Personal training among highest paying jobs on campus

Nadia Zebouni, personal trainer at the University of Miami Wellness Center, is stretching with her client before they take off one a brisk run to start off their routine. TANYA THOMPSON // Asst. Photo Editor

Nadia Zebouni, personal trainer at the University of Miami Wellness Center, is stretching with her client before they take off one a brisk run to start off their routine. TANYA THOMPSON // Asst. Photo Editor

Nadia Zebouni has one of the best-paying student jobs on campus. She doesn’t have to file papers, type reports or serve food. And her work attire is pretty casual: gym shorts, a pullover shirt and tennis shoes.

Zebouni, a sophomore from northern Florida, is one of 15 certified personal trainers at the Wellness Center who help members of the university community achieve their fitness goals and build confidence.

“My favorite part of the job is getting to help people and work one on one with them,” Zebouni said. “It’s easy because I live on campus and I love seeing people get the same enjoyment out of working out as I do.”

Her clientele varies greatly in age as well as in reasons for hiring a trainer. Among them, there are runners hoping to improve on marathon times, injured athletes wishing to strengthen ailing muscles, and others  striving to attain fitness goals or  learn how to properly tone muscles and use the center’s equipment effectively.

Many UM students seek fitness training at the Wellness Center, such as junior Patricia Martini, who is one of Zebouni’s clients.

“Nadia is the best,” Martini said. “She’s in such great physical shape and she plays such a huge role in my motivation. I like working with her because she makes sure I’m doing everything right and working the right muscles.”

“Personal trainers are among the highest paid on-campus job,” said Desiree Adderley, assistant director of Fitness and Personal Training. “Plus, once you become certified, you’re a trainer for life as long as you renew your certification every two years.”

Zebouni and other trainers at the center come prepared to help a variety of clients. For example, she is certified by the National Council on Strength & Fitness and also receives continuing education to stay up-to-date on the latest training techniques.

While training helps pay the bills, students are at UM primarily to earn a college degree. Zebouni, who started at UM as a marine biology major but is switching to exercise physiology, balances up to 18 credit hours of classes per semester with personal training, running marathons and surfing.

She started working as a lifeguard at the Wellness Center’s pool, but decided she wanted to be more involved with people.

“I loved working at the Wellness Center, but I thought being a lifeguard was unfulfilling; I wanted to interact with people more,” she said.

Alan Rose, the assistant director of Facilities, suggested that Zebouni become a personal trainer and referred her to Adderley.

Anyone who wishes to become a personal trainer must pass a national test as well as an in-house test, as part of the interview process, administered to potential training candidates. National certification can be acquired through several organizations.

“Once qualified, I give each trainer clients based on their personalities and their specific area of expertise,” Adderley said.

Wellness Center members may purchase single training sessions or a group of eight sessions for the cost of seven. Prices vary depending on membership status. Adderley did not comment on the exact amount that trainers are paid, though a search for student employment opportunities on MyUM found that personal trainers are paid between $10 and $15 an hour.

In the April 20 edition of The Miami Hurricane, Desiree Adderley was misquoted as saying that personal training was the highest-paying job on campus. She actually said that it was among the highest-paying jobs. The correction has been made in the story and italicized. The Miami Hurricane apologizes for the error.

April 15, 2009


Ali Kitenplon

Contributing EDGE Writer

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.