management roller coaster and was a permanent rider for many years. I got married and struggled to lose weight and finally got down to 155 to squeeze into my beautiful dress. Then the weight shot up fast.
I started to teach kindergarten and quickly my overwhelming job consumed my days. I had no balance in my life, never exercised and tried to give myself the energy my job demanded by filling my body with sugar. I also noticed around this time that I had become “the fat sister” in my family. I had gained too much weight to enjoy many of the things I used to like snow skiing, hiking, swimming, water skiing, etc. I just wanted to sit and eat. I was miserable, often sick, and unable to sleep well. I was now well over 180 pounds, hated my job and hated myself.
I sought out my parents for help. They recognized my desperation, so they sent me to a personal trainer, Ben, for six weeks. I was primed and ready to do anything Ben the Trainer told me to do:
He told me to drink a gallon of water a day—I did it.
He told me to lift weight three times a week—I did it.
He told me to do cardio five times a week—I did it.
He told me to cut out sugar and white flour 100%–I did it.
He told me more vegetables and fruits—I did it.
I honestly quit all my old habits cold turkey and in a day was a changed person. The six weeks of a personal trainer turned into 2 ½ years of three visits a week with Ben. I dropped 50 pounds, 6 dress sizes, and gained my life back.
Since my days with Ben the Trainer, I have gone through three pregnancies (where I gained and lost 70 lbs each time), more trainers, stayed at home raising my children, moved four times, seen my husband start and finish medical school, and supported him during his residency here in San Antonio. Throughout all of these changes fitness and health has been central to who I am and become my hobby and passion. Last year I decided to finally fulfill a goal of mine and became a NASM certified personal trainer. It has been so fulfilling to be able to work with my clients at the JCC and see them reach their goals, gain strength, and lose weight. Despite the crazy workouts I put them through, they still come back with a smile!
I have also taken my obsession with fitness to the internet. I have a website called “Trainer Momma” (the website is www.trainermomma.com). I write daily fitness and nutrition tips for women and completely committed to helping mother realize that fitness CAN fit in their busy lives. Trainer Momma was also recently featured on WOAI’s San Antonio Living show in a segment about Online Fitness Training.
After working with clients as a personal trainer for the past 18 months, it quickly became obvious that nutrition is paramount to their success. I am currently studying to become an AFPA Certified Nutrition Consultant to meet the needs of my clients and readers of Trainer Momma even better.
I look forward to coming to work each morning, seeing and working with my clients and in turn fueling my love for fitness.
–Mandi Reading is a certified personal trainer and a certified nutrition consultant. Check out her website Trainer Momma at www.trainermomma.com for daily fitness and nutrition tips. For any other questions, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.