client: Erin | personal trainer: Sarah Nakamoto, Bootique Fitness | location: San Diego

The new recruit. When Erin first arrived at Bootique Fitness, an all-female outdoor boot camp on San Diego’s picturesque Mission Bay, she was quiet and reserved. She’d discovered the group while out on a run—her activity of choice—and decided it was time to pursue a new fitness challenge.

Sarah Nakamoto, a Bootique trainer, remembers meeting the newest “recruit” more than 3 years ago. “Erin struck me as honest, kind, caring, quiet and [easily able] to make laugh,” she says. Nakamoto recalls feeling unsure about Erin’s thoughts or perceptions about the boot camp during their initial time together.

“Erin’s quietness actually intimidated me at first because I could never tell what she was thinking—whether she was enjoying the workout, hating it or just getting through it. I like to check in with my clients to find out what they’re feeling and thinking, and ask if they can go harder, etc. Erin kept me in the dark unless I pressed her for a response, which was always positive!”

Difficulty leads to transformation. Erin initially wanted to lose weight—a goal that she’d experienced difficulty achieving on her own—so she committed to joining the boot camp several times per week. The workout is also led by a few other women, including owner Jaylin Allen. Erin continued to remain reserved, steadfastly working through the challenging training sessions. Her efforts had produced modest improvements, and she seemed pleased enough with the results. However, after 2 years with Bootique, her spirit changed, recalls Nakamoto.

“Suddenly Erin was showing up twice a day, and she also gave her eating habits a complete makeover,” the trainer explains. “She was very serious about making changes.”

Nakamoto would later learn that Erin’s renewed vigor was spawned by significant personal turmoil.

“She started to focus all her attention on her fitness. For her it was therapy. She came to camp often, cultivated closer relationships with the participants, and when she saw the results of her hard work, she was motivated even more.”

From follower to leader. This major shift in Erin’s life and the progress she made at Bootique seemed to release a new, more outspoken version of the quiet woman Nakamoto remembers meeting a few years ago. “Erin has become far more outgoing and talkative. She now shares her accomplishments with others who are looking to do the same, which is huge.”

Erin’s evolution seemed to have a ripple effect on the other boot camp participants. “Her behavior brushed off on the ladies at camp, and I noticed they would push themselves harder when Erin was present,“ says the proud trainer. ”They witnessed her capability as a woman just like them, which motivated them to do it themselves.“

The power of transformation. Erin’s enhanced passion for fitness has led to some remarkable improvements. Since starting with Bootique, she’s lost 70 pounds. And that’s just scraping the surface of her transformation.

“She moves with ease, runs fast and jumps high,“ notes Nakamoto. “She has excellent mobility and seems mentally at ease. Her [running] pace over time has gone from 9-minute miles to 7-and-change-minute miles. She has motivated some of the other Bootique ladies to join her on her runs before class.“

Most recently, Erin tested her endurance running skills and completed the San Diego Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon®. Erin hadn’t planned on running; Nakamoto originally registered for the event, but ended up not being able to participate and offered her bib to Erin. This wouldn’t be Erin’s first half marathon. She’d run another 3 years prior, in her home state of Maine.

“Her half marathon personal record time in San Diego was 40 minutes better than her PR time in Maine,“ says Nakamoto.

Be a supporter. Nakamoto believes that one of the greatest things a trainer can do is to champion clients’ successes. “Share clients’ accomplishments in the presence of other clients,“ she says. “Be proud of them. Show them that they are valuable to you and to other clients—that they are leaders and set an example to strive for what’s attainable if clients work for it.“