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Chat Williams, MS, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D, PT-AR
Chat Williams, MS, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D, PT-AR, is the Supervisor for Norman Regional Health Club and the Director of Youth Performance in Norman, Oklahoma. He is a past member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association Board of Directors and is the past NSCA State Director Committee Chair, Midwest Regional Coordinator, and State Director of Oklahoma (2004 State Director of the Year).
He also served on the NSCA Personal Trainer SIG Executive Council.
He is the author of multiple training DVDs including, Training and Program Design with the BOSU Balance Trainer, Weekend Warrior: Training the Recreational Athlete, and co-author of 3-D Legs. His company, Oklahoma Strength and Conditioning Productions, offers personal training services, sports performance for youth, metabolic testing, and educational conferences and seminars for strength and conditioning professionals.
1. What does a typical day-in-the-life-of look like for you?
During the week, my day will start between 4:30–6:00 am at the Norman Regional Health Club. I usually have a few training sessions with my adult clients, but I primarily focus on my supervisor duties with the daily operating procedures of the health club. During the afternoons and evenings, I train my athletes and kids at our youth performance facility. I usually finish between 6:00–8:00 pm. We have over 225 kids that train at our facility. We have kids that want to improve fitness and we have pretty much every possible sport represented. I usually get 2-3 workouts in during the week, but my best (intensity speaking) are on the weekends.
2. What attracted you to a career in the fitness industry?
I originally wanted to be a coach and physical education teacher. I switched my major right before my semester of student teaching. I decided that I wanted the ability to work with multiple populations. I have always enjoyed working out and seeing the difference it makes in people who embrace the benefits of training. It is awesome to see people reach their potential when they put forth so much effort and take accountability in the program.
3. Why did you decide to become an NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer? Has your NSCA membership and/or certification helped you? If so, how?
I was asked to teach a personal training class at the University of Oklahoma when I was a graduate student. I did my research on the certifications in the industry and the NSCA is the total package—Quality of the certification; education and publications to support it; state, regional, and national conferences; and a high-quality staff at the national headquarters.
The NSCA has played a vital role in my career. I have had the opportunity to meet some of the best researchers and practitioners in the industry.
I have volunteered and served on many levels for the NSCA including the Board of Directors, Exam Development Committees, and State Director Programs. Many doors have been opened from my involvement with the NSCA.
4. Who has had the greatest impact on your career?
First of all, my wife Malinda for all of the support she has given me and understanding when I have to be gone on weekends and traveling to conferences, especially when I was on the Board of Directors. I have to recognize Patrick Hagerman for helping me get involved with the NSCA. If not for him, I might not have had the chance to be the State Director of Oklahoma. Jay Dawes and Coach Mike Nitka have also been key people in my professional career. Plus, I have always had support from my Health Club staff to pursue all the opportunities with the NSCA.
5. In your opinion, what are the three most important qualities that a successful trainer must have?
A personal trainer should be ethical, have strong morals, and be trustworthy. I think that our clients – adults or kids have to have trust in us that we are going to provide the best program for them that is realistic, safe, and effective. They must know that we are going to design a training regimen that will help them reach their goals. If they buy into our philosophy (NSCA principles) then the possibilities are endless.
6. What does a typical training session with you consist of? As a personal trainer, what are your key strengths? Are there any areas you would like to improve?
Most sessions are an hour long with kids and adults. The adults are for general fitness and I have few special population clients (osteoporosis and stroke), so the program will target those aspects. I will incorporate full body routines with mini-circuits, supersets, and compound sets for the individuals wanting general fitness.
My kids training will depend on sport and time of the year. I spend a lot of time incorporating periodization, recovery, and tapering to allow them to perform at their best. A strength would be that I truly evaluate their sport and understand the needs of the athlete.
7. How do you stay current on what is happening in the industry?
Attending conferences and clinics, plus reading the JSCR, SCJ, and PTJ publications published by the NSCA keep me current. Plus, I am a regular columnist for the PTJ, so that allows me to do quite a bit of research when writing articles. Learning from my peers and seeing what they have working for them also.
8. Fitness trends come and go, how do you decide what to use and what to discard?
I stick with foundations of our profession and incorporate the trends that I think will have an impact on my clients. Sometimes it is trial and error with some modifications so that are specific to a certain population or athlete. I always tell our trainers, “If someone asks why we are doing a certain exercise or movement, that we need to have an answer on what it is going to improve or challenge,” not because it looked cool in a magazine.
9. What has been your favorite experience as a trainer?
No doubt, seeing my kids excel. I have been training kids for about 9 years and all of their hard work is paying off. My soccer kids have won 2 High School State Championships, one runner-up, and one National Championship. The swimming team won High State this past year and the cheerleading team won a National Championship this year.
Many of the kids have been recognized and received awards at camps that they attend. And, I have 7 kids that have gone on to play soccer in college.
10. Tell us about yourself - what catches your interest, what do you do for fun?
My days are long and I am gone all day, so on the weekends I am a homebody, if possible. I enjoy working out with my wife and making our home nice since we do hang out at the house a lot. I love sports and watch football as much as possible on the weekends. I spend a lot of time watching the kids that I train participate in their sports. It is rewarding to see all of the hard work they put into training pay off on the field or court
Good Stuff, Chat!Trainer/Coaches always need to know why they are using an exercise or movement not just "I saw someone else doing it"