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[whitespace] Personal Best

With the deft intuitive touch of a psychologist, personal trainer Jose-Luis Wilson helps you maximize your potential

By Mark Ewert

What do you consider your job to be?

Physical training and nutritional counseling.

How did you get started?

I was an athlete all through school. I was on a swim team by the time I was 4. From ages 12-21 I ran track, as well as playing football, soccer, doing strength training, and all the track and field events: high jump, pole vault, triple jump, hurdles, etc. All those years I had a number of excellent coaches, and a lot of what I do now is a distillation of what I was taught.

How long have you been doing this?

I received my formal certification over six years ago.

Who or what was your inspiration to enter this career?

John Philibin, who started the National Sports Performance Association in Washington, D.C. John was a college decathlete [and later became] a strength-training coach of the NFL's Washington Redskins.

Do you have any pet peeves about this career?

I would never work with someone using steroids--I shun steroid use. It's a short-term fix that leads to a life-threatening long-term condition. Plus, it's frustrating to see people who over-work out. You DO NOT need to be in the gym over 4 1/2 hours a week. If you're working out 4 1/2 or more hours a week, you're doing something wrong.

What are the perks to this job?

A deep, genuine appreciation from one's clients. You know that if you were gone tomorrow, you could write down a whole list of people you've really helped, whose whole life you've benefited. The work I do is not just physical training--you get to know your clients. Their whole emotional makeup becomes part of your concern. One of my clients is 80 years old and was never an athlete. Now he's more than doubled his strength and is in better health than many people 30 years younger. He's optimistic, he lives a full life each day, goes to the opera and to plays, has a huge garden and has two kinds of tulips named after him. ... You have to ask yourself, "What kind of shape do I want to be in when I'm 60 or 70? What kind of quality of life will I want?"

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From the January 24, 2000 issue of the Metropolitan.

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