It goes without saying that in recent years we have had a growing interest in our bodies and the need to incorporate more healthy habits into our daily routines. Men and women of all ages and physical condition want to invest in their well-being and quality of life by taking up outdoor activities such as running or cycling, or joining gyms and fitness centres. In this context, the role of personal trainers has become increasingly significant. They possess fundamental knowledge, training and experience when it comes to adequately planning exercise and nutrition regimes to achieve their clients’ goals. María Rossich (Palma, 34) heads the project Woman Personal Trainers, specialising in the area of women’s fitness and nutrition. But this personal trainer goes one step further than conventional training with her clients. She is also a blogger and Instagram influencer with over 80,000 followers.
When I was small I started modern dance, and because of my height, my mother signed me up for basketball. What’s true is that I have always loved the world of rhythmic gymnastics and this was my discipline until I started my PASS studies at 18 and then I was a trainer until the age of 32.
Is this megatrend for a healthy lifestyle, healthier eating habits and exercise ever going to fade or has it really generated awareness?
Personal improvement has become very much a part of people’s lives, just like other sustainable habits, such as recycling. We all know that we are going to live longer and people want quality of life. I’ve always said that movement is happiness and that people that don’t move tend to be more miserable. Someone who doesn’t do any physical activity is not completely happy.
What is the importance of specific training in a sector where there are so many unauthorised, or unqualified people jumping on the bandwagon?
There are some people that don’t have any qualifications but do have a lot of knowledge because they have specialised in the area of personal training. But there are others that don’t have a clue. It is essential to be trained in the biomechanics of the body because injuries occur when you don’t know what type of exercise could affect another muscle group.
Talking of specialisation, we see that you have focussed your work on personal training for women.
It is basically about training in comfort. I adapt my training sessions to suit each phase of a woman’s cycle. In cases where women have recently given birth, for example, they need someone who has been through these unique sensations in life, someone who can emphasise with them. During the post-pregnancy phase, it is important to work on training the pelvic floor muscles, the diaphragm and correct posture, but also to find the more enjoyable, fun side of exercising.
What has triggered the current boom in hiring a personal trainer as opposed to using a traditional gym instructor?
People have become very complacent. We see many cases of people of people literally making a stab in the dark when it comes to taking up a sport and not achieving their goals. Having an expert by your side not only helps when it comes to planning the training sessions but it also motivates you psychologically. This boosts my students both mentally and physically.
Each particular case is different but what are the majority of people who seek your help looking for?
Most of them come eager to improve themselves but need help because they don’t know how to go about it. Our task is sometimes centred on making them understand they are not going to turn into superwoman, but they can bring out their inner superwoman. Our work consists of helping them believe in real, achievable goals.
We read a quote on your blog that caught our attention: “I don’t limit myself to training people, I want to emphasise with them.” Does this help to optimise the results?
There are some people who are depressed. Physical exercise releases serotonin, endorphins and enkephalins, helping them to boost their self-confidence. It is very important to me that if someone feels very tired and needs to stop and catch their breath, that they end up finishing the routine and leave with the satisfaction of having completed it.
Have you needed to develop special skills or acquire psychological tools in order to motivate people?
At a personal level I already had my training in Physical Education, to which I added an important dose of patience. My capacity to empathise with people comes naturally as I have always had the ability to put myself in other people’s shoes. Also, I have a friend who is a professional coach and she has taught me many psychological strategies.
You form such a close link between the sporting and emotional aspects with your clients; does this make it harder to keep the professional and personal elements separate?
Some of my clients have become my best friends to the point that sometimes they offer psychosocial support to me! Inevitably, you are bound to form a close relationship. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that they leave with a smile on their faces. This is the key and I consider it to be one of the fundamentals of good training.
Is social media an important marketing tool for personal training?
In my case, it is the most important one. I don’t invest money but I invest time, for example, in posting a daily video online. It is hard work but the return is very positive. Watching the interactions and followers increase is good but what’s important it that it motivates people and they start to feel energised.
What is the key to gaining over 80,000 followers?
The concept of my Instagram profile is very dynamic and also shows some of my own healthy lifestyle. However, Woman Personal Trainers (www.womanpersonaltrainers.com) is always in character because when I get home I am a normal mother just like any other, although I never show my son online. One of my clients, the actress and presenter Patricia Conde, nudged me into starting about four years ago. Today, many influential people such as Marta Sánchez, Chenoa, Almudena Cid and the blogger María León, give me post ‘likes’, or ask my advice on a training plan. I also feel great when renowned people from the world of fitness, like Power Explosive or Women’s Health, write to me.
On the Woman Personal Trainers blog, you talk about the ‘12 Week Challenge’, what can you tell us about it?
It consists of encapsulating all the work I did when I became a mother into a post-natal training plan, highlighting the importance of taking care with impacts and hypopressive abdominal fitness. It is the most successful training programme I have ever published. After this came the Diet, done in collaboration with a nutritionist and a pharmacist, and the Contigo Challenge, together with Xim Escanellas.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to become an authority in the fitness industry, focussing on women who want to take care of themselves and their happiness, women who want to have a meaningful lifestyle with values. I want to continue growing, to be able to create my own training method and open my own fitness centre. It’s something that I have been working towards for many years.
Pau Ferragut / Cristian Montoro / Único Wellness Club