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Becoming a Trainer

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Training To Become a Personal Trainer

Once in a while you meet someone and you just click. You goals are so similar and you are so passionate about the same things that when you are together it’s like you feed on each other’s positive energy. I call this “Motivation Transference.”

Bobby Whisnand Leading the Walk from Obesity at the OAC Inaugural Convention Dallas Texas October 2012

If you are someone who reads my blog and finds themselves motivated by what I share and write, you’ve probably experienced this same sort of thing.

I am the type of person that thrives on order and structure. I’m the type of person that has to look to someone as the paradigm.

In the beginning of this journey that I am on towards becoming a personal trainer, it was my own personal trainer that motivated me. We used to talk about how we’d work together some day, how we’d do big things together, help more people lose weight, what a powerhouse team we would be together. For almost a year, those dreams helped me stay focused on own weight loss journey and helped ensure my own personal accountability – something that is a monumental part of my weight loss journey.

I have a theory about my need for positive role models, good examples, mentors and heroes; I believe it stems from a childhood without a lot of friends and where my main form of socialization was among adults. You compile that on the fact that most of those adults ended up hurting me at some point or another and voila you have the reason that my heroes are people like Chris Powell and Ellen DeGeneres. I’ve been looking up to public figures and role models to learn who I want to be most my life when the examples I had in my life were more what I didn’t want to be.

Since last August when I believed that my last reconstructive plastic surgery would be in November I have been working on the goal of opening my own business as a personal trainer in July of this year. And since October I’d been working on finding a Personal Trainer that would let me sort of apprentice with them. Go to sessions and watch them in action. I was looking for someone to help teach me how to be a good trainer.

I talked to a few Trainers that I’d met thus far. My own Trainer, and another one from the local area that had some experience and was starting to get involved in the WLS Community. Unfortunately neither of them were able  or willing to help me.

Then a thought occurred to me. Bobby Whisnand. I had the pleasure of meeting Bobby at the OAC Convention back in November. In fact, it was his, Merril Littleberry and Julia Karstad’s high praise of the Cooper Institute that lead me to select it as my school for my CPT studies over the ACE, ISSA and NASM.

I had connected so well with Bobby at the event. His views on exercise, on making sure that people are taught how to exercise without hurting themselves, and his understanding that you have to understand the mobility limitations of people who are morbidly obese when working with them were things that Bobby and I could have talked about for hours. When I told Bobby that my goal was to teach people to not need me rather than to expect them to come work out with me 2-3 times a week forever and he agreed, I was elated. As Bobby shared exercises with me that he knew I would find exciting and told me all about his upcoming video I knew this man was someone who was going to be an important person in my life.

Bobby’s upcoming video is something that I am extremely excited about. It promises to be the first of its kind with special attention to bariatric fitness. Bobby is a front-runner in the definition of Bariatric Fitness and Nutrition and the efforts and steps that he is taking to start to mold the shape of Bariatric Fitness is something that I want more than anything to be a part of. Bobby has done some amazing things already in the Fitness industry when it comes to Diabetic Fitness and Nutrition and I can’t wait to see what he does with Bariatric Fitness and what this new video with a focus on movement for all levels of participation in the weight loss world comes out like.

As if that all isn’t enough, Bobby has also stepped up to the plate to help me out where nobody could locally. When I asked Bobby if there was anyway that while I was in Dallas working on my studies I could spend some time with him in a sort of apprenticeship fashion, not only was “Absolutely, yes.” the first words out of his mouth, but he also let me know that not only would he let me observe him in action, but put me through his own fitness program and teach me some things that I might not pick up in the classes at CI. As if that isn’t amazing enough, Bobby is also a Cooper Institute Alumnus, which makes me really confident in knowing that he’ll help me make sure I am well prepared.

I can’t wait to get my hands on Bobby’s new exercise video and he’s told me that I’ll definitely get a sneak peek and get to share my opinion of it with you guys, so we have that to look forward too. I’m so excited to have an entire month in Dallas to do nothing but focus on my CPT education and learning from a Mentor as amazing and fun to work with as Bobby Whisnand and I can’t wait to share that whole experience with you.

Until then, why not click on over to Bobby’s website  Victory of Life and check him out and of course be sure to visit him on Facebook, give him a little WLS high-five and hit the like button and tell him Pandora sent you!  I bet by the time you do that, you’ll be as motivated to go get your fit on as I am this morning.It just so happens that I am in Dallas until the 16th of April now, since I had to fly out here to help my friend deal with the unexpected and sudden passing of her Mother and I got in touch with Bobby today and will be meeting with him sometime next week. I cant wait to share more information with you then. But for now, I need to get some sleep, I have an After the Cut Support Group Meeting to attend in the morning and need to get a little bit of beauty sleep.

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One Person Can Make a Difference Choose To Be That Person

It’s so hard for me to decide what to write about sometimes. Usually I have so many ideas that picking one is difficult, tonight though I have one pressing thought in my mind.

“One Person Can Make a Difference.”

Pam Davis and I at the OAC Convention Costume Party Welcoming Ceremonies Dinner in Dallas, TX October 2012

This was the title of a blog post by Pam Davis, RN, CBN, Chairman of the OAC Board of Directors. It really got me to thinking.  Several months ago I was sitting at a round table with four other women at the OAC Advocacy Training Session where we were taught the basics of advocacy and participated in mock legislative visits. The biggest lesson that I learned that day at was that the power of one person, telling their story, can make a huge difference.

Your voice and your story are the most powerful advocacy tool that you have.

Before attending the OAC Convention in October I had a dream, I wanted to become a personal trainer, go back and work with other pre-op Bariatric surgery patients and help them achieve the same sort of things I did through my weight loss journey. I wanted to help others fight this obesity epidemic.  But my dream was a little bigger than that too, humbled and grateful for the insurance coverage that had covered not just my gastric bypass, but three rounds of extensive reconstructive plastic surgeries, I wanted to make sure that I did something to help make sure that other people received those same sorts of benefits, and I wanted to make sure that I somehow helped those less fortunate than I.

I have said before that the OAC Convention was a life changing experience for me.  Let me tell you a little bit about my life since October.

Since leaving the OAC Convention in October I have worked on making sure that wherever I go, and whatever I do, I am using my voice and my story to try to make a difference.

This Sunday I embark on a whole new adventure. I’ll be flying to OH on March 3rd to spend some time with Heather’s family. While I am there I will be meeting two women for the first time that have been following my blog and my journey for a while now.  I’ll be attempting to hook up with the OAC while I am there, taking a trip into Washington DC and hopefully doing some advocacy work for them. While I am there I have two women that are currently working on losing weight that are committed to running a 5K with me.

Thanks to my time at the OAC Convention, and the people I met there, I’ll be spending the entire month of June in Dallas Texas at the Cooper Institute taking classes to get my Personal Trainers Certification and a few other certifications as well; this was made possible for me by a $600 donation form a blog reader that wanted to help me help others and generously donated the amount I needed to take the CPT Course. More was made possible by the Susan Sterling Scholarship I received from the Cooper Institute for $500 and the rest, well; the universe is looking out for me. I have faith.

Once I get back from the Cooper Institute and have my CPT Certification I am planning on a business Launch in July with a small-scale fundraiser for the WLSFA so that any money we raise goes to helping someone else start this journey.

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Since October I’ve had lots of exciting things happen but there was one, which beyond a shadow of a doubt changed all the cards for me. Since last year I have had a sort of pseudo-friendship on Facebook with Celebrity Fitness Trainer Chris Powell.  I’ve had several exchanges with him and his wife Heidi Powell on Facebook and it is one of my biggest dreams to meet and work out with them.  Recently I posted something on Chris Powell’s Facebook page and some of my friends went in and commented. There were a few comments that just really took my breath away.

“I admire Pandora for all she does to bring us all together and help us be successful. She’s not just in this for herself; she sees the big picture and is doing something about it” – Angie Bulakites

“Pandora is my WLS idol!!! Her amazing determination and willpower inspire me every day to continue on in my personal WLS journey to a healthier and happier life.” – Jessica DikeyBariatric Beginings

“I have only met Pandora once in person and heard her talk and ask the right questions and in that one small time frame of our interaction she has impacted my life tremendously. I can only imagine how my life would be if I saw her more often. Everyone she come in contact with whether it be on Facebook, her blog, or conferences and I can only assume in person as well.” – Michelle Mata

“Not only has this woman transformed herself into a fitness inspiration, she is actively helping others make the same journey. I urge you to give her your support. She is moving small mountains.” – Colin Hatcher

But the one that brought tears to my eyes was Heather’s cousin, a woman I have yet to meet:

“Pandora is truly an amazing woman! she doesn’t just inspire WLS peeps. she has been such an inspiration to me and my husband, to the point that we have joined a gym and have completely changed our way of eating. since January 6th, my husband has lost 32 lbs and i have lost 17 lbs  my husband has diabetes and sleep apnea, among other health issues and I have battled with my weight my whole life, but there is something real about Pandora that has sparked something in us. I think she has just saved our lives. we, and our 4 daughters thank you for inspiring her!!!” – Jennifer Heredia

In her article Pam tells you “All you need to become an advocate is your personal experience and to feel passionate about the issue. The OAC will help you with the rest.” She couldn’t be more right. Just attending the OAC Convention changed so many things for me and propelled me forward in my goals of helping others and now, there are many people; Some that I met at that Convention. Some that have known me for years and some that have never met me at all, that will tell you that I have made a difference in their life. In fact, some of those very people nominated me for a WEGO Health Activist Award and their judges selected me as a finalist among sites that have to do with all sorts of different sort of health issues. It was never my intention to become an “Advocate” it was just my intention to help make what was a lonely and hard fight a little easier for someone else. It was never my intention to be an “Activist” I just really wanted to help others and continue my WLS Journey through doing so. Pam is right, when you start sharing your story, when you start sharing your personal experiences:

  • You will be heard
  • You will be appreciated
  • You will make a difference
  • And you will be an advocate
  • And you’ll feel amazing when you see it happen.

There is nothing more rewarding than to know that I have touched people’s lives in the way that I have. The fact that people feel like I bring them together and help them be successful or that I inspire them in their WLS journey and their quest for a happy healthier life or that some people feel I have helped saved their life is amazing to me. It tells me that I am doing something right. I know that the path I am on started at the OAC Advocacy Training Session and that the OAC has empowered me an helped point me in the right direction. If you are not a member of the Obesity Action Coalition I encourage you to join and stand with this national non-profit organization whose sole focused is helping individuals affected by obesity.

93 Million Americans are affected by Obesity and advocacy comes in many forms. Whether you are writing blogs, going to the hill or signing petitions and sending letters to your elected officials you can make a difference in the lives of these people by getting involved in the OAC Advocacy & Support Programs.

“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

One Person Can Make a Difference Choose To Be That PersonDSSPostSig

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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