client: Rafaela | personal trainer: Jessica Sanchez, fitness director and head trainer, Total Woman FitZone | location: Bakersfield, California

A perfect match. Two years ago, nearly 30‐year‐old Rafaela decided it was time to commit to a fit lifestyle. She'd been active in the past but admits that her greatest roadblocks to maintaining that commitment were accountability and boredom. Rafaela knew that the only way to stay focused was to work with a personal trainer who was both knowledgeable and creative.

"Rafaela came to a few of my group fitness classes and asked me about one‐on&hyphenone training," says Jessica Sanchez, fitness director and head trainer at Total Woman FitZone (formerly Total Woman Fitness). "Her goals were to get stronger and lose a few pounds. What she really needed in a coach was someone to help her stay accountable and make sure her short workouts were effective and interesting. She didn't want to get bored with her program."

Assess to progress. Rafaela had prior experience working with a personal trainer and knew her way around the gym. Despite this, Sanchez insisted that her new client perform various postural and movement assessments to determine a baseline.

"Rafaela was in good health and didn't have any real physical limitations when we met," Sanchez says. "The first step to improving her performance was to work on core stability and strength, so I used many different balance/stability exercises in the beginning of the program. I found ways to make as many exercises as I could slightly unstable. We used the BOSU® Balance Trainer, medicine balls, TRX® equipment and a GRAVITYSystem machine to make exercises like pushups, chest presses, rows and planks (to name a few) more challenging over time."

In it to win it. The first few months of the training program proved successful. Rafaela's performance improved tremendously and she was eager to attempt new challenges to keep things fresh.

"Even when we tried something Rafaela didn't immediately succeed at, like agility ladder and drills, she always wanted to keep trying," says Sanchez.

However, one of Rafaela's weaknesses was keeping up with the nutrition component of the program, which prevented her from achieving her weight loss goals. "Although Rafaela kept a food journal, she needed some extra guidance in nutrition, so we collaborated with a certified nutritionist to tweak that part of our program. After a few weeks of eating correctly for her body, and with the right supplementation, Rafaela dropped the last few pounds."

Consistency is key. Traits that have impressed Sanchez are her client's dedication and consistency. Though Rafaela has achieved her target weight loss and grown stronger, she continues to put in time at the gym.

"I think one of Rafaela's greatest accomplishments is maintaining her health, exercise and nutrition priorities while being a successful working mom and wife," says the trainer. "I know she must get tired sometimes, but she doesn't show it at the gym! She has faced some tough challenges over the last couple of years, juggling her kids' and husband's schedules and some personal health issues. Of course, as is true for all of us, her exercise schedule isn't perfect 100% of the time, but when she returns after time away, she picks back up where she left off."

Sanchez believes that Rafaela has reinforced some valuable lessons that all trainers and their clients can benefit from: "Even on days when you feel like you aren't progressing, you are. On days when you feel bored with your normal or planned workout, join a class you've never tried before or try the same exercise you've been doing (like a pushup) but try it on the TRX. On days when you are convinced that you can't lose that last pound or inch, forget the numbers and just move because it feels great. You want the physical results, of course, but what can you do right now to feel great for the rest of the day, week, month or year? I know you've heard it before, but I remind myself daily: 'Do something today your future self will thank you for.'"