Personal Trainer Interview 2: Tamara Treu

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In this second installment of my personal trainer interviews (read #1 here), I sought the advice of local trainer Tamara Treu, whom I have personally trained with. She teaches a boot camp-style class at lunch at work. The sessions leave you with that so sore-in-a-good-way feeling every time because they're always completely different and progressively harder. Tamara also owns her own personal training business in town, so I thought she would have great perspective on the real-life business of training. I was right! She offers some excellent insight.


"When I started my own business I didn't really know what to expect. Since then, I've found that the most important thing is truly caring about your clients."
Thanks for being here, Tamara! Take it away:

1. What was the driving force behind your decision to become a personal trainer?

Working out was always a hobby of mine, and I love the saying "if you do what you love, you won't have to work a day of your life," so I set out to do what I love. At the same time, I also wanted to help people with their weight loss goals, because I know all too well how it feels to be uncomfortable in your own skin. Being a trainer is incredibly rewarding. I love watching my clients transform.

2. How did you choose which personal training agency to certify with?

For me that part was relatively easy. My mom is also a certified personal trainer and she got certified through ISSA. She had no complaints and was already familiarized with the company. I trusted her recommendation.

3. How did you prepare for the exam? Any tips, tricks, or best practices?

Well it helps to enjoy what you are studying! I set a side an hour every day to read and study. I made sure to do the practice exam and all the quizzes, but most importantly I applied the info to my own life. I tried new moves in the gym, designed workout programs for friends, and started using "trainer terminology" in day-to-day conversation.

4. Could you give me an idea about what the testing day was like?
For me it was just exciting because I knew I had completed what I set out to do! And FYI, it is only one of many tests you will need to take. In order to maintain your certification, 20 credits of continuing education every 2 years is required. I just finished my certification in Self Defense this month!

5. How are you using the web/social media to build your online presence as a fitness professional?

Facebook is probably the most convenient means of networking, and a website is a must! But other than that I let my clients success speak for themselves! I don't do much advertising. My clients are almost always recommended by word of mouth.

6. Any health and fitness resources/research publications that you read daily or recommend? How else do you keep up with PT trends?
I'm addicted to Oxygen magazine and FitnessRx, I follow other successful fitness professionals on Facebook, and the required CEU's help to keep me updated as well. The other thing that probably helps the most is having a group of "friends in iron" as i like to call them. Others who share the same passion for fitness. We bounce ideas off each other and challenge one another to try new things. Last summer I tried Crossfit for the first time with a friend and loved it! Things like that keep my profession fun!

7. These days, there are a variety of places/ways to train—at a studio, in homes, in offices, and even online. I know you own and operate a training center in town and lead corporate workout sessions. What has your personal training experience been like? How did you go about building up such a great clientele?

I started off training in a gym which I would recommend all new trainers do. You can learn a lot about the business side of training while working in a gym and I also learned a lot from being able to shadow other trainers before I got my real start. When I started my own business I didn't really know what to expect. Since then, I've found that the most important thing is truly caring about your clients. There needs to be a relationship deeper than just being the one counting their reps. People usually struggle with their weight or health on an emotional level. It's part of the trainers job to help that person find the root cause of the problem.

8. What are your plans for using your certificate in the future? Any personal training goals for this year?
Currently I'm really happy with were I am. Eventually I'd like to expand my business somehow, but for now I'm just staying focused on my current clients as well as my own health and fitness. My goal for the year is to have all my clients reach their goals! I am going to continue my practice of self defense and will introduce that into my business as well.

9. What advice would you give to someone like me who is just starting out and studying for the CPT exam?

Have fun with it, don't stress, and stay healthy and strong!!

Thanks so much for your insight Tamara! If you're in the Fox Valley area, check out Tamara's personal training.

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