Graduate Spotlight - Personal Trainer

perfect career means never "working"

When Spencer Moon entered the Personal Trainer program at Greenville Technical College a year ago, fitness had been his lifestyle and passion for quite some time, and he thought he had a pretty thorough knowledge of the career.

Being in the program showed him just how much he still needed to learn. “I knew a lot when I went in there, but compared to what I know now, I didn’t know much at all,” he says.

Some of the new skills he’s learned include teaching neural connection (mind to muscle), developing sports specific workouts, teaching joint angle specificity, adjusting rep speeds, and creating routines and programs for different client needs.

Unfortunately, Spencer says, many personal trainers in our state never seek the education they need to do their jobs better. “In South Carolina, as of now, you do not have to have a personal trainer certification. You don’t have to have any kind of certification,” he says.

“I’ve seen people come in off the street and just want to start training. Just because they made their own bodies look good or may be bodybuilders does not mean that they have the knowledge to work with someone else’s body that is totally opposite from their own.

Those people are known as repetition counters because they have no idea of what it takes to be a certified personal trainer,” he adds.

Finding a job that doesn’t seem like work is something Spencer feels very fortunate about. In a previous job, he hated even walking in the door and spent much of the day looking at his watch.

“This is my life-long passion whether I eventually go into management or own my own gym,” he says.

Mom on a mission

When she turned 50 two years ago, Donna Halbert found out that she was suffering from a borderline case of osteoporosis. Though she exercised regularly, Donna had never performed weight-bearing exercises.

Knowing that this is one way to increase bone mass, she started looking for a way to learn more and found Greenville Technical College's Personal Trainer program.

Once she got enrolled, Donna discovered more than just information on how to exercise properly. She discovered a career specialty: helping women over age 35 with health-related issues.
To get started in her specialty, Donna plans to work with some of the women in her church, Southside Fellowship, who've asked to be among her first clients. From there, she's considering opening an exercise studio at home or working at a club.

In her Personal Trainer classes, Donna is affectionately known as "Mom," an age-based distinction that doesn't bother her at all. Though many of her classmates are in their 20's, one of the instructors, Gyle Atwood, went through the program himself, and at age 61, gives Donna a little balance on the age continuum.

At home, Donna also answers to the name "Mom." Her son, a 21 year old college student, enjoys comparing notes with her about the way she prepares for class.

"He teases me because I actually read the books," she says. "He says college students don't read their books."

Family members also tease her about being a health nut. That, Donna says, is almost essential in her program of study. "When we go around and introduce ourselves, most of us say we want to help other people and most have always been interested in health and exercise," she says.

For Donna, fitness is a mission with a target market. "Fifty percent of women out there are walking around with osteoporosis and they don't even know it. "It's a silent disease, and what we're doing through our diet and lack of exercise contributes to that," she says. "I just want to kind of use it as a wake-up call to women to say that we need to be doing this."