I’ve been a little preoccupied the past few months.

I have way too many interests, and I often find myself looking at and for new opportunities to utilize my knowledge (or gain more knowledge) about different topics. I’m not necessarily looking for something to do instead of teaching. I’m looking more at stuff to do along side my primary job. At this point in my life, I think I would miss teaching too much if I left it. But I’ve found that as my kids get older, can keep themselves occupied, and don’t need our attention as much, I have more time to explore some of these different ideas that are floating around in my head.

In late October, an idea presented itself, I liked it, and I ran with it. I’ve struggled with maintaining a healthy weight for most of my life. It is a CONSTANT struggle. I was not very active when I was growing up, and I loved to eat. Okay…I should not have written that in the past tense. I still love to eat. That’s a big part of the problem. It seems like I gain weight just looking at food. Luckily, I enjoy exercise just as much, so in the past few years I’ve been able to keep my weight mostly in check by eating well MOST of the time and staying very active with weights, walking, and biking. I still like to eat the occasional piece of cake too…mostly just the icing.

Some of my friends, family, and coworkers have noticed too that I’ve been able to keep my weight at a reasonable level, and I am asked fairly regularly what I’m doing to keep the weight off. My typical smart @$$ answer is “Eat less, move more.” I guess that’s is technically what I do, but there’s more to it than that. One of the more recent times I was asked about my weight was in later October when one of my coworkers stopped me in the hall to ask about how I was staying in shape. Instead of just giving him my typical response, I, for some reason, started explaining some of the little changes that I made to my lifestyle. That’s when the idea came to me.

I read an article a while back that suggested that people who were unhappy in their current jobs should find something that they love doing and find a way to make money doing it. I like my teaching job, but if I can make a few extra bucks doing something else that I enjoy, I’m all over that. I looked for a way to make money eating peanut butter, but I don’t think that was exactly what the author of the article had in mind. Since I enjoy exercise and helping people, and I have experience with weight loss, I instead started looking into what I needed to do to become a personal trainer.

Let me take just a minute to emphasize an important point. I’m not under any illusions that I have some type of perfect physique, nor do I ever intend to. That’s an unreasonable expectation for most normal people who have normal lives, can’t exercise 10 hours per day,  and don’t like to eat kale for every meal. I just want to be healthy and help others do the same. Obesity rates in the US have been increasing rapidly over the past few decades. A big part of the problem is a lack of knowledge and understanding about health and fitness. I want to do my part in my small corner of the globe to fix that.

Personal training is unregulated in the United States, but there are a handful of accredited certification organizations that are accepted by most fitness facilities. If you go to a “big box” gym, the personal trainers are all required by the gym to have an NCCA accredited certification, or they are expected to get one soon after employment. After doing some research, I chose ACE Fitness, mainly because they offer many specialty certifications (like weight management) that can be added on to the main certification.

I received my study materials around the first of November, and I was immediately overwhelmed with the amount of new information I was going to need to learn to pass my certification test. The last biology class I had was my freshman year in high school nearly a quarter of a century ago (man I’m getting old). The only other physiology and anatomy training I’ve ever had was what little I picked up from reading Men’s Health and any other health related articles on the Internet. Fortunately, most of the rest of the training material was just teaching strategies. It was more theoretical than I’m used to, but it was pretty intuitive since I’ve been teaching for fourteen years.

At any rate, I took my time in the evenings after school reading the textbook, watching my study videos, and using the other materials that ACE sent me. This past Saturday, I took my 150 question certification test, and I passed it very comfortably.

Now what? I’m not sure yet. I just passed my test two days ago. I’m looking at several different options from working part time at a gym, going to people’s homes or businesses to work with them, doing online personal training, or some combination of these options. I don’t want to overload myself while still holding a full time teaching job. I have a lot of little decisions about what to do next. For now, I’m just going to enjoy the fact that I don’t have a test to dread anymore. I’ll probably have a little peanut butter while I’m working through my ideas.