Kansas State University


Find Your Fit

Interview With Joe

I interviewed personal trainer Joe Augustine today. Joe is one of the personal trainers who has worked here the longest.

SN: “How long have you been working at the rec?”

JA: “four and half years.”

SN: “What got you into personal training?”

JA: “Originally I wanted to be a building supervisor or just work at the rec and it was close to where I lived. They did a round of interviews and over one hundred people applied for six spots, but I didn’t end up getting it. There was a personal training class so I signed up for that. It was an ACE class. It was Saturday mornings, and met 6-8 times. I’d taken this class, so I decided I wanted to be a personal trainer (and you got paid better than other staff at rec). I was a kinesiology major so it fit. I took the test and passed but stopped because there weren’t enough people. When I first started, there was one small weight room, and one deadlift platform. Where the weight machines are now, was ping pong. The cardio deck and climbing wall didn’t exist yet. The additions got finished two years behind schedule. The rec got a lot more popular after the renovations. There are actually less small gyms around town because the rec is so nice. I never went to one of those small gyms. I didn’t work my first semester, but second semester I was working two jobs. My second job was at JP’s at Jardine. At the time this was before PT so I was helping out my mom’s coworker and he lived in Manhattan and had a house so I was hired to do general labor. I helped with demo and painting. I got to go at it with the sledge hammer.”

SN: “Are there a lot of differences now from when you first started working here?”

JA: “I would say there’s more equipment. They’ve slowly added more and more equipment. Even this year they added a bit. But it’s nice, so when you do go out and train it makes it easier to get done what you want to get done. I was always campaigning about how there were so many racquetball courts. And then they announced they were putting in the training zones! Which is great, because now there are more areas where you can use stuff. There are more boxes, and the tires are pretty cool. Yeah, so that was nice.”

SN: “What were some things that were challenging for you when you first started training?”

JA: “I think adjusting to other people’s fitness levels. I think us as trainers, we really like to train, but the people we serve, are often more unlike us in that way. So, they need to be challenged a bit more. I feel like I’ve trained a lot more females than males. I have trained a lot of younger clients. Some of them have more experience than others. Most challenging part was just having confidence. You don’t know them at all and the first sessions you are poking and prodding them during the assessment. It forces you to be more professional. The assessment stuff hasn’t changed. I knew what I was doing more so than some of the other trainers, but you also must be confident in the way you present it to your client. You have to give them a why. As long as you’re getting them results. My biggest thing is that, the longer I work with a client, the more honest you can be with them. I figure out how much I can push them. Your job is not to be there friend, but I become good friends with many of them. Sometimes you have to make them do stuff they don’t want to do and make them tuff it out. But they see the progress at the end if the client buys in and gives you their effort and listens. There were some that, they listened and gave such good effort that they had great results. There was one client who was in pretty good shape, but she didn’t think she was. She was scared to lift more than five pounds. She lost a few pounds, but the big shift for her was mental. She had to quit worrying about the scale and start seeing how she looks. I taught her how to lift weight and push and challenge her. From and effort and listening standpoint, she’s probably the best client I ever had. We doubled her caloric intake, but she felt better, way stronger, and doubled her calories.”

SN: “If you can give people a piece of advice about training, what do you think is important for people to know?”

JA: “First off, I would say consistency. Without that you have nothing. Training 3 times this week and not the rest of the month doesn’t work. Find something you can be consistent at. If you can’t train 5 or 6 times a week that’s ok. You have life stress. How are you going to be able to train really hard if you aren’t resting and recovering? I think people go hard and then burn out because it’s not sustainable. Find something that will be sustainable in the long run. You should enjoy going to the gym. Some days it’s gonna be a slog, but the number one thing you have to do is go to the gym and warmup. And then those end up being some of your best workouts. Once you go, you’re good. Some days it’s just not there, and you have to be ok with dialing back the weight or intensity. You’re not there to set world records every day. People get really wrapped up in the ego part and comparing to other people, and you can’t do that. There’s a lot of resources now about fitness and that’s really changed in the last few years. I would say it’s easier to find good information than bad, and learn from multiple sources. When I started learning about sports performance I learned a bunch of Eric Kressy stuff. From there, I branched off, but reading his stuff gave me my base to build from. When I started reading his articles I didn’t understand half of what he was saying, but I kept reading it anyway, because it made logical sense. As I added to my knowledge, I could add to that. Depending on what kind of formation your bones are you may not be able to get away with as much as others. I learned from a lot of powerlifting people as well, although I don’t necessarily do powerlifting. The most qualified people to learn form are the people in the area you want to focus on. Just watching helps too. People are built differently, and you can’t do things the same exact way, but you can see the technical pieces and learn from it. I don’t Olympic weight-lift, but I have done it before. I’ve coached enough to understand, and watching videos is helpful and the quality has improved.”

SN: “Have you always been active?”

JA: “Yes. I was very active. I have played maybe almost every sport. There was one year where I had a ton of overlap between all my sports. I had a track meet, soccer game, flag football game, and baseball practice all in the same day. I did track, soccer, baseball, basketball, football, swimming, and made state in high school. In college, I was on the rowing team, and picked up volleyball. I did everything from darts, ping-pong, basketball intramurals, flag-football, swim, and soccer. We took second in doubles volleyball one year. I played doubles and then played some sixes. My girlfriend was pretty good at volleyball and softball. They took second at state. She was libero or setter. Having your parents be active and play sports is huge. My mom was a three or four sports star in high school.”

SN: “You actually train with another personal trainer here. Want to talk a bit about that?”

JA: “That’s why I have Sam. So someone can watch me. Then you know what you are doing. You can know what you’re doing, but you might miss or not want to admit your weaknesses, so it’s helpful to have a coach even if you are one. I think it’s important to have somebody who is either a coach or someone who really knows what they are doing. Those are the ones who you watch and learn from.”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *