Personal Trainer, Owner & Registered Nurse
How long have you been a personal trainer and how long have you been a registered nurse?
I have been a personal trainer since 2009, so 8 years. I have been a registered nurse since 2014, so this year (2018) will make 4 years.
When did you first open Repke Fitness?
I started my personal training facility in Severna Park in 2009. At that time, I was working for Cypress Creek Physical Therapy. So, Repke Fitness started off as an incubator. I’m very grateful that Brian Gallagher (the owner of Cypress Creek’s) gave me the opportunity to build my company within his facility. I’m very grateful because was able to grow my company inside of his physical therapy clinic, during the early years, in which I had very few clients.
When did you fully move out of your Severna Park location to Millersville?
In 2014, I found a great space in Millersville and decided to move my personal training facility from Severna Park (Cypress Creek Therapy) to Millersville.
Did you always want to become a nurse and/or personal trainer?
No, actually, my major in college was originally Electronic Engineering. I loved taking electronics apart as a kid, and I love fixing things. However, in college, I found a passion for fitness and decided to take that route instead. I did nursing because I wasn’t sure how viable of a career personal training was at first. Also, I wanted to have a deeper understanding of pathology, pharmacology and the musculoskeletal system. I figured it would help me become a better personal trainer, market myself better and have a niche market/clientele (people with injuries and/or medical conditions).
Does your nursing degree help you as a personal trainer, if so, how?
Absolutely! My nursing degree, knowledge and experience have definitely helped me excel as a personal trainer. It has helps me build better rapport and trust with new clients. It also helps me better understand my current clients’ conditions/limitations and how to work with them.
During the initial free personal training session/consultation with prospective clients, if they tell me they are on Blood Pressure (BP) medications, cholesterol medications, and/or diabetes medication. Usually, I can guess the medication before they even tell me what it is, and I can also tell them exactly what the mechanism of action is (how the medicine works based on whether the drug is an ACE inhibitor, Calcium Channel Blocker, Beta-Blocker, etc.). A typical conversation might go like this: Oh, you have high BP? Well, you are probably on Metoprolol or Lisinopril? How many milligrams do you take? Or if they’re on a drug I know they have a super hard time saying like Hydrochlorothiazide aka HCTZ, I can help them say it and tell them why a doctor would put someone on HCTZ and the benefits and side effects of it.
More importantly, if one of my current clients is someone who has high blood pressure and is taking Metoprolol, I know NOT to use target heart rate training with them. Metoprolol will prevent their heart rate from getting too high, even if they’re working really hard. Some personal trainers don’t know better and may not pick up on something like that because they don’t understand the mechanism of action of a beta-blocker or other blood pressure meds. So yes, my nursing degree helps a lot!
What was your favorite nursing clinical rotation and why?
My favorite clinical rotation was at Anne Arundel Medical Center’s Pediatric Emergency Department (Peds ED). I really liked the interactions with the kids because I’m still a big kid at heart. I’m effective at communicating with them and joking around, while still providing quality care.
Have you ever had to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a real person (not a dummy)?
Yes, I have done CPR on a real person. During my Critical Care rotation at BWMC, I had a patient who was coding. Since I was part of the code team, we did CPR on her. It’s pretty crazy; you have lots of nurses, doctors, code team personnel, etc. all in one room working effectively as a team to help the patient. To make it even crazier, this was a patient who was on droplet isolation – so everyone giving CPR to her had to have on personal protective equipment (PPE). EVERYONE entering the room had to wear a mask, gown, and gloves. Needless to say, it got pretty hot, really quick. Yes, the patient survived, but man, giving CPR is a workout. A lot of triceps, shoulders and pectoral muscles involved.
Do you want to ever go back and work as a nurse and is your license currently active?
Yes, I do want to eventually go back and work as a nurse again. I want to keep my license active to primarily do volunteer work. My long-term goal is to go back to Haiti and help in the medical field there. Plus, I want to keep my nursing skills up-to-date.
Why did you take a break from nursing to do personal training, instead of doing both or just strictly nursing?
There are so many reasons! One of the main reasons is because business was growing and was taking too much of my time (couldn’t find time to do both). I built my company from the ground up – so I had to take care of my baby (Repke Fitness). Also, most hospitals require doing three 12-hour shifts; over time, those can drain anyone. In addition, I was a new graduate in 2014, I didn’t get to choose if I could work just nights or just days. I’d not be able to work nights then train clients during the day/morning and run my company like I am today. Owning my own business and being able to make my own schedule is something that I love and value. Making my own schedule was a huge factor.
Lastly, as a nurse, we’re taught to do a lot of patient education because it is very important. However, sometimes as a nurse, I felt like patients wanted to learn how to eat better and to do regular exercise, but didn’t know how to get started. We’re taught to tell patients to eat healthier and exercise 3 to 5 days per week. However, we can’t help them outside of the hospital or hold them accountable.
As a personal trainer, I actually can do all of those things. Preventative health is so crucial; I saw so many patients with illnesses that could have been avoided by adopting a healthier lifestyle. So I wanted to be on the front line – I feel like I can make a big difference as a trainer. I can help people prevent type II diabetes or help them better manage it, along with many other medical illnesses. I can help people to “be my client now instead of my patient later.”
– Louben Repke, RN, BSN, CPT
We are a private personal training studio located in Millersville, MD. Our top-notched personal trainers provide quality personal fitness training to clients in Severna Park, Severn, Pasadena, Arnold, Gambrills, Crownsville and all over Anne Arundel County.
8268 Veterans Hwy #3
Millersville, MD 21108