Reaching your health and fitness goals can be challenging when you don’t know where to begin. Fortunately, Cooper offers highly qualified professional fitness trainers to help you get started on the best path specific to you! Providing education, support, accountability and a personalized plan to help you meet your goals, personal trainers complete rigorous training to ensure they are providing clients with the most accurate knowledge possible. Sottovia says, “One thing that sets Cooper apart from other fitness facilities is we require our trainers to have an exercise science degree and a nationally accredited certification. This allows for a diverse group of trainers with a variety of skills clients can choose from.”
And their education doesn’t stop at a degree or certification.
Carla Sottovia, PhD, Director of Personal Training Education at Cooper Fitness Center, ensures all trainers keep their education and certifications up to date. “Trainers must complete 15-20 credit hours of continuing education units (CEU) over a two-year period to maintain their national certifications,” says Sottovia. They have the option to take industry courses in person or online, attend conferences and participate in workshops.
Additionally, Sottovia organizes two annual onsite seminars all Cooper Fitness Center trainers are required to attend. “I invite an internationally-renowned presenter or educator to provide a lecture and/or hands-on training. I choose cutting-edge and current topics that will benefit not only the trainers but their clients as well,” says Sottovia. The Fitness Center also provides membership to a nationally known educational platform, Club Connect, for the trainers to take continuing education courses online. Read how a few of our Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainers keep up their skills and education below.
Q: What motivates you to continue learning new techniques?
A: Staying current not only keeps me prepared for future clients but also for existing clients who may develop new challenges. A quote by Jim Rohn—author and motivational speaker—has inspired me in all aspects of life, “Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills.”
Q: Why did you choose your specialty/certification?
A: As a personal trainer starting out, I had a difficult time working with special populations and those with injuries and ailments. While frustrating, it motivated me to explore different specialties and develop more effective problem-solving skills. I found Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT), which was the first step I took in learning a new skill and improving my approach. This led me to pursue a license in massage therapy and Active Release Techniques® (ART).
Robert’s training philosophy aligns with Cooper’s purpose—to improve the quality and quantity of life for clients, members and fellow teammates. He achieves this through “a positive attitude, listening to clients’ needs and goals and putting a plan of action together with their needs in mind.” Read more about Robert and his specialties.
Q: What specialty training do you have?
A: I am certified in Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT) and most recently, I traveled to Denver and passed all three MAT Masters modules—foot and ankle, shoulder and elbow and trunk and spine. Having been a MAT Specialist for more than a decade now, I chose these areas to dedicate more time to because they seem to be the highest priority and need for clients. Whatever type of physical or daily activity you participate in, MAT can be used to restore dysfunctional joints—those that are tight with limited mobility.
Q: Why do you feel it is important to continue learning and perfecting skills?
A: The level of discipline and detail of both the testing and treatment procedure can always be improved. Just like with any discipline of study, whether it be an instrument, language or sport, practice leads to mastery. I take at least one continuing education course on a MAT-specific module per year on top of two additional courses outside of MAT such as athletic conditioning and total body conditioning. Read more about Christian and his specialties.
Aaron Feldman, MS
Q: What is your specialty and why did you choose it?
A: I chose to specialize in body transformation—weight loss more specifically. I enjoy helping people work through any obstacles in their way of reaching or maintaining a healthy weight. I didn’t really choose this specialty, it chose me. I had been in grad school and working with clients for five years when an opportunity came up to spend my summer at a weight loss resort. Over four summers, I worked with hundreds of people; some with weight loss goals of 10-20 pounds and others who had as much as a couple hundred pounds to lose. It was watching these goals play out in such a contained environment and seeing their lives change that gave me a passion to work with people with similar goals.
Q: What keeps you interested in learning?
A: Curiosity, next to character, is the most important attribute one can have in my opinion. Without curiosity, you can get stuck in your ways. I’ve always been curious and learning has always been my passion. Deepening my understanding on how the body works and moves keeps me interested because it is always evolving. Read more about Aaron and his specialties.
Carla Sottovia, PhD
Q: What is your teaching/training philosophy?
A: I like to think of the body as a playground! My goal is always to restore the ability of the body to move freely and without restrictions. I enjoy the use of different tools and equipment during my training sessions. One tool I have grown to love is the ViPR™ which can be used for loaded movement training. Something I keep in mind while training with people is aiming for variability and versatility without losing track of clients’ goals and needs.
One of my passions is working with the older and aging population through the program Move.Laugh.Connect (MLC). I helped develop the educational and practical curriculum for the class, too. The focus of MLC is to address one’s physical, emotional and social dimensions in a group setting. MLC is ideal for participants with limited mobility and stability, a desire to improve brain health and fitness as well as to move, laugh and connect with others.
Q: How do you continue your education and advance your skills?
A: I seek out opportunities and go after things that interest me in the field. For example, I attend the IDEA World Conference every year to learn from others in the fitness industry and also share my knowledge and expertise. I try to take classes and private lessons about topics I’m interested in—such as aerial yoga—so I can then share those skills with clients, other trainers and members. Read more about Carla and her specialties.
A professional fitness trainer can help you achieve your goals, big or small. When looking for a fitness trainer, see if the fitness center you attend allows you to speak with different trainers, almost like an interview, to decide if their training style aligns with your goals and needs. Ask them about their certifications, education and experiences with different types of clients. With different specialties and training styles, you’re sure to find a trainer to match your ambitions.
For more information about Cooper Fitness Center or to schedule a session with a Professional Fitness Trainer, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com or call 972.233.4832.