By Ron Beasley….
Americans are becoming more health conscious these days and, for many, working out at a gym with a licensed personal trainer is becoming part of their daily routine.
Elizabeth (Liz) Herrero, 46, is a veteran personal trainer at Porky’s Gym, 10000 SW 56 St., an affiliation she has maintained for more than 10 years. She decided to become a personal trainer after getting her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida International University, and then coaching and teaching physical education in South Florida high schools.
“I just didn’t want to coach anymore,” she said. “I had been doing it for four years. I decided to take a one-year leave of absence to try personal training as a profession. After that year, I just never went back.”
Herrero said that by the end of that first year, she knew she had found her calling and that she was meant to be a full-time personal trainer. Today, she is insured and certified by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), and is an independent subcontractor at Porky’s Gym.
“It doesn’t bother me to come to work,” she said. “I really love what I do. The majority of my clients are women, but I do have several men, and I have one male client who has been with me for five years. He comes in every day at 8 a.m.”
Herrero’s day begins at 6 a.m. and usually does not end until after 8 p.m., although she may have one- or two-hour breaks during the day. Her busiest times are from 6 to 10 a.m. and from 4 to 8 p.m. Her rates vary and depend on the individual client’s needs, but she generally charges $45 for a one-hour session. She works with 20-25 clients and says she could easily add more.
“My original clients still pay me the same rates,” she said. “I never raise my rates. As long as they continue with me and don’t stop, my rates will always be the same. That’s what I guarantee them when a client starts a program with me.”
Herrero said she does not insist that clients sign long-term contracts with her.
“I don’t like to take money in advance,” she said. “Once a client sees what I can do for them, I know they’re going to stay with me.”
Herrero is passionate about her work and strives to help clients reach the goals they set. She uses a combination of free weights and machines in her training programs, with emphasis on the free weights and bodybuilding.
“Free weights create balance and agility, whereas machines have resistance,” she said. “I train my clients by using less weight and more resistance. Less weight creates less pressure on the joints.”
Herrero said she uses a “hands-on” technique with her clients.
“I’m very much into my clients, and every single exercise rep that we do, we do it together,” she said. “I do not leave them to work out alone. Every movement they do, I’m doing it with them, guiding their movement with my hands.
“For me, it’s important that I feel a person’s body when we’re working so that I know if they’re doing the exercise right — what muscle is being used, whether the elbow is in the correct position.”
Herrero said the renewed interest in fitness and health has meant an increase in older clients for her.
“I’m seeing more women in their 40s coming to the gym for training,” she said. “Many of them want to lose weight, but a lot of them just want to get in shape. When a person gets older, the skin begins to hang and it’s important to build muscle to fill out that skin. Muscle also helps keep the body parts in place and working like they’re supposed to.”
For more information, call 305-338-4073, send email to <firstname.lastname@example.org> or go online to www.porkysgym.com.