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Meghan Kearns, NSCA-CPT, CPR-AED, KBC I, KBC II Meghan Kearns specializes in one-on-one personal training with clients looking to lose weight, increase lean muscle, and improve their metabolic interval training. She is currently going through the process of fulfilling the requirements for Master Level I Trainer. Kearns' current certifications include NSCA-CPT, CPR-AED, KBC I, and KBC II (Metabolic and Neurological Specialist). She has been with Gainesville Health and Fitness for the past three years.
1. What does a typical day-in-the-life-of look like for you?
I typically work Monday through Friday, about 29-35 hours a week. My schedule varies because it is based on my client’s availability. I start with my first client of the day at 7 AM. I prefer to work three to five clients, one after the other, averaging one hour and/or 25-minute express sessions. With about five minutes in between each client, I snack and prepare for my next client. By the time 11 AM shows up on the clock, I've trained three to five clients then moved on to my own training session.
I personally train about 45 minutes or less a day. My fitness routine consists of a large movement (deadlifts, power cleans, snatches, clean and jerks, etc.) following supplementary work. I pick back up with a client around 2:30-3 PM, work another three to five clients, and end my workday around 7-7:30 PM. After preparing everything for work the next day, I finally relax with some educational reading, replying to client’s emails, and going to bed by 10 PM to wake up and do it all over again the following morning.
2. What made you decide to pursue a career in personal training?
My father inspired me to have an interest in fitness, which later led me to love what I do today. As a child, I woke up almost every morning to my father walking back into the house dripping in sweat. That led to me to ask what was he doing every morning and even more importantly, why?
My father opened up to me that he and everyone on his side of the family has Type I diabetes. That made me exactly 50% at risk. My father then bought me my first bicycle and we would ride hours around the neighborhood and across town together. Often, I would watch him work out on some equipment he had in the house. Out of pure curiosity, I would research on my own about exercise and nutrition. I applied it to myself and not only did I enjoy it, but I felt healthier and stronger.
I got involved in many sports in high school including flag football, cross country, and track. I also managed the varsity volleyball team. I did hundreds of community service hours for three consecutive summers at Camp Renegade for children of all ages, where I spread the word on better lunch and snack options. My first semester at the University of Florida, I worked at Southwest Recreation Center as a Floor Instructor and studied in the College of Human Health and Performance.
I knew I enjoyed fitness and I wanted to be a part in helping others stay healthy, but I was not sure on how I could do that. My guidance counselor, Karen Ehlers, led me to an internship at Gainesville Health and Fitness, which changed my life to be where I am today. I lost my father at a young age, but I thank him every day for leading my curiosity towards the fitness direction which ultimately showed me the path to what I was meant to do.
3. What area of personal training do you consider to be your expertise?
Personal program design for specific needs such as weight loss, lean muscle increase, and improved metabolic interval conditioning. I'm open for a challenge. Someone once defined me as a “sponge, always ready to absorb new information.”
4. What trends do you see in the industry?
Within the fitness industry, I often see trends that are individualized based on specific training goals. You normally don't see trainers always doing the same thing for their clients. Everyone is different and require different needs and goals. Often people are attracted to the newest/coolest thing. Kettlebells and CrossFit are two big words I hear often from clients. The curiosity creates not only an interest, but a test trial which may lead an individual to realize where they need to start and what they need to do to get to their goals.
5. How do you keep up with the trends, how do you separate the gimmicks from the useful?
I focus on the real science and not on what we call the “bro-science.” Often people make the mistake of taking information from another individual and automatically interpreting it as fact without any justification. Knowing exactly the source of the information tells anyone a lot about its accuracy.
6. If you could go back 10 years, what advice would you give yourself?
Considering I am 25 and going back to age 15, I'd most likely tell myself to not believe the fads about whole wheat bread and carb loading. As a young long distance runner, I was always told as long as its whole wheat it’s good for me and that carb loading is all about pasta and breads. Reality is, bread is bread and processed food is processed food. Stay away from them. You are doing more harm to yourself than you know.
7. What assessments do you use with your clients?
Our company has a print out of everything possible that we could go through with our clients. We have what is called the 7 Tests of the Functional Movement Screen as well. I love going through them, but I also like to focus on a client’s ability to do daily movements with their own body weight. Our seven primal movements tell us a lot about how a person moves and what their capable of doing now and potentially in the near future.
8. What does a typical training session with you look like?
This can be subject to change, based on the client. Typically my client will go through a dynamic warm-up regime that involves full body movements. I usually like to go through an additional warm-up that will allow the heart rate to increase a little more. This can involve body weight movements, row machine, animal flow, or something simple like dowel rod shoulder mobility work such as overhead squats.
Based on the client’s needs we go through one big movement along with supplemental work and end with abdominal isolation work and/or intense cardio exercise (I.C.E.). At the end of every session, I stretch my clients and if needed, recommend the foam roller for additional active rest. Again everything is subject to change, based on the client!
9. What is the key to being successful in personal training?
I would say continued education, creating real relationships with your clients, and confidence. There is always room for improvement and there is always something new to learn. Continued education has expanded my knowledge and career tremendously. Throughout the three years I have been at Gainesville Health and Fitness, I have created amazing relationships with my clients. They are more than just clients, I consider them friends.
Building a relationship creates trust and communication; two very important factors that are needed for any relationship in life. They are open to telling me how they feel or what they do or do not like. As a result, I understand them better and can adjust exercises or programs to the client’s needs and goals. Confidence is key. If you do not have confidence in yourself, you do not have trust in yourself or what you have to offer a client. You must believe in yourself that you are worth what you present.
10. Outside of work, how do you spend your time?
Outside of work, I try to spend as much quality time with those I love. I have two amazing dogs that love to run around with me at the dog park. Family is very important to me, and I have been blessed with amazing friends that I try to see every week. Whether it’s seeing a movie, grilling at the pool, or cheering on the Gators on TV, we always have a great time. Often I hear from clients who are nearby and want to grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Every now and then, time alone is relaxing as well. Cooking with a friend or significant other with some Pandora playing on the iPad and then relaxing with some hot tea during a movie, makes a perfect ending to any day.
Congratulations Meghan! I'd like to hear more about the Metabolic and Neurological Specialist certification mentioned if you have the time. Best, Michelle Blakely
Nice to hear that someone has the same concerns as I do. Thanks for sharing