Five Minutes with Valorie Ness

Daily Health Solutions, Featured Article, Healthy Living
on December 10, 2012

How did you get into personal training?

From aerobics in the basement of my childhood home, to captain of several teams in high school, to a group fitness instructor at age 17 and the only girl in the weight room at my gym, it seemed like a natural progression. By the time I was 20, I was a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise. I am all about making personal connections and helping people any way I can. The personal training industry is great for people like me who have a desire to make a difference and can’t envision themselves with a desk job.

Explain how Catalyst may be different from typical health clubs.

Catalyst Fitness is the only medically accredited exercise facility in Georgia. At Catalyst, we touch the lives of a wide range of clients from pro athletes to medically and movement-challenged individuals.  

We plan to increase the number of our locations, and an education and consulting company, we will continue to consult with equipment companies, speak at conferences, conduct workshops/clinics and train the trainers.  

What keeps you motivated on days when you don’t feel like working out? Any personal “mantras” or sayings that help you keep going?

“To give my best, I must be at my best.” Exercise is a gift I can give myself and in turn those around me. And “My training time is My time!” This is time each day that is specifically dedicated to just me.

You’re a competitive athlete: What is it that you enjoy about competition? Why keep doing it?

Yes, I am a triathlete competing in sprint and Olympic-distance tris. I have always enjoyed the spirit of competition and striving to be the best I can be. Specifically I like the mental and physical challenge of triathlons. It is not only you against the other competitors, but you against the water, road, weather and yourself. It is a sport that requires a tremendous amount of personal discipline in both training and competition. I compete because it keeps me young in body, mind and spirit. If age is truly a mindset, I figure I am still about 16 years old.   

What benefits can competition have for a “late bloomer” athlete?

Exercise is medicine and competition keeps your mind and spirit young.  Not to mention it keeps you looking and feeling young—to confirm this, just check out your non-exercising peers. Also If you were a non-athlete as a younger person but always find yourself thinking “I should have, I wish I would have”—late bloomer athletes are one of the fastest growing divisions in road races, obstacle courses, triathlons and endurance races alike.  

You work with everyone from competitive athletes to people with serious health challenges. Can you cite one example of someone who you’ve seen really go through an amazing transformation or seen huge success?

As a qualified Corrective Exercise Specialist I have the privilege to work with people who are at a post-physical therapy point in their journey back to pain-free movement.  In 2000, a woman came to me after completing months of rehab to regain her ability to eat, read, talk and walk again. She sought me out to “get her life back” after being in a traffic accident where she was sandwiched between two tractor trailers. During her initial assessment, several ongoing issues were discovered, including flat feet with a lack of dorsiflexion, knee valgus, the need for knee replacement surgery, healing pelvis from multiple fractures, left shoulder dysfunction, left hand weakness and an inability to lay in a prone position without a panic level that would bring her to tears. Our training program started at a point where general life mobility was the goal. After 3 years of training with me 3-5 days a week from 30 – 60 minutes, she was able to walk a 10K road race, lift at a resistance to gain muscle mass and live with an occasional low level of pain. She is now at a point that she has learned the information needed to continue with an exercise program on her own.    

What do you find most rewarding about being a personal trainer?

I am able to touch so many lives on a daily and weekly basis with my one-on-one clients and on a much larger scale when I am educating other personal trainers at conferences and workshops. This career offers a unique position to make a difference in peoples lives.

Name four qualities to look for in a personal trainer.

Certifications, education, practical experience, personal drive. 

How can you make the most of your workouts with a trainer? 

Do the “homework” your trainer gives you. Be on time (plan on arriving 10 minutes early) to physically and mentally be prepared for your session. Make the commitment to getting healthy and fit to yourself first and then to your trainer. Leave your cell phone in the locker room and ask your trainer to put his or hers away as well.