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What got you into becoming a Personal Trainer?
When I was 14 I tore my ACL playing Pop Warner Football. I pretty much had an ultimatum to stop playing sports or get surgery. Of course, what 14 year old being told you can't play sports anymore would pass up on the opportunity to get surgery and recover. So I did, and 8-9 months later I was back to playing sports. But going through the extensive physical therapy process got me interested in working with others like myself. I got to see a whole new industry where athletes could rehab and progress. Even though I did not become a physical therapist, I gained interests in helping others get better and be a better version of themselves than they once were. So upon going to college I declared Dietetics/Nutrition as my major. At least I would continue the opportunity of working with others. Then I started to think... why not help others with nutrition and fitness? Boom! The lightbulb in my head went off... maybe I should work on getting a personal training certification. And by my senior year of my undergraduate program I got the opportunity to work for a small personal training studio in Peoria, IL. This was the perfect first start for me. I got to not only work on my certification requirements and help others, but I got to see the business side of the Personal Training industry. And I knew that this was my calling.
What was your degree in?
I graduated from Bradley University in 2011 with a Degree in Dietetics/Nutrition. What does that mean you ask? Technically in order to offer nutrition advice you are required (dependent on state) to be a Registered Dietitian. So you need to take a minimum of 4 years for your Dietetics Degree, upon which you are required to apply and be accepted to a Dietetic Internship program. Being from Chicago, I decided to apply to Dominican University in River Forest, IL. The great thing about this program was that it was a 2 year program that allowed students to fulfill their internship requirements, as well as work towards an MBA. Taking the MBA classes really got my business mind turning. I knew that starting and running my own business would definitely be in my future plans.
What was your first sales/managerial position?
In 2013, while I was in my graduate program I started managing a small boutique gym in Hinsdale, IL. From that location we outgrew our space and moved down the street to an even bigger location. This was truly my first experience running and managing a gym. That includes the sales, training and daily tasks with running a business. And even though I loved working with people and training, it gave me a new perspective on what it takes to operate a fitness business. The good, bad and the ugly. More good than bad an ugly though!
When did you move to California?
Summer of 2014. This was my first taste of Orange County California. Not only was the area saturated with gyms, it showed me what it takes to be an elite trainer in the area. It allowed me to see all the various types of gyms and studios out there, and what they had to offer. It showed me you have to be aggressive and different from the other facilities and trainers. But it really allowed me to learn the guerrilla marketing techniques and incorporate networking to grow. In just 1 year, I grew our one club from 0-120 members. Unfortunately it also showed me that you need to focus on attention to detail so injuries don't occur. I really changed my style of training form a hardcore bootcamp approach, to an attentive detail oriented trainer so I wouldn't continually lose clients for aches and pains. And if there was an ache or pain, how I could modify the exercise or style of training to makes sure we could work around those issues.
What's your exercise of choice?
Overall, I have always been a very active person my whole life. If it wasn't a youth or high school sport, it was always something important to me. There is more to LUVEing Fitness than working out in the gym though. Staying active not only keeps you healthy, but it can be FUN too! Here is a little taste of my fitness hobbies. If you are like me, you get bored from "the gym" sometimes. You need to connect with people and grow your community, or join a community local to your area.
What are some of the groups you joined?
There are a bunch of running and biking clubs local to the South Orange County area. One that I have really enjoyed is called Tuesday Night Run hosted by Rausch Physical Therapy in Laguna Niguel. Every Tuesday at 6 PM they offer group runs/walks from 3 to 6 Mile distances. A great way to meet people and connect with like minded individuals.
Outside of running what do you like to do?
Not a runner? No problem! There are other local groups for bikers and trail walkers. Being in Orange County allows no shortage of trails. It's always fun and intriguing to take a new route and see the amazing views California has to offer. After thinking about the future of my knees, I decided to take on mountain biking and purchased a used StumpJumper. Now I can ride through our local trails and keep that adrenaline rush up!
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