Read how Ingrid, a flight attendant with a crazy schedule, reclaimed her health and started a fitness routine with Kickoff.
For years I was a runner. I worked out several times a week, and beyond that, I didn’t need to worry about my fitness. I took for granted that I was healthy and relatively in shape. But as my job as a flight attendant got busier and busier, I missed one run, then two, and then stopped altogether. I knew I was losing strength and needed to start working out again, but it became an absolute must when one day at work lifting the same luggage I had always carried left me winded and exhausted. It was time to get back on track, and I needed accountability to do it.
I found a great trainer at my gym, but when he left, I had a hard time staying on track. When the pandemic struck, I wasn’t feeling very well. I had put on some weight and was anxious about going to the gym, as my parents are quite elderly. Being in a closed space with other people amidst a pandemic was no longer an option — after all, I had my parents to think about. That’s when I found Carmen, a certified personal trainer who trains clients with Kickoff.
No matter what obstacles I put in her way, Carmen was flexible, understanding, and always had a workaround. Crazy work schedule? No problem! Shoulder injury? No problem. Minimal equipment? No problem. All I had was a pull-up bar, which I was using as a clothes hanger at the time, resistance bands, and a yoga mat! That’s it. But Carmen didn’t seem to mind; in fact, she designed a great program around the equipment that I had until I was able to slowly build up an at-home gym.
My work schedule varies from week to week, but Carmen’s flexibility was just incredible. When I’d have a long layover, she’d put together a video workout where I could just hit the play button and do an easy bodyweight workout straight from my hotel room. Those 30-minute videos were key to helping me release stress at the end of the day. As we were in the middle of a pandemic, the hotel gym was no longer an option. Having the video workouts would give me something to pass the time until my next flight. Knowing that I’d work out at least twice a week felt good and even motivated me to get some more cardio in on the other days when possible.
Carmen quickly became more than just a trainer, but also a friend. During a time when human interaction was nonexistent, having those weekly video meetings with Carmen were therapeutic. It was unbelievable to be able to build a connection with another person, see a friendly face, and chitchat about our lives while exercising; there was so much laughter involved and the exercise was just a bonus. Whether she liked it or not, she would hear all about the latest stories of my 8-year-old nephew, lend a comforting shoulder when I was distressed about work, or even help me through difficult phases in my life. It was like having a friend, therapist and personal trainer all in one and I was extremely grateful to be able to have that sort of connection in the darkest of times.
Once I started working out, everything else started falling into place. It just became essential in organizing the rest of my life. I also started a nutrition plan, which helped me pinpoint my major drawback: eating one food group for the whole day. One day it would be all proteins, the next it would be all carbs, but nowhere in sight was there a healthy, balanced meal. Today, I no longer need the nutrition plan, but I do make sure that I eat all the nutrients I need throughout the day and get a lot more greens in. The secret to doing that is no other than meal prepping. For me, Sundays have become meal prepping days and it just takes away the burden of having to think about what to eat every day. Instead, I preplan the whole week in advance, taking into consideration what food groups should be included in every meal.
One year later, I couldn’t be happier. I was so scared I’d be the aunt who was too tired to play with her nephew. He smokes me! He’s got limitless energy and only knows two speeds: zero and 100. Now, when he screams, “Let’s race!” I can at least keep up with him for a few blocks and it feels absolutely wonderful. I needed to get in better shape, boost my endurance and overall fitness levels so that if he wanted to play soccer outside for an hour, I’d be game.
For me, the proudest moment is when I can do things for my parents around the house and it’s not as difficult as it used to be two years ago. Just last month, I was able to take out the air conditioners completely on my own without requiring any additional help or having to call anyone for assistance! Here I am moving tables, taking out the air conditioner and bringing up items from the basement, when before my energy wouldn’t allow me to do so. Just knowing that I have the strength to help out my parents with whatever they need is an incredible feeling.
Now read what Ingrid's personal trainer, Carmen, did to put her on the path to improved health, better nutrition, and fitness gains.
There’s a misconception about personal training; it’s not just about providing a client with exercises or workouts. There needs to be chemistry and trust to be able to achieve results. That’s why when Ingrid reached out, we had an initial meeting where we spoke about her goals, fitness level, injuries, and why she felt she needed personal training.
Luckily, we hit it off instantly. Ingrid was in search of someone to hold her accountable for her exercises, prevent her left shoulder injury from getting worse, and help her reach specific goals. She was already on the smaller side and didn’t need much help losing weight; the challenge was to build up her strength, tone her body, and have enough energy to be there for her family. I could sense her determination and was optimistic that we’d be able to see results in no time, but her work schedule was always a struggle.
In need of motivation, we decided that the best way to move forward was to schedule two live workouts per week as Ingrid — just like many of us — would be less likely to work out on her own. It wasn’t always easy keeping appointments but Ingrid’s determination was unparalleled; when she’d miss a day one week, we’d make up for it the next or she'd find the energy to work out in her hotel room during a long layover. If we could get in a live session there, we did or I’d add a bodyweight workout video to her app that she could easily follow.
The live sessions really helped us, not just in improving the workouts, but also in creating a strong bond and evolving our client/trainer relationship into a friendship. We’d end up discussing our families and important events happening in our lives, supporting each other through difficult times, and sharing happy and funny stories of our personal lives. That comfort and trust has motivated Ingrid to push herself out of her comfort zone and trust me more with the exercises I pick for her — and the results speak for themselves. As a trainer, it's my job to be aware of her injuries, give her cues as she does movements for the first time, and even demonstrate certain exercises before she starts. If correction is needed or I can see a move affects Ingrid’s injury, there’s always a workaround, a modification, or I end up doing the exercise with her for motivation.
Our exercises are always changing because of Ingrid’s incredible progress. We focus on upper body strength to keep her up to speed with her day-to-day life. I incorporate a lot of intermittent cardio bursts if I know she hasn’t done any cardio on her own that week. Understanding the structure of Ingrid’s daily life and how she’s on her feet frequently at work or needs to take on a lot more duties and responsibilities in helping out her parents has given me the vision needed to create a workout program designed for her needs. In fact, our relationship’s evolution has been key in understanding what the workouts should include to ensure she’s got the strength needed for her daily life’s requirements.
When Ingrid and I started our journey together over a year ago, one of her goals was to get back to doing regular push-ups on her feet instead of her knees. I remember her telling me that in her best shape, she could do about 15 or so. It only took a few months of working out together and Ingrid had reached her target! I am very proud of how no matter what I give her to do, she puts her mind to it and is determined to accomplish it in the best way possible. She’s a fast learner.