It’s January — time to put away the holiday decorations and jump-start your fitness routine for the year. Whether you are introducing exercise into your life for the first time or simply want to lose winter weight, consider working with a trainer. Not only will he or she provide continued motivation, but they can customize the most effective routine for your body.
Annmarie Swope of Perspective Fitness is Reston’s newest trainer on the scene. She’s passionate about health and wellness, and helping people start and maintain a more active lifestyle. She’s less about glamour muscles and more about longevity of life. She is committed to working with people of all ages, from getting the littlest children to move more to helping seniors increase their circulation.
We sat down with Annmarie to find out more about her and her fitness philosophy and to get her tips for starting and keeping a routine going.
Why did you decide to become a personal trainer and what is your fitness background?
I have always had an interest in fitness which carried into both my personal and professional life. From the time I was 5 until today I have been a multi-sport athlete playing baseball, basketball, swimming, soccer, softball, track and field, tae kwon do, golf, and/or volleyball. After playing competitive/travel club volleyball for four years, I earned a scholarship to play Division 1 volleyball at The George Washington University.
Utilizing my degree in Marketing and love of sports, I began my career in sports and entertainment marketing while continuing to do tae kwon do, play golf and softball as well as play US Volleyball Association and amateur two-person grass and beach volleyball. For seven years, I had the opportunity to work at high profile sports marketing firms and properties with athletes, sponsorships, venues, and events. For the past 15 years, I was a marketing executive at large and boutique marketing and promotions firms where I was able to develop and activate health and wellness programs for clients such as Kraft, General Mills, Discovery, Pepsi, Quaker, and the National Guard.
After an ACL injury during my pre-test for my black belt 14 years ago, I began to explore becoming a personal trainer so I could help adults and kids prevent injuries and rehab if they were injured. I took some classes, but ultimately, my current career and raising a family took precedence.
Since then there has been a tremendous amount of health and wellness research conducted and an increase in nutrition and exercise options and information in the marketplace. However, I continued to watch obesity rates rise in children, chronic diseases rates rise in adults, seniors losing quality of life, and many friends and family frustrated with trying to lead a healthier lifestyle. I realized that there was so much information out there that it has become difficult for individuals and families to secure the right information, digest it, and make it actionable within their lifestyle.
Many individuals are not aware that the majority of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, stroke, and arthritis are preventable through simple changes in one’s diet and physical activity. This is when I decided to “rewire” and pursue becoming a NASM certified personal trainer. Utilizing my marketing, communications, and relationship management experience, my goals are to make personal training accessible for clients at various life and socioeconomic stages and educate them so they can integrate fitness options that are easily integrated into their everyday life.
What is your fitness philosophy?
Through active listening, timely communications, flexibility, and continued education, provide clients with custom and actionable fitness programs with measureable and achievable goals. No matter what the barrier to entry changing behavior or working out, there is always a solution, and sometimes even the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.
This may seem counterintuitive to the industry, but as a personal trainer, my goal is to educate the client to the point he/she becomes proactive about their health and wellness and will not need to constantly rely on a personal trainer.
Who are your clients?
All of my clients have been through word of mouth. The majority are women ages 30-65 who are interested in losing weight, toning various muscle groups, enhancing flexibility, and/or strengthening their core. Over the next year, I will be focusing on working with youth and seniors.
What services do you offer and where do sessions take place?
My current services include strength training, circuit training, body sculpting, total body conditioning, balance, stretching, flexibility, core, and providing assistance in designing an exercise program to incorporate into a client’s workout regimen. Sessions take place either at a client’s home, outside, or my home gym.
Please describe a typical session.
There really is no typical session as all sessions are customized to meet an individual’s needs and capabilities while maximizing the workout location.
An example of a one hour session could include 10-15 minutes of stretching and light cardio, 30-40 minutes of circuit training, and 10-15 minutes of core and flexibility. To keep the workouts challenging, fresh, and fun, I utilize various exercise modalities including TRX suspension, free weights, elastic resistance, medicine balls, stability balls, BOSU balls, and body-weight.
What are some of the misconceptions people have about exercising and getting into shape?
There are many misconceptions people have about exercising and getting into shape which is why, if a client is committed to achieving a healthier lifestyle, does not want to get frustrated with a lack of results, or is concerned about getting injured trying a new fitness trend, they should explore securing a personal trainer.
A certified personal trainer will be able to break through any misconceptions, and develop a quality program that ensures client gets it right the first time without getting lost in the latest and greatest fitness trends.
Some of the biggest misconceptions include:
- Taking a non-holistic approach towards getting into shape. For example, changing your diet and not incorporating exercise, or doing exercise and not changing their diet. Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand, and if one does not look to change both he/she will most likely not achieve the results they are looking for. Without both, they continue to be on the hamster wheel of trying new fitness or diet trends without seeing their desired results.
- “Starting next week, I am going to take 3 cardio classes, cut out carbs, and get 8 hours of sleep.” All too often people will jump in with two feet, which creates a high probability that he/she will not be able to sustain the schedule, get frustrated, and quit. To help ensure success look to create a simple plan with specific action items and goals that progress over time.
- She/he is too young or I am too old to start to start to exercise.” Whether your child is 6 or you are 60, it is a good time to begin to exercise. To help our children lead a healthy lifestyle it is important they look at exercise as fun and not work. For Seniors, simply walking every day or working on their balance and flexibility with help ensure a better quality of life.
- “I don’t have time.” This is the biggest challenge when trying to get into shape. Where there is a will there is way. Through the various, proven, and accessible exercise modalities and programs as well as locations (at home, office, gym, etc.), there is a health and wellness solution that will fit within your hectic schedule and lifestyle.
Annmarie Swope is a NASM-CPT who lives, works, and plays in Reston with her husband and daughter. If you are interested in a free assessment you may reach her at [email protected].