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Personal Trainer Program: A Motivational Career

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Janelle Dorangricchia Image

TMCC alumna, Janelle Dorangricchia, Fitness and Personal Training Supervisor at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center in Reno.

Personal trainers help people build their strength, self-esteem and health—very fulfilling parts of a lifelong career, say graduates from Truckee Meadows Community College Personal Trainer Preparation Program.

“Fulfillment in their career is the number one reason that people stay in personal training,” said Janelle Dorangricchia, TMCC alumna and Fitness and Personal Training Supervisor at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center. “My clients have a positive influence in my life. You celebrate with them the extra five push-ups or the last three pounds. You celebrate with them and it's better than any paycheck."

Dorangricchia graduated from TMCC with her Personal Trainer Certificate in 2006 and went on for a bachelor’s degree in Health Ecology from the University of Nevada, Reno. She is currently finishing her master’s degree at UNR.

A fellow alumna agrees that being a personal trainer is an extremely meaningful occupation.

“I think it comes down to this: helping an individual attain his or her fitness goals is nothing less than being an agent of monumental change in someone's life,” said Martha Bechtel, Personal Trainer at TMCC’s Fitness Center. “I see my role as a person who can educate others to the undeniable truth that regular exercise is as imperative to our success and happiness as is our intellectual, emotional and spiritual health. Without physical health we can have none of those.”

Bechtel was certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in June of 2013, about a month after completing the program. She has been working in the Fitness Center since July 2013. Andrea Simone-Call is the Coordinator of the Personal Trainer Program at TMCC, and was an instructor for both Dorangricchia and Bechtel.

“Andrea has a special mantra that she repeats over and over again to all her students, ‘Exercise is everything.’” Bechtel said. “That may seem a little over the top, but in our society fitness is something we have to actively seek out; give major effort and nonexistent free time to attain, since our lifestyles no longer provide enough movement to keep us healthy.”

She said that sometimes mentally-oriented aspects of life seem to take first place in a technological age.

“Lack of time to train and focusing on more ‘important’ aspects of life are still justifiable excuses for not taking care of ourselves – and obesity and its related health issues are still seen as having random or genetic rather than lifestyle causes.”

Bechtel, Simone-Call and Dorangricchia agree that obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease can result in part from lifestyle choices, and they are committed to educating people with accurate information from academic research.

Stress Reduction is Important

“Stress relief can be the most important part, along with preventing disease like high blood pressure which may lead to heart disease, and is extremely common,” Dorangricchia said. “Many people that come into the Center are juggling so much, and cut exercise in order to fit everything in. It is so important to fit some sort of activity in. Even if only 20-30 minutes of exercise. People don't have enough down time in life where their minds get a break. Activities like cardio or yoga, where you can mentally check out are extremely beneficial. That is important for your health."

Dorangricchia has experienced stress relief from exercise in her own life, helping her to manage the responsibilities of work, having a baby and taking graduate classes.

"Fitness is the number one stress reliever that can be used every day,” she said. “It feeds into much more than the physical part – it helps with your mental well-being as well. In addition to that, you end up making new friends who you meet when exercising. Simply moving and staying active releases healthy endorphins and contributes to positive self-esteem. It's like a positive snowball effect."

Bechtel agrees.

“Exercise brings confidence, strength provides control over our lives, and endurance gives us unshakable calm in the face of disruptive changes,” Bechtel said. “Exercise is everything.”

Dorangricchia adds that in addition to better self-esteem, working with other people who give themselves the time for physical activity creates a great atmosphere.

“Fitness has been the best thing that I've done for myself – it gives me a sense of accomplishment,” she said. “It's not always easy, but I find myself bummed when I don't have that 30 minutes of exercise – I can feel it. The people that I've met along the way have become really good friends.”

Personal Trainer Preparation Program Started at TMCC in 2005

A solid grounding in many aspects of physical fitness prepares future personal trainers to explore a wide array of career options.

“We do a lot of hands-on training, learning correct form and technique, working with clients in person,” said Simone-Call. “At TMCC, you learn nutrition, kinesiology, anatomy and physiology. You learn how the body works best.”

Dorangricchia remembers her time at TMCC very happily, and was inspired by Simone-Call.

“I had so much fun,” she said. “I really liked her because she’s a no-nonsense person, helping us to weed through information by using a scientific-based approach to judge fitness information,” she said. “We learned what fitness fads are, and what are proven facts.”

Simone-Call said that after completing the program at TMCC, grads may enter the workforce right away or decide to continue in a four-year program in related fields such as kinesiology, physical therapy, community health sciences and other areas. Graduates have also started their own businesses, such as stand-up paddle boarding.

Bechtel said that being a personal trainer is the perfect job for her.

“I get to feel good about really, really improving others' lives, plus as a trainer I am continually held to my own standards to be an example to those I train,” she said.

Dorangricchia agrees.

“Being around people that are doing something good for themselves, there's a lot of good energy," she said.

For more information about the Personal Trainer Preparation Program, call 775-674-7974.