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Nicole's Journey From Intern to Coach and Beyond

Today my old boss and mentor, Jesse Hilmandolar, asked me to speak about my experience as an intern with Trebel Wellness Solutions and CrossFit Blacksburg (CFBB). Without thinking I knew what mattered most, I learned how to fulfill Ut Prosim. This motto which means “That I may serve” is something that I reflect on quite often.

In case you were not aware most universities have mottos that speak only to knowledge. Virginia Tech builds its foundational principles on giving back to its community, teaching students to help another first and foremost. The acquisition of knowledge is secondary, it is expected to be gained when you involve others in your experiences and they to you.



As an intern with Trebel/CFBB I fulfilled all the expected intern duties, the grunt work so to say. I dusted and cleaned, filed papers, cleaned some toilets and of course got to observe and take part in fitness classes. I used all knowledge gained in HNFE classes to understand proper human movement, recognize and correct incorrect biomechanics, and implement basic exercise physiology principles to create training programs and workouts to favor different metabolic processes. All the while having mentors with 20-30 years experience in strength and conditioning and athletic training sharing with me their own experiences and thoughts.

I always joke that few people are trained to be a trainer. At Trebel/CFBB you could not find a more engaged group of people who want to see you succeed and be the best trainer you can be. Which might sound silly, if you have a degree, if you take the classes and maybe get a certification you should be more than qualified right? That is true if your goal is to get someone sweating for 30 minutes and then go about your own day. You can have all the knowledge you want, but the ability to make a human connection with someone else, to sympathize and empathize is not gained in a classroom.

What I took away the most is how to add value to someone’s day. I learned not only how to be respectful, to present myself as an authority figure and lead with confidence, but how to effectively communicate with people of all life experiences.

I truly believe that because of my time as a trainer in “just” fitness at Trebel/CFBB I have spent every job since contributing much more than what is expected of me. Every patient, client or athlete I have worked with I personally feel I add value to their day, to their goals in life, not just fitness. That is how I choose to serve my community, how I become a better human every day.

In the past two years I have worked in inpatient and outpatient physical therapy clinics, diabetes management facility and managed a personal training studio and of course coached part time in lots of functional fitness and CrossFit gyms. Which collectively can all fall under the umbrella of “health care”.

If you continue with HNFE and you become a doctor or physical therapist, if you go into collegiate strength and conditioning, or if you detour like me and get a second degree, currently working on my Nurse Practicioner, I urge you to intern at Trebel Wellness for one semester. The experiences and knowledge you will gain and carry into your career after college is far greater than any other opportunity that I took while in college.

-Nicole Tsetsilas
HNFE Class of 2015

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