Kiki Maples tells her story about MTTI's Personal Fitness Trainer program and working as a Fitness Trainer.

Kiki Maples, Fitness Trainer at 212 Health and Performance,

Kiki Maples2016 Personal Fitness Trainer

Kiki Maples
2016 Personal Fitness Trainer Graduate
ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
Personal Trainer and Group Instructor at 212 Health and Performance 

“After leaving the Navy, I wasn’t interested in an office job. I wanted a hands-on career I could be passionate about—helping people create healthy habits. MTTI’s Personal Fitness Trainer program built my confidence by putting knowledge into practice in a well-equipped health club. I love my job at 212 Health and Performance. I lead challenging, fun workouts that help clients achieve their fitness goals.”

When I graduated from high school, my family wasn’t in the position to pay for school—college wasn’t going to happen.

An Army recruiter came to the High School and talked about recruiting for languages.  Later, I joined the Navy. I wanted to be stationed in the country in which I could use the language as it was spoken—the option was Korea. I became a Korean Linguist.  

I also have a background in Psychology and Nutrition. I’m interested in how the mind works, whether related to art, or to how people change habits. I like being in service, and helping people in non-traditional ways—especially by being creative and moving.

When I left the Navy after nine years, I threw a dart at a map and wound up in Providence, Rhode Island.

I opened a dog walking business and worked on an Art Degree at CCRI. I started thinking about what I really wanted to do for a living.  I knew I didn’t want a desk job in an office environment—and I found I didn’t like the business side of managing my own Dog Walking, LLC. 

I began researching things I could do hands-on. Personal Training Certification came up, and I found MTTI.

Maybe this is what I want to do “when I grow up”! Personal Fitness Training felt like something I could be passionate about.  

There was a lot of tension in my home life as a child. I grew up learning to “eat my feelings.”

I was criticized for being pudgy. I spent several years in high school being bulimic. Bulimia, an eating disorder of binging and purging, hurts you mentally and physically. When I joined the Navy at 17, and was no longer in that home environment, I felt less anxious. I started to turn things around. I worked on my eating disorder. My weight was still a struggle but now I was more physically active. I was counting calories—but I wasn’t eating quality food. 

When my contract with the Navy was over, I started working on a Master’s Degree in Nutrition.

I started thinking about what I was putting into my body. I didn’t want to put a bunch of artificial ingredients into it; I wanted what I ate to be more natural.

I’m not a huge fan of medicine.

I want to be healthy, but I prefer that the body correct and heal itself, by staying active, eating well, and going to the chiropractor.

I see a lot of meathead trainers at gyms that haven’t had to struggle with weight like the average person.  

I can help people set realistic goals—and get there—by eating healthy meals and working out.

I could have chosen a weekend certification course to become a Personal Fitness Trainer—but I want to help people, not hurt them.

You don’t know what you need to know, until it is presented in a program. I wanted a classroom environment in which they covered all of the things you need to learn to be a Trainer.

The Personal Fitness Trainer program’s thorough content, plus practicing hands-on in the health club—over and over—prepared me for the internship.

We didn’t just hear about the skills in the classroom, we did them. We took actual blood pressures and administered many fitness tests to other students—it builds confidence.

My Instructors at MTTI, Chris and Ryan, were great.

I model how I work with clients on the way they coached and motivated the class. When I graduated, I felt they were more than Instructors—I had two friends. By the time I left school, I was confident that I could work in the fitness industry—I know can hold my head up high.

Interviewing for internships was nerve-wracking.

It had been a long time since I had interviewed with someone. It’s like stage fright for performing. I always got butterflies. Wherever I interviewed though, everyone was willing to share their knowledge, and everyone was nice.

My class took a field trip to 212 Health and Performance in East Providence, RI.

I chose to do my internship there—the guys were awesome! I liked their philosophy and loved the energy and environment. Normally more quiet and introverted, I enjoyed the interaction with others—it boosted my energy. 

I knew when I interned at 212 that I wanted to be hired and work there.

 They didn't have an open position at that time. Kerry and I stayed in touch. Kerry and Sean were great resources to go to with my questions about the fitness industry.

I worked at two other locations after graduation.

I was hired at Fitness Together in Lincoln, RI. It was a great 'growing experience' to help me get my feet wet. From there, I taught classes as a group instructor and one-on-one Personal Trainer at Fitness Rising in Lincoln. Working at this location homed my skills; I learned how I liked to coach people.

Kerry contacted me during the spring of 2017.

He told me, "I have room for another trainer--let's talk."

Kerry is an amazing leader, who sets you up to succeed.

He is great to work for. He is all about the energy and the experience. 'You can give people the greatest workout—but it is about the experience here—not just the workout. You want them to feel better walking out than when they walk in.'

You can ask Kerry any question—even multiple times.

He's going to make sure you are comfortable and confident. He's not going to push you off the diving board until he has taught you how to dive—including some neat flips you can do on the way down.

I’ve found my style as a Trainer.

I am a tough coach. I look sweet, so people think I am going to be easy. I’m not. I make you work really hard—but I am not scary about it. I do it smiling and laughing.

I don’t yell. I tell clients, 'I’m here to support and coach you.'

I help them recognize they need to take responsibility for their own success—they have to push themselves. I say to clients, 'I’ll help you set realistic goals—you have to own it to reach those goals.'

People come here for a change—they want to be pushed.

They are paying a premium for a service. If I am too easy I feel like I am not providing the motivation that they need or expect. I often quote Frank DeVito to clients: ‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.’

At 212 Health and Performance we work with all kinds of people.

Some are healthy and fit or athletic; others have medical conditions and injuries. I do functional training. I want people to move better. If you move better you feel better and your quality of life improves.

I worked with a client who has Multiple Sclerosis. When we started, he couldn’t even get out of a chair. After working with him for a few weeks, his wife noticed that he was moving better—now she doesn’t worry about him when he gets out of the chair.

I teach large group and small group classes: 'nuts and bolts', 'circuits', 'kettle bells' and HIIT (high intensity interval training). 

I also do one-on-one training. We provide fitness training to business clients, too, including Hasbro Toys and Pawtucket Credit Union. I enjoy the energy at 212 Health and Performance—it is no nonsense, no ‘frills’. It is like me.

I love my job.

I love coming in here every day. I feel better at the end of the day when I leave to go home. Personal Fitness Training not only helps the clients—it helps me, too.

Contact Kiki at:
212 Health and Performance
Founder / Owner: Kerry Taylor
20 Newman Avenue, Suite #2002
Rumford, RI