In the early ’80s, I was in the thick of personal training, operating a successful gym and personal training business. It wasn’t the easiest venture of my life (I can’t say that any entrepreneurial undertaking is), but it wasn’t the hardest either. The timing was right. I had just discovered my life’s passion for fitness and I wanted to help others understand what their minds and bodies were capable of. I had learned first-hand the transforming power of a dedicated fitness regime.
It was 1979 and I was fresh out of the Marine Corps, but I remembered back to the day I had first arrived at Camp Pendelton in southern CA – I was sure of my dedication to country, but not so sure of where I’d be in 10 years. Then it hit me, literally! I was shot through the hand with a 50 caliber and required rehabilitation to regain the function of my right hand. It was my blessing in disguise. Through the rehab process I became like an addict to exercise, I couldn’t stop training and learning, and learning and training. I came back to my home town of Lafayette, Indiana and made the vision a reality. I opened “The Fitness Clinic” on Main Street in Lafayette, which was early 1982. My passion for fitness and fitness training made the work more like a journey than a job. Sure, I’ve known all along that nothing worth having would come easy, but I was ready for the challenge then, and I’m ready for it again now.
Now fast forward to 2012, after the evolution of my life’s passion from where it started (training clients) to where it went (training trainers through the NFPT certification program) – 30 years later and I am ready to get back to my roots, so I opened a personal training studio.
NFPT Strength & Fitness – a place where the methodologies of the NFPT education program are taught to aspiring trainers and implemented right in the heart of where it all started 30 plus years ago. I’m still training trainers, but now it’s in a daily,hands-on way in the NFPT Strength & Fitness studio. Ironically enough, it’s only several blocks away from where “The Fitness Clinic” used to be on Main Street in downtown Lafayette.
It’s an exciting time to train young, highly motivated trainers, who remind me a lot of myself when I first got into the business. My NFPT Strength & Fitness staff is an exceptional group of trainers, some new to the industry and some wanting to grow what they’ve started (I must say that it means a lot to see the fruits of my teaching come to life through them). It’s true that I spend much of my time growing this new business, getting the word out in the community and helping NFPT Strength & Fitness trainers grow their client base. I can relate now more than ever to new-to-the-industry trainers starting a business from the ground up. It’s a lot of work that takes a lot of motivation (and true passion for what you do). It’s been a long time since I’ve worked a new business, the experience brings me back a few decades to “The Fitness Clinic” and the dream I had that was, and is, NFPT. Just like it was for me then, it is for me now. I want the full experience, challenge (all the good and the bad) of taking this new venture on. Maybe it’s the time away from new business development, or the growth of the personal training industry, or my evolved perspective, but I sure feel like this new experience is much tougher today than it was in the ’80s.
What seemed like just finding a spot and making some business cards back then, has become a whole new adventure today. I love it all the same. I took on this adventure because I wanted the full experience of it. I didn’t want others doing it for me (though of course I’m not the Lone Ranger in my efforts). I believe in a capable and supportive team of trainers and other community experts that have been strategically placed around this endeavor (and I would be amiss not to mention the full support and assistance of my dedicated wife, Teresa, a long time fitness enthusiast herself, who I am so grateful for in every way). But, I want to be at the heart of every aspect of growing this new studio. I took a hold of the reins and I went full-force, putting all of my mental and physical effort into this project, just as I did 30 plus years ago. And, so far so good!
I’m certainly seeing the big picture of this new undertaking from a fresh and current perspective – I can relate much better to trainers starting their own businesses, that’s for sure! The adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained” sure rings true in this; and most areas of life.
I would love to hear from you about your experiences and what drives you to be part of the fitness industry. If you own or operate a fitness studio, I’d love to hear your suggestions, input or experiences. To start the ball rolling, I’ll give you an example of one of my own recent experiences…
I met with a local doctor while I was recruiting Advisory Board Members, and she really enlightened me. As it turns out, in the state of Indiana, it is a fairly simple process to receive approval as a credible “Health Service Vendor.” Once you are approved, you are included on a state recommended health and fitness providers list that doctors choose from when advising their patients to enlist the services of a fitness professional. Talk to a doctor in your community about this, maybe you’ll find the same.
What are some things that you have discovered? Are there things that new personal trainers tend to ignore when opening their first studios? Or maybe you’ve found ways that they can maximize client reach in their communities. Is it social media? Local target market research? Not forgetting the importance of consistent professional development?
What is your experience; what do you have to offer those who are just getting the personal training business off the ground?