Grow Your Business or Move On

Recently I got a call from a stand-out young man inviting me to his senior class fund raiser at a local restaurant. I immediately accepted and thanked him for thinking of me. I looked forward to being there and supporting him.

I also got to meet his grandmother and uncle. His family had me sitting with them that night. It was a treat and an honor. I first met Ivan over two years ago at a gym here on Galveston. He, and his mom, Angie, approached me one Saturday asking if I could speak with them. What came of our conversation that day has become a deep admiration for both Ivan and his Mom Angie! Seems Ivan had read one of my early articles, researched me and thought I should be his personal trainer.

(Just a quick side-bar, folks; always research a trainer before you hire them. Run their name in Google. If they don’t show up, ask why.)

Ivan was fifteen years old when we met. He is now a senior waiting to hear from the University of Houston and Alabama about acceptance into their schools. He is leaner, stronger and more mature today. Not only is Ivan a good football player, he is also very smart with plans to major in Broadcasting. His Mom told me, “Since he was six he’s wanted to work for ESPN.” I have no doubt he will do just that. His Mom also told me he’d clipped one of my early articles and put it on the wall. I joked with him at the restaurant saying, “You need more to do, man.”

The most amazing thing about this family is they came to train with me at 5:30 AM. Ivan was there three times a week for nearly a year. Yes, his Mom had to get up with him as he had no license. These folks were on time at every session. His Mom also made personal sacrifice to pay me even when her health was not great.

When Ivan got his license, and truck, he was walking off the ground with new independence. His Mom was just relieved, I think. Ivan worked very hard with strength training, boxing and cardio at every one of our sessions. We trained in the heat, the cold and the rain. We did pass rush drills on the tennis courts, as Ivan was thinking linebacker in those days. He got to be so fast I could not elude him with my best fakes.

I told Ivan several times, “There are very few people aged fifteen getting up at 4:30 AM to work out.” I knew then, and still do, that Ivan was an exceptional young man with an equally exceptional Mom.

If you trainers aren’t attracting some young folks like Ivan, then you may want to rethink your game plans. What has worked incredibly well for me over the past 25 plus years in our industry is being about quality before quantity. Try this concept if you’re not as busy as you want to be. People everywhere have responded to my business model when I’m about quality and creativity for my clients.

I stay fully booked, my phone rings constantly, my email has new client inquiries and I now offer a Trainer Success seminar offered through NFPT as 1 CEC. Think I have any imagination? So can all of you Trainers reading this article. How?

Distance yourself from your peers. Be as highly certified as you can be! Get the NFPT Master Fitness Trainer credential and use the title to promote your business. Study, dress well and actually look like a Fitness Model! Believe in yourself if you truly want to have the same type career I’ve had.

Know your ability and knowledge can help a young man like Ivan or my superstar Ms. Agnes at 95 plus years young. Far too many trainer types walk right past new people on the treadmill every day and never say “hello.” Really? You just walked past money that should have been yours but will probably end up in the pocket of a guy like me who speaks to everyone!

There are other families all across your home areas with kids going to college soon who’ve sacrificed in similar ways. With all the bad news we hear about kids in trouble, let’s all give these solid young people some congratulations! A random act of kindness seldom goes unnoticed. “Pay it forward” will get noticed, folks!

Before I forget … I have had Ivan’s friend’s parents calling me and coming to train with me on his say so alone.

About the Author

Bill McGinnis is an NFPT-certified Master Fitness Trainer, and trains exclusively at the University of Texas Medical Branch Alumni Field House on Galveston Island, TX. He has over 24 years in the Fitness Industry, including work as the Men’s Fitness Trainer at the Betty Ford Center and as a Fitness Manager in Southern California. He currently specializes in training older clients for balance, strength, endurance, golf, tennis and an improved quality of life. He can be contacted through his web site,, for distance training programs online.


These resources are for the purpose of personal trainer growth and development through Continuing Education which advances the knowledge of fitness professionals. This article is written for NFPT Certified Personal Trainers to receive Continuing Education Credit (CEC). Please contact NFPT at 800.729.6378 or [email protected] with questions or for more information.
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