Employee Q&A: Personal Trainer Eric Hobson
Personal Trainer, Campus Recreation
How long he's worked for the UA
Favorite part about working at the UA
"I really have enjoyed getting back into the university setting, the collegiate setting. It feels good to be back in that environment. And the people who work here are really, really cool."
Getting motivated to go to the gym can be tough, especially after a long day at work. But for those who need an extra push, a personal trainer may be able to help.
Lo Que Pasa recently sat down with Eric Hobson, one of the newest additions to Campus Recreation's personal training staff, to talk about the importance of physical fitness and how he helps office employees at The University of Arizona get in shape.
Hobson, who attended the UA in 2004 before taking time off and receiving his personal training certification through the American College of Sports Medicine, works one-on-one with UA students and employees at the Student Recreation Center.
In the fall he also will start as a physiology student at the UA, with hopes of pursuing a career in physical therapy.
What process do you go through when someone comes in looking for a personal trainer?
We initially usually do some fitness tests, we go through some range of motion tests, we take body composition, things like that, just to get kind of a baseline of where we're going from and where we can continue on to. We have a little Q&A, just seeing what experience they've had exercising, what their goals are. We'll work at setting some both long-term and short-term goals. Then I take people out and run through some other tests on the floor, some strength testing, and see what they're capable of. It helps me determine how hard to make their workouts. I'll often ask if there are any exercises they've done in the past that they've either really enjoyed or had a lot of success with, and then we'll sort of go off of that.
What's the benefit of using a personal trainer?
A lot of people won't push themselves quite hard enough, and usually we're really good at expanding someone's knowledge of fitness and what they're capable of doing, what options are open to them. I correct technique a lot. With some people that's really all it takes, just doing little tweaks and manipulations to the way they do an exercise to make it a lot more effective. Personal trainers can often help make an exercise routine a lot more effective and get you the results faster.
What do you like best about your job?
Helping people out. It feels like a rewarding job because you can tell that the work that you're doing is really improving somebody's life. When you see a client reach their goal it's very rewarding. You can tell they're really excited about it. And you get them to the point where they can continue on their own, so it's a very rewarding career.
What's the most challenging aspect of the job?
The most challenging part is probably the frustration of both parties when things aren't working out quite right â€“ when you just can't find the right mix of diet and exercise and any other X factors that are going on, and the client is just not getting the results that they want. You can tell that they're starting to get discouraged with themselves as much as you, (and you're) just sort of racking your brain trying to figure out what you need to be doing.
How do you keep your clients from getting discouraged?
Changing it up a lot, going with that philosophy that (you should) do what you like to do, and then adding in different exercises or pulling them out. I will usually have people work for a couple of weeks straight on a set plan and then start pulling out certain exercises that they're doing really well or that you can tell aren't as effective as they used to be and putting in new ones that are either harder or more dynamic.
What advice would you give to UA employees who might not get enough exercise because they're behind a desk all day?
Making time for a daily workout â€“Â be it in the gym lifting weights or going for a run or a swim or a bike ride â€“ is really, as clichÃ© as it sounds, an investment in yourself. Your stress is going to be lowered; obviously all the health benefits are going to come from it. And it's a good way to just kind of escape and forget about the workday for a little while. It takes the place of TV. I've found it be a really great way to reduce stress and just kind of detach yourself from the daily grind.
What would you tell someone who might be considering getting a personal trainer but is nervous about the idea?
Give it a shot. No need to be nervous. I think personal trainers tend to get a reputation as kind of a drill sergeant figure. You watch (television shows like) "The Biggest Loser" and see them standing on the treadmill and yelling at you, and, I don't know, there may be some people out there who do that, but so far I haven't seen any of these employees doing it. Our job is really to encourage and really just help, assist people in getting to where they want to be.
Is the idea of potentially working with one of your future professors at all intimidating?
Not to me. I think it would be kind of fun. It's nice because it's a totally separate environment from school, much more of a peer relationship than a professor-student one.