fbpx Skip to content


Training a Teenage Girl

Hayley Hollander focused on making an emotional connection to alleviate her young client’s fears.

Client: Paulina
Personal Trainer: Hayley Hollander, co-owner, Advanced Training Performance
Location: Las Vegas

Facing Fears. At age 14, Paulina was overweight and lacked self-confidence and motivation. She had made several failed attempts to lose weight. Paulina tried to join her high-school swim team, but could not perform well due to exercise-induced asthma. She was frustrated and ready to give up until a neighbor referred her to Hayley Hollander, co-owner of Advanced Training Performance. Shy and nervous, Paulina agreed to meet with Hollander. “I could tell she was hesitant to work out because she had failed in the past, and exercise just wasn’t comfortable for her.”

Paulina was also concerned about the type of trainer she would be working with. “I was afraid I would end up with a personal trainer who would be more like a sergeant, always yelling at me and torturing me with extremeley difficult workouts.”

Making a Connection.“Paulina stated that her goals were to get in shape and feel better in her clothes,” says Hollander. After a bit of digging, Hollander also learned that Paulina had an interest in joining the swim team, but was concerned it would exacerbate her asthma. Once goals were set and expectations outlined, Hollander began the assessment process. “I took the measurements and assessments without putting emphasis on what they should be; I explained to her that I was gathering information to help create a program to best suit her.” The movement assessment consisted of basic exercises like squats and push-ups, as well as gait and flexibility analysis.

Hollander also took this time to create an emotional connection with Paulina to alleviate her fears. “I was immediately drawn to Paulina’s sweet personality, but there was definitely a wall she was holding up. So instead of going after what her barriers were and what bothered her, I put all my focus on helping her feel successful.”

Gaining Support. Before training began, Hollander met with Paulina’s parents. “In order for me to be successful at helping Paulina achieve her goals, I needed the full support of the parents behind me.” She encouraged them to allow their daughter enough time to exercise, and to participate in physical activity as a family. Hollander also expressed the significance of preparing healthy meals for home and school. “The parents were important to have as allies so they could support Paulina when I couldn’t be there.”

Building Rapport. “In order to keep Paulina motivated it was important to gain a rapport with her, so I made it a point to stay up-to-date on the things she liked,” recalls Hollander. “She doesn’t know this, but I would ask my niece about the things kids her age were into.” According to Hollander, her “research” was integral in gaining Paulina’s trust.

As an added bonus, she also gained a friend. “Paulina’s attitude and drive pushed me to be the best I could be. I almost always felt like she was helping me more than I was helping her.”

Seeing Success. Paulina’s exercise program began simply and emphasized flexibility. “During her workouts, I selected exercises that were fun and game-like and allowed Paulina to feel successful,” Hollander says. As her physical capacity improved, Paulina would request greater challenges. “By using this approach, Paulina was able to take complete ownership of all her success.”

Paulina reached her goals in about a year. She went from 162 pounds and 37.3% body fat to 115 pounds and 23.4% body fat. Also, after her confidence improved, she decided to try out for the swim team. “Not only did she make the team, but she went on to regionals her first year,” adds Hollander. “Her asthma dissipated; her success evolved into a passion for movement and an emotional confidence; and she just recently made the dance team at her high school.” This passion has inspired Paulina to study exercise science and nutrition in college. “Everyone can exercise and eat healthfully, but it’s the commitment to those things that shows results,” Paulina advises. “Hayley helped me stay committed, which not only helped me to reach my goals, but also raised my self-esteem and self-confidence.”

Calling All Trainers

Do you have a client who has overcome the odds to achieve new heights in health and fitness? Send your story to [email protected] and you and your client may be featured in an upcoming issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.


Concerned about your place in the new fitness industry? We have 40 years of experience supporting pros just like you! Let’s create a new wellness paradigm together—IDEAfit+ is the extra edge you need. Once you team up with IDEA, be sure to take full advantage of all the benefits of membership.

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay up tp date with our latest news and products.