I arrived at the designated testing location exactly 30 minutes prior to testing appointment as instructed.

Designated testing location…

Hahahahaha!  When I saw that the address of the testing center was about a block away from my gym, I thought that was a good omen.  Then the test date was Friday the 13th.  Also a good sign if you think 13 is a lucky number.  And now I find out it’s at a flight school??  How cool is that?  Maybe I’ll be there again sometime because becoming a pilot is also on my bucket list.  My dad had a small plane similar to the one in this picture.  I have very few positive memories of time spent with my dad, but there is that one afternoon when I was about 8 or 9 years old when he took me up for a flight – just me.  I remember that as he turned the plane towards the right, my face was jammed up against the window looking down on the city.  I should have been scared, but I was exhilarated.  I loved it.  I’ve wanted to be a pilot ever since that day.

I was led into a very small room that had three computers.  It had a big interior window so that I could be supervised by the secretary on the other side of that wall.  I had two hours to complete the exam.  120 questions.  Some of the questions were similar to the practice materials, but most were different.  Got past the first few OK, but then things got tricky.  To make it more challenging, there was a lot of noise coming from the flight school office.  Mostly the secretary talking too loud.  My anxiety rose.  But then I realized I was alone, so  I read the questions out loud. I’m sure I looked like a fool talking to myself, but I didn’t care.  Out of the 120 questions, there were about 25 I could not answer on the first read.  On the second read, I figured out or made educated guesses for most.  The last 5 – no clue.  Went through the entire test for a third time.  Changed a couple answers – usually not a smart move, but I was distracted a few times by the talking and the airplane engines, so I did catch one very stupid answer that I misread the first time through.

I used 1 hour and 27 minutes.  “Are you sure you want to end the test now?  You have 33 minutes left.”  Thanks a lot evil testing program.  Yes.  I’m pretty sure that a 4th read on some of these questions will only make me change correct answers.

I had to wait about 5 minutes while the secretary logged in to get the results.  She told me that they would only tell me today if I passed or failed.  A score report will be mailed.

Waiting… I honestly had no idea how I did.  I knew I didn’t fail horribly, but I doubted that I got the 70% I needed.


Yup.  I’m sure.  I’m now a certified personal trainer.  Well, I’m certified anyway.  No experience, so it doesn’t seem right to say I’m a trainer.

But I’m happy.  Very happy.

Six months ago, I had an inspired thought and acted on it.

“Become your own trainer.”

I trust the process I just finished.  Now when I research and read a million different opinions about training and nutrition, I have a solid foundation from which to act or not act.

I don’t know exactly what will happen next.  First thing I need to do is to gather up my calculus sheep and put some tough love on them to get them ready for their really hard scary test on May 9th.  I’ve got a couple of friends who have agreed to be my guinea pigs.  I think I will play “trainer/client” for real with them now.  But first and foremost, there are some things I need to do at home.

I’m very relieved.  Two big goals for 2012 and the first one can be checked off as DONE.  Sweet.

To be completely honest (and that’s how I roll in this blog), I’m pleased to have a little vindication.  Got burned by a couple of fitness professionals.   Just business, I was told.  My textbook says that the main purpose of a business is “to create and keep a customer”.  I like that.  That’s good business.  I’m happy that I can start working as a trainer while I still my teaching job.  I can concentrate on being a good trainer to just a few clients at a time and let the business build slowly.   I have a good idea about the kind of trainer I will be.  I have a lot of faults.  I am not always diplomatic.  But I assume I’ll train like I teach.  Tough love.  Be honest and direct, but stay focused on the problem.  I’m not afraid of a hard conversation.  I’ve had plenty as a teacher of teenagers who screw up from time to time.   Sixteen years of parent conferences – be up front, be clear, be nice.  Always, always, ALWAYS come from a place of love.   I learned this week that 7% of our communication comes from our words, 38% from our tone of voice, and 55% from our body language.  I usually choose the wrong words.  (That’s why I prefer conversations to emails when something important needs to be discussed.) But I’ve learned to keep LOVE as my foundation so the other 93% of what I’m communicating will come through loud and clear.  

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