ETOBICOKE – For more than a decade, Nelson Bolarinho found a second home within Humber’s Athletics Department before pursuing a full-time career in the fitness field.
Bolarinho, a Mississauga native, enrolled in the Fitness & Health Promotion program at Humber in 2005, and following his first year in the program, was hired as a gym supervisor within the athletics facility at the north campus. While working as a student-employee, he was able to learn, first-hand, about facility operations, personal training and fitness programs, all while building a foundation of fitness resources and contacts.
During that time, he developed lasting friendships with patrons and fellow staff members. He graduated from Humber in 2007 with a diploma and a CSEP Personal Trainer Certification, but continued to support the needs of clients through group classes and personal training programs on campus.
After working in the fitness industry for three years, Bolarinho began pursuing a Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology at the University of Guelph-Humber which allowed him to once again work on campus, only strengthening those previous connections made.
When thinking back about his time in the fitness facility, he remembers “trying to get to know people, and learn their stories”, more than remembering specific programs. “You never know what skills you’ll pick up, or connections you’ll make, that will come in handy years later,” he said.
Maintaining his goal of staying active and fit, and always learning, he attained a Specialist Certification in Fitness Kickboxing, and continued to expand his teachable skills, benefiting both himself and clients. Bolarinho graduated from the Kinesiology program in 2014.
As an experienced trainer with proven methods to positively influence and encourage students, Bolarinho was hired as a group fitness instructor for Humber’s extramural men’s and women’s hockey teams. The goal of this pilot program was to provide additional opportunities for hockey athletes to improve their overall fitness levels, especially given the limited practice time due to increasing rental costs.
Team members would meet weekly with Bolarinho to participate in spin classes, circuit training and other high intensity workouts, planned specifically to enhance some of the skills that hockey athletes might not focus on during on-ice practices. The sport-specific program continued for a number of seasons, with Bolarinho having paved the way for student-trainers to have this experiential learning opportunity.
Bolarinho left Humber in 2017, and has been working as a Personal Trainer with Fitness Nation, and more recently, became a Letter Carrier for Canada Post. “Both jobs allow me to stay active…and to get my steps in,” he joked.
He has taken some time to travel to numerous places in Canada and the United States, and completed a backpacking trip across Europe. He continues to stay active by running, biking, weight training, rock climbing and competing in obstacle course races, of which he has completed 43 events.
Staying in contact with many athletics team members and peers from Humber has been invaluable. “I wasn’t going to work every day – I was getting to spend time with a lot of people that I cared about,” he recalls. Bolarinho looks to continue building positive relationships through fitness programming. He hopes to develop more accessible online training options for his clients, because when clients reach their goals, so too does their trainer.