In the last 27 years, we have certified more than 130,000 health, nutrition and fitness professionals. Each month, we recognize one of our distinguished graduates who uses what they have learned to inspire others and make a difference.
Meet our graduates for the month of February, Dr. Maria Banks, an AFPA Certified Prenatal and Postpartum Fitness Specialist
How did you initially become interested in health and fitness?
I was initially interested in health and fitness during my college New Year. I majored in rehabilitation science, because I’m always interested in health and helping others. I have decided that if I am going to help others in the field of health, I should pay more attention to my health. During my new year, I started exercising more and gained a great appreciation for fitness.
While taking group fitness classes and working out in the gym with friends, I started to study the best exercises for my body type. Since then, I have always taken my health seriously while maintaining a consistent gym routine and a healthy diet.
Which certification did you choose and why did you choose AFPA?
I have opted for prenatal and postpartum fitness expert certification from AFPA. I chose this because I always wanted to be a coach, but I always made excuses not to pursue it as a career. Once I got pregnant, I wanted to continue exercising, but I had a hard time finding a trainer who could help me do the right exercises. After acknowledging the need for this special training in my area, I decided to pursue this specialty.
I have researched the programs and got the certification from AFPA After reviewing what was included, it was nationally recognized and looking at the reviews, I knew I had to get this certificate through AFPA. I like that they have a lot of resources to support their graduates and they felt that they would meet my needs best. I’m actually going to get the next Nutrition and Wellness Consultant Certification!
How was your career before you got certified?
Prior to certification, I worked as a professional therapist for a little over ten years. After an illness or injury I have worked with adults to help them recover and live a more fulfilling life. When I received my certification, I was working in a skilled nursing facility in the midst of an epidemic with positive patients during pregnancy; Back then it was a high pressure environment.
How is your career now?
I now own The Health Mamas, a company that I started to help pregnant and postpartum women stay healthy and fit throughout pregnancy and motherhood. I combine my skills as a doctor of occupational therapy and pre / post natal fitness specialist to provide health and fitness services to my clients practically and personally.
I have always seen the value of taking care of your health and have always wanted to help people take preventive measures to help prevent certain diseases and illnesses. Many people wait until something bad happens to their health to start taking care of them. While I was developing my business, I noticed a great need for pregnant and postpartum women to take better care of their health. My goal is to educate women about the importance of taking responsibility for their health and to help them lead healthier, more fulfilling lives for themselves and their young. The career I have now allows me to do what I always wanted to do!
What are your favorite parts of your career?
I enjoy every aspect of my career. I have the benefit of educating and helping other women to learn healthier, healthier life skills. I appreciate the flexibility of my schedule, especially with being a new mom. It allows me to have a fulfilling career and spend quality time with my family. I appreciate my connections with other professionals in this space; I learned a lot of valuable information to help others.
How has being certified with AFPA affected your life?
Being certified with AFPA has completely changed my life. I am able to use the specialized knowledge gained from my certification to have a huge impact on my community. I am able to educate, train and train my mother to lead a healthy life. I feel like I’m making a real difference in the lives of my clients. I enjoy more work / life balance due to more flexible schedule and less stressful work environment. I now have a career that I value, and I think I’m making a real difference.
Do you have any client success stories you would like to share?
I love hearing the success stories of my clients. It makes me feel like I’m really making a difference in their lives! There are two testimonials that I would like to share.
I have a client who is two years postpartum. He tried different programs but never got stuck with them because he felt he was not getting anything out of the programs. I created a special program for him to meet his specific goals. Within a month of working with me, he noticed a significant change in his strength and effectiveness.
I also had a client who trained with me during my pregnancy. She had pain in her buttocks and back throughout her second trimester. He started training with me and I made an exercise plan specific to his needs; He noticed a decrease in pain. She also enjoyed coming to my group fitness class, as she was able to mingle with other women on her same journey.
What advice would you give others about being certified?
For others who are thinking of getting certified, I would say go with a program from AFPA. They have many certifications that will help you meet the needs of your clients if you want to work in the field of health and fitness. They offer plenty of resources to help their graduates stay up-to-date on the latest in health and fitness, which is extremely helpful in this type of career. I’m glad I got a certificate from AFPA, because I feel fully supported as an entrepreneur in the field of health and fitness.
To connect with Genny, follow her Instagram See https://www.thehealthmamas.com/ for more information or to learn more.