STORY AND PHOTOS BY JOYANNE’S LOVE

OGoing to a gym can be intimidating for someone who has never worked out there before.

Calming those initial fears and promoting overall health is at the heart of what Ivan Madarang does as a personal trainer.

“Right now a lot of people are overwhelmed coming in, so they don’t know what they’re doing,” said Madarang, who works at Express Fitness.

However, he said it didn’t come from a lack of knowledge about types of workouts and equipment. Many have seen so many different workout types on the internet that they don’t know which one is the best. This is where a personal trainer can be beneficial in guiding someone to the workout that suits their health goals.

Madarang can understand because he’s been there.

“I try to tell them, even if they don’t believe me, that I was 40 pounds heavier,” Madarang said.

Figuring out what would work for him was “a lot of trial and error.”

After graduating from college, Madarang started learning how to cook and cook healthy food.

“Once I fixed my diet, everything else fell into place,” Madarang said.

He also started researching workouts.

“Because of the way I went through and the way I train, I can tell how much most people need to train,” Madarang said.

Now he has turned that fat into muscle.

“It took me a year to lose weight,” Madarang said. “I started training after I lost weight and started preparing to do bodybuilding shows.”

That’s when people started asking him for advice on training.

He researched what would benefit his clients from taking online courses in nutrition and personal training through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. After competing in bodybuilding competitions, Madarang’s interest grew to the point that he is now also a bodybuilding coach.

He encourages anyone who has considered working out with a personal trainer to give it a try.

“One of the biggest issues is anxiety,” Madarang said. “A lot of people came and sat in their cars and didn’t come back until 20 minutes later because they’re afraid to get in.”

Although it’s not something he struggled with, he wants to help people overcome it.

Sometimes that just means walking around the gym, so they see “it’s not as bad as you think,” Madarang said.

Ivan Madarang has been a part-time personal trainer with Express Fitness for eight years and is a full-time nurse.

His two jobs complement each other and help Madarang pursue his passion for helping people get healthy.

“I just want people to start being more active,” Madarang said.

He has his personal training sessions in the afternoon after leaving work at an internal medicine clinic. At the clinic, he saw that many health problems are related to nutrition

“A lot of overweight, malnutrition, thyroid problems, diabetes, even kidney problems. And the younger generation kind of follows the older generation and I try to solve this problem as much as possible,” Madarang said.

He said promoting fitness was important to him.

“I want everyone to be healthier,” Madarang said.

Being healthy is specific to each person’s needs, so Madarang takes an individualized approach to how he leads each person in training.

Where to start depends on “if they’re older, younger, trying to lose weight, try to gain weight,” Madarang said.

Madarang said he had underweight clients who exercise helped because it increased their appetite.

Whether it’s overweight or underweight, making good food choices is important to maintaining a healthy weight. He specializes in training women.

The first step is always to discuss the health goals the person wants to achieve.

Some want to lose weight. Some want to increase their mobility.

“We do what we can based on their fitness, and it really goes from there,” Madarang said.

Most beginning exercises focus on a full body workout, without using the specific machines in the gym.

This includes pushing a weighted sled, working ropes, box jumps, squats, wall exercises, etc.

“It’s really like circuit training,” Madarang said.

This serves as an assessment of the client’s fitness level.

Many clients have been successful in achieving their weight loss goals.

Working out in a gym with a personal trainer isn’t just for young, fit people. Madarang said about half of his customers are seniors.

The cost of a personal trainer varies depending on the duration of the sessions. A compulsory membership in the gym where the personal trainer works also increases the final cost.