Blake Sama, an NFPT-CPT for 15 years, was born and raised in Arlington, Mass., a suburb of Boston. He moved into the city for school and never left. Blake holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical and biomedical engineering from Northeastern University. He works to use his NFPT certification and educational background to bring integrity into his personal training business, with a devout mission to teach people how to move better!
Follow Blake’s Instagram account for inspiration (he has some experience with Crossfit competitions!)
Here’s more about Blake and his fitness philosophy.
How long have you been certified with NFPT?
I have been certified for over 15 years now! Wow! I chose NFPT for my certification because, at the time (I was 18), the reputation of the company, accreditation through the NCCA, and ability to maintain continuing education through the company itself was the most attractive option to me.
Why did you decide to become a personal trainer?
I grew up overweight and was bullied. High school was not a fun time for me. However, after losing 60+ lbs in one summer, my senior year varsity lacrosse coach who was a personal trainer became someone I looked up to greatly. I latched on to him and his knowledge, and as I graduated, knew that I wanted to be able to give to others what he gave to me. Additionally, as I became more knowledgable and was able to transform my own health, I found it so powerful, that I wanted to be able to help others with theirs, and have never looked back.
What has been your biggest challenge as a personal trainer?
I would say my biggest challenges have been dispelling the personal trainer “meathead” stigma and the group fitness craze. More specifically, I believe that many personal trainers are underdeveloped and do not provide excellent service, neglecting to pay full attention to how their clients are moving or how they should be moving. Too many are on their phones, not paying attention to their clients. I have made it a mission to bring integrity to this profession with my coaches; communicating that to an audience and ensuring they understand how different we are, can be challenging.
Equally, the craze these days is group fitness. Not movement quality, but social fitness. While this may have its benefits, it has become a challenge to bring new clients in the door, when so many people are just interested in going somewhere where they can sweat with their friends.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness industry?
Opening my studio in the Back Bay of Boston. I ran my business for many years out of other gyms and facilities, but when I left my full-time engineering job, I rebranded, took my fitness business full time, and opened a studio. We are still working through the pressures from the pandemic, and getting our name out there in a meaningful way, but my team is amazing, and I know their knowledge alongside mine, will continue to help countless people.
What has been your most rewarding experience as a personal trainer?
The most rewarding experience for me is not just one singular experience. It has been working with clients to help them reach their goals, no matter what they are. For one client it was simply being able to get dressed more easily, while more recently, with MOVE’s endurance athlete focus, it was helping a runner become injury and pain-free, and hit her goal of a sub-3-hour marathon. Those are the moments that keep me coming back for me.
Even more recently, it has also been very rewarding to pass my knowledge on to my staff, to mentor and coach my coaches so that my experience propagates into their practice.
What role does social media play in the success of your business?
Social media has played a role, and it certainly has helped with certain credibilities for our business as we tend to put out more educational content to match our brand. I think that social is certainly an important element in any fitness business, but there is also so much noise, that it can be a challenge at times. I have found that for us as a small business, word of mouth has been far more impactful than social media.
How has the pandemic affected your fitness business?
The pandemic significantly affected my business. I opened my studio only three short months before the pandemic started, and of course, had to close. Thankfully, my client base is so strong that they all stuck with me virtually. It certainly has been challenging, however! Looking at it from a positive lens, it did force us to increase our virtual offerings, and now we can work with clients all over the world.
Any advice for people thinking about a career in fitness?
Continue educating yourself, ensure it is your passion, and get ready to pivot. This industry is challenging because it moves so quickly. Learn to adapt, and always come back to how you can better serve your clients.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to think the future holds a continuation of the mission I set out on 15 years ago. I would love to expand my team and my business to mentor more and more coaches and help more and more people. No matter if they are elite athletes, or just someone looking to move better and learn more about their body, I hope that I can use my knowledge to help others.