Augusta Free Press

Personal trainer at Waynesboro YMCA can relate to fitness, health challenges

New personal training clients for Stephanie Duncan at the Waynesboro YMCA know that she can relate to what they’re trying to do to improve their health and fitness.

“When they see pictures of me from before, there’s a different type of connection made,” said Duncan, who has been a personal trainer at the Y for a year, after embarking on her own journey to fitness that saw her lose 45 pounds.

“People say, I just assumed you were always a size 2. So it’s a different type connection. I think it makes me want to help people that much more, because I’ve been through the struggle, and I know it’s hard,” Duncan said.

It was her progress in her own personal fitness journey that caught the attention of George Goodloe, the fitness director at the Y, who told her that he wanted to hire her to be a personal trainer because he foresaw her ability to connect with Y members with her story.

That was a year ago. Duncan feels her story can help motivate her clients to work hard to reach their fitness goals because she herself has very recently been in their shoes and can relate as to how hard it can be to get your personal health and fitness on the right track.

“We talk about what goals they’re looking to meet. A lot of times they have something set in mind that they think they want to do. They think they can just do cardio, or just do something else, and lose weight,” Duncan said. “I try to work with people to show them that with resistance training, with cardio, with changes in your diet, all together, you can do things the right way, in a sustainable way, that is also personal for you.”

The reward for Duncan is “hearing someone say, I’ve never been able to do this, and now I can, and to give people back that sense that they can do things that they thought they’d never be able to do.”

“I feel like my job is to give people a personal plan for how they can improve themselves, and to be there for them when things get tough,” Duncan said. “I know that it can be tough to do this alone. Sometimes you need someone there to encourage you, to tell you that what might seem like minor things are actually a lot more than that, and that you’re doing what you need to do. I try to be there for my clients to be that person.”

– Story by Chris Graham