Personal Trainer For a Day Series–Trainer Tamara

I’m happy to say I made some major headway on packing for our trip this morning!


When I went to open my suitcase, I had to laugh because apparently I unpacked everything from my last trip with the exception of a pair of pants, 2 t-shirts, and a straightener. No idea, lol.

I spent a good hour packing, which half of the time was spent thinking. Whenever I pack, I mentally plan out each day, check the forecast, and pack accordingly. Since we’re going to be in the mountains, I packed a lot of Lululemon and warmer weather clothes, with a few summery pieces. The temps span from 40-80 degrees…I think this is the hardest trip I’ve had to pack for yet!

While packing, I listened to my audio book, The Lucky One:


(don’t mind my messy, I’m in a packing frenzy closet) I’m almost finished. It’s been a pretty good read listen so far Smile

Before packing, I ate a fairly large breakfast:


two egg + one egg white veggie omelet + toast – one with some Kerrygold butter and one with PB, honey, and banana.


Look at those veggies! Spinach, onion, avocado, and nutritional yeast.

I had this around 8:30. It’s already 1:30, and I’m just now hungry for lunch! Even so, I kept lunch a little on the light side.

The other day I picked up a sweet potato from Naturally Yours, and boiled it for lunch today. I was very surprised when I cut into it and it looked like this!


Apparently real sweet potatoes (at least organic ones?) are white/yellow on the inside? It still tasted like a sweet potato…

Then I topped it with a bunch of savory toppings, a la Lindsay, and ate it Mexican-style:


I packed in black beans, guacamole, salsa, and Greek yogurt into that baby! It tasted amazing.

And now, onto the 6th installment of Personal Trainer for a Day!


Today we have trainer Tamara, a fellow fitfluential ambassador, personal trainer, group fitness and indoor cycling instructor, clean eater, mother of three and knitter extraordinaire. She blogs about fitness, food, family and (knitting) fiber at Fit Knit Chick.


1. How long have you been training?

I’ve been working as a personal trainer for just over 4 years now. Can you believe that I had to go and check my certification documents to answer this question? Some days it feels like I just passed the exam last week, other days that I’ve been doing this my whole life!

2. What’s your schedule for a "typical" work day?

Most trainers I know don’t really have a "typical" work day. It changes all the time. Most of my teaching and training occurs between the hours of 9 am and 3 pm, while my children are at school.  My days consist of some combination of training clients at the recreation centre I work out of, running off to train private clients in their homes and teaching a group fitness glass or two. In between clients and classes I research and write personal training programs and prepare lesson plans for the next day’s class.

Sometimes I have to pop out to see an evening client or sub another fitness instructor’s class. It’s not a job with fixed, regular hours. (Paige here – I hear ya on that, Tamara!!)

3. What’s your favorite part of being a personal trainer?

I love the energy and enthusiasm that my clients bring to me! The majority of them see a trainer because they really want to make changes in their life and just need information and support. I get to be their educator, their confessor, their cheerleader and ultimately, their friend as they discover new things about themselves and what they’re capable of.

4. What’s your least favorite part of being a personal trainer?

I find it really difficult to train people who aren’t mentally ready to make the commitment to change their health. The clients that regularly cancel and postpone sessions or repeatedly stop and start their training tire me out. I’ve learned to lower my expectations if it becomes apparent that I’m more motivated than the client is.

Paige here again! Smile I understand completely – I’ve had to “break up” with clients because of this!

5. What’s your training "style?"

I’m a stickler for form. I always start with an assessment of a new client’s strengths and weakness. I look at their abilities to perform basic body weight movements like squats, lunges, pushups and planks and don’t allow them to progress until I’m satisfied that their body mechanics are sound.

As most of my clients are women who want to lose weight and see some muscle definition, I focus on whole body strength training type workouts, adding plyometrics and cardio intervals once they’re capable of performing them with sufficient intensity.

At my gym, I’m known for creating well-rounded and interesting programs, incorporating a variety of equipment into my workouts and pushing my clients beyond their comfort zones. I’m tough, but always smiling!

6. How does a typical personal training session go? (format, is there a training log, type of exercise, etc)

I almost always start each 60 minute session with a 5 minute warmup on the cardio machine of my client’s choice. This gives us a few minutes to talk about how they felt after their last workout, what their nutrition is looking like, whether there are any new injuries or body issues to be aware of during our session. The next 5 minutes is usually spent doing range of motion or preparation for loading work. For example, body weight squats and lunges, pushups from the knees, rotator cuff band work or balance work on the Bosu.

The workout itself lasts about 45 minutes and typically involves a combination of resistance training and cardio intervals. For example, I might have a client do a set of three strength exercises followed by 1 minute of jumping rope. I try to mix it up from one workout to the next and combine new exercises (that requiring teaching) with exercises that they already know.

I document everything we do during the workout (weight used, repetition and set numbers) and note any difficulties or muscular imbalances that present. If the client is one I see only once every few weeks, I give them a copy of their program, annotated with lots of notes about body position and posture. I learned early on to ask the client to tell me what they would like me to write; I found that postural cues were much more effective if they used the client’s own words.

The last 5 minutes of the session are spent stretching together, scheduling our next appointment and answering any questions that the client may have about their training.

7. Do you have a training "niche" or specialization?

The majority of my clients are women over 40 who want to lose weight and build muscle.

8. How many clients do you train in a week on average?

Typically, I train clients for 10-15 hours per week. Some of my clients I see 1-3 times per week, others only once per month.

9. Do you participate in another fitness-related job in addition to training? (group fitness, gym employee, boot camp, etc) If so, how does that work around your training schedule?

Yes! I teach group fitness (Step and Boot camp) and Indoor cycling (which I love!). Clients get scheduled around my classes. After that comes my own workouts!

10. What advice would you have for someone thinking of signing up with a personal trainer?

There are lots of great trainers out there. Spend the time to find the right trainer for YOU. Ask friends for recommendations. Visit a variety of gyms and ask for information about the trainers on staff (their age, their area of expertise, the types of clients they have). Don’t be afraid to interview potential trainers themselves! It’s a huge investment of time and money, so make sure the trainer you hire is someone you trust and feel comfortable with.

Previous Personal Trainer for a Day Posts:

Trainer Paige

Trainer Lindsay

Trainer Courtney

Trainer Cotter

Trainer Bonnie

And next week will be our 7th and final installment for the Trainer for a Day Series.

Thank you, Tamara! I hope soon I’ll be scheduling my clients around several group fitness classes I’m teaching as well Open-mouthed smile

Your turn – questions for Tamara?

How does your “typical” workout format go?

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  1. Okay, i am not the only one who has been surprised with the whole white sweet potato. I don’t get it? haha

    Tamara, i love you. So honest and down to earth!

  2. I was astounded too the first time I saw yellow sweet potatoes! You are correct about that being the best fast meal ever. Love it!

    • Who knew?! They’re really tasty though :)

    • When I go to India (or anywhere else for exlapme), I constantly behave in ways that are culturally acceptable in India.When you come to MY country, you should do the same. Or leave. We should be taking NO? lessons in cultural diversity’. None required. Our culture is ours, and far superior to yours.

  3. I love the Trainer for a Day series! :-)

  4. Love this series more and more!! Gives me so much insight into other PTs! And I love all of these girls, so there’s that.

  5. I love that you document what you do with your clients. With my personal trainers I felt like they had so many clients that they barely remembered anything we’d ever done. I always wished they had an actual plan!

  6. Haha, it’s definitely weird with the sweet potato thing. Apparently white potatoes are actually the sweet potatoes and orange ones are yams! It’s kind of confusing. Or maybe its the other way around, I forget now hah. I am really loving these personal trainer for a day post, because now I am SERIOUSLY wanting to get my certification, so nerve wracking to make the final decision though, kind of freaks me out a bit.

  7. Great interview Tamara! You’re wonderful – I love your desire to help people with form and I can tell you really cares about her clients! :) Really good that you keep such good records for people too, Tamara – something I’m trying to do a better job of!

    As for that potato – I’m right there with everyone on the confusion. 😉 Your eats look good, Paige! Yum. 😀

  8. The sweet potato looks like a Japanese sweet potato! Love them!

    Loved this trainer session! Great information!


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