Erin McDermott, BA, CPT
Education & Certifications
• Bachelor of Arts in International Relations
• Certified Personal Trainer, ACE
My journey to a career in health and wellness is a little less straightforward than others. I have always enjoyed eating healthful foods and exercising, but I was limited in my knowledge. I did not play any sports in high school or college and I never had the opportunity to learn my way around a weight room. My naivety was very frustrating for me; something I was determined to change. Unfortunately, it did not happen all at once. During the first year of my college career, I was stuck in a frustrating circle of wanting to get stronger and more fit, but not knowing how to.
The beginning of my fitness education began to take hold during my sophomore year when I was hired as a group fitness instructor. To perform my job well, it was necessary to do research on my own time about different types of exercises and proper nutrition. I quickly found that I loved learning about fitness and truly found a passion in helping others reach their goals. Many of the women I worked with had trouble with exercising and eating properly because they were unsure of how to. I quickly learned that like me, a lot of women had gym anxiety only because they needed more education about exercising. This realization helped me to build strong relationships with the female members, as I had dealt with a similar experience.
In 2016 I finished my degree in International Relations. I had not yet decided to make fitness a full-time career, but my passion for it was growing and I was determined to keep learning in my spare time. The summer after graduation I was accepted into a program for teaching English in foreign countries and I was placed in a small town in Spain. There, I lived with a host family and quickly saw a way to connect my two interests. Within their household, there was an obvious need for health coaching. My host-mom had Type II Diabetes and had gained over 80 pounds throughout her childbearing years (much to her horror). Her husband had high cholesterol and a heart attack at 40 years old. During my nine months with them, he had gone to the emergency room six times with heart-related issues. Their children were also overweight and had very poor eating habits.
The time I spent in Spain was very eye-opening for me. In addition to the language and cultural differences, I was not used to being in a home that did not have any idea of healthy living. I began to coach my family on the importance of making their health a priority. Although I was far from fluent in Spanish, I did my best to explain to them that eating well and exercising are not punishments. It may be difficult at first, but losing excess weight and getting stronger will lead to feeling successful, confident and empowered. Not to mention a vital component of preventing and treating disease. After a few months of helping my family make some small changes in their day to day lives, I decided to continue my own fitness education. I began studying to be a Personal Trainer and completed my exam after returning to the United States. My experience in Spain was a great starting point for me and really consolidated my love of fitness. I am so happy to be able to continue learning and growing in this field, and help people live healthier lives!