Personal Trainer: Massiel Miranda
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Miami
Time for Change. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved sweets,” says Elizabeth, a 32-year-old therapist from Miami. “I’ve always been ‘chubby.’” As a child, she preferred playing with dolls and watching movies over outdoor physical activity.
During college and graduate school, Elizabeth’s weight fluctuated until she reached an all-time high. “My family did an intervention, and the topic of weight loss surgery came up,” she recalls. The thought of surgery frightened Elizabeth, so she met with her doctor to discuss options.
Transitions. At her doctor’s suggestion, Elizabeth joined a weight loss program. During the 3-month program, she lost 21 pounds and 3% body fat. Although she continued to implement the plan on her own, she felt she needed more guidance. She contacted IDEA member and veteran personal trainer Massiel Miranda. A component of Miranda’s business, 03, is a satallite program that allows her to help clients from a distance, since she travels back and forth between Albuquerque and Miami. Elizabeth joined the program, which involves individualized exercise protocol, monthly lectures via conference call and weekly “check-in” phone calls.
Elizabeth started the program in February 2010, weighing 295 pounds with 47.3% body fat. “Initially, her goal was to lose weight, but I explained to her that this was not a goal I could recommend for her,” recalls Miranda. Instead of weight-focused goals, Miranda advises clients to seek physical challenges, such as finishing a 5K or regularly taking the stairs. Elizabeth understood the value of event-based goals and agreed to participate in one 5K per month.
In the Beginning. “After the initial phone consultation with a client, I send an e-mail with brief questions so I can evaluate the person,” explains Miranda. The questions involve medical history and injuries; occupation; time management; expectations; the client’s idea of health and wellness; and short- and long-term goals. She also determines training level and requires participants to complete a full physical examination. “Before I began working with Elizabeth, I made sure she understood that being honest is the key ingredient to a lasting relationship.”
Miranda visits with clients to administer measurements, strength tests and functional movement screens. Based on the results, Miranda teaches an individual-specific exercise protocol. She discusses eating habits with her clients and refers them to a dietitian for information on behavior change, meal preparation and more.
Weekly Communications. Miranda and Elizabeth communicate via phone or Skype for 30 minutes each week. “We start off by chatting about how she is feeling that week,” says Miranda. They review Elizabeth’s daily schedule and augment the program based on any discrepancies that arise. “One roadblock I encountered was slow results. Intensity is one of the obvious roadblocks when the fitness professional is not always at the practice,” says Miranda. “I corrected this by having Elizabeth wear a heart rate monitor.”
A second roadblock was effectively communicating new exercises, which can be difficult to do over the phone. Miranda overcomes this problem by demonstrating the exercises using video communication tools such as Skype.
Support Systems. When last measured in October, Elizabeth had lost 40 pounds and about 8% body fat. She had improved her 5K time by 14 minutes. “Getting to this point has not been easy,” sighs Elizabeth. “One day I feel like I’ve made progress, and the following day it feels like I’ve taken one step forward and two steps back.” This is where the support of 03 comes into play. “03 creates adherence by making our clients be part of our team. Every month during the conference call, we hear each others’ voices and look to each other for support.”
“I have learned that the only way to make a change in your life is to have a great support group and the understanding that we are the creators of our reality,” says Elizabeth. “The beauty of this is that it has no end. It’s a journey where I get to work on my current goals and create more goals to see my full potential.”
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.