Patrick Bernat is a 2014 graduate of the Personal Fitness Trainer Diploma who is now enrolled in Mount Royal’s new Bachelor of Health and Physical Education program. He is one of the first PFT grads to transition into the degree program. He is working towards becoming a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.
Patrick is the recipient of a scholarship from World Health Club in recognition of academic achievement and demonstrated voluntarism in the community.
We spoke with Patrick at the Flames Health Training Camp where he was volunteering as a fitness tester.
Patrick’s motto is, there’s an athlete in everyone. “I am a trainer at NSD Sports and Fitness Club, which trains the hockey population as well as the general public,” he says. He fits his client work around his class schedule.
Born and raised in Calgary, Patrick was always active and loved the outdoors. He was well on his way to earning a soccer scholarship and perhaps playing professionally when he was sidelined by an injury. His plans changed but he held onto his ideals and enrolled in the Personal Fitness Trainer program when it became a diploma in 2012.
“If you are truly passionate about a particular field or topic, you will take the necessary actions to ensure success,” Patrick says.
“I chose the PFT program because I left my retail job and was looking to get an education in athletic training. It just happened that Mount Royal turned their certificate program into a 2-year diploma,” Patrick says. “No other post-secondary institution in the Calgary area offered a similar program.
“I have always led a healthy and active lifestyle and one thing that I took away from my retail days is that I love helping other people. I figured why not combine these two ideas and applied for the program,” he notes.
Patrick says that prospective PFT students do not necessarily have to be super fit or knowledgeable before they take the program.
“I had minimal education about fitness and exercise before entering the PFT program. What it did was strengthen my existing attitude towards fitness and give me the ability to educate, explain and justify concepts with research and data from experts in the field.”
Patrick strongly believes that passion for helping people achieve their health and fitness goals is crucial to being a trainer. “The health and fitness industry does require passionate individuals looking to improve people’s lives for the better. The best thing a student entering the program can do is come in with a desire to learn, an open mind and contagious attitude that is worth catching,” he says. ” I will never forget the amazing instructors and organizing staff that paved the way for success in every class. Their experience and knowledge of the field was invaluable.”
Patrick’s plans for the future are wide open. “The PFT program was simply my entry way into the fitness industry,” Patrick says. “I likely wouldn’t be furthering my education in the Bachelor of Health and Physical Education program if I hadn’t first started the PFT Diploma.”
“There are so many aspects of the industry that I would like to experience and I haven’t actually set my mind on a particular path. Completing a master’s degree is something that I’ve been considering. Teaching is another direction that has crossed my mind. I do not know where this industry will take me, but it goes without saying that wherever it is, the PFT program is largely responsible.”
— by Karen McCarthy
— photo by Krystal Hurt