Virtual training for busy people

Jun 26, 2003, vol. 27, no. 5
By Julie Ovenell-Carter

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SFU staffer Alyse Kirlik (left) with one of her personal training clients, ethics officer Barb Ralph.

Don't tell Alyse Kirlik you don't have time to exercise.

The petite 26-year-old mother of two works full-time at SFU administering research contracts, attends university classes on her lunch break, and visits the gym five times a week at 4:30 - in the morning, that is. And in her (ahem) spare time, she works as a fitness trainer, motivating others - in person or via the internet - to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Kirlik, who is slowly but steadily pursuing a degree in general studies (with the long-term goal of a law degree), says her “fitness kick” started with her first pregnancy in 1999.

“I just ballooned. I wanted to be happier with the image looking back at me in the mirror.” She started visiting a neighborhood gym at 5:30 a.m., and soon she found she'd formed a habit. Today, she views her morning exercise routine as “something I do for myself that doesn't take time away from my family. Plus, it gives me energy for the day. It makes me so much more productive.”

Last summer, pregnant with her second child, Kirlik began training to become a certified fitness trainer. She recruited colleagues from work to help her fulfill her practicum requirements, and by the time she'd earned her accreditation in April, 2003, “a lot of them wanted to continue training with me.”

In May, she launched Total Training, a personal training service that includes an unusual service: online, or virtual, training. Kirlik says virtual training is particularly suited to people “who are too busy for one more appointment” or those who already know how to work out, but want to avoid plateaus.

For $35 a month, clients like SFU events manager Holli Edgelow receive a customized workout program (updated monthly), weekly feedback on matters of nutrition and fitness, and frequent motivational e-mails.

Says Edgelow: “A virtual trainer provides what I need: motivation, accountability and encouragement. I've been active for years, but find that having a trainer forces me to be accountable - I can't just skip a workout because I don't feel like it - Alyse will know.”

Total Training

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