Iowa Alumni Magazine | August 2011 | People

Certified Fitness Guide

By Shelbi Thomas

An Iowa City-area woman lost 20 pounds in five weeks. Once too out-of-shape to play with her kids, she now lives a happier, healthier life. What’s her secret?

She followed the advice of the UI’s youngest certified personal trainer.

At 19 years old, Anthony DiFiglio is one of 12 trainers at the UI Campus Recreation & Wellness Center who motivate clients such as the Iowa mother to reach their fitness goals. “I feel my age is an advantage,” he says, “because I can reach out to anyone, especially the younger college kids.”

DiFiglio works his gym job around his class schedule. Most of his clients strive to shed pounds, but he also helps people with their flexibility, strength, appearance, and endurance. For clients with no prior workout experience, DiFiglio urges them to develop the habit of going to the gym at least three times a week. “A lot of people say nothing works for them,” he says, “but if they stay motivated and make positive changes in their lifestyle, they are going to get results.”

DiFiglio was born motivated. A three-sport athlete in high school, he regularly lifted weights at a gym in his hometown of Darien, Illinois. There, he became close with his personal trainers, who encouraged him to pursue a National Academy of Sports and Medicine certificate. As a high school senior—when most of his classmates had yet to pick a college, let alone a major—DiFiglio job-shadowed fitness experts, attended hands-on workshops, and hit the books to study for the exam. Within a few months of his 18th birthday, he became a certified personal trainer.

DiFiglio’s goals now include declaring a major, renewing his certificate every two years, and maintaining his own fitness. “Being healthy is a lifestyle,” he says. “It doesn’t happen in a day, a month, a year. It’s something you dedicate your life to.”