Around the time I graduated high school, I was working as a waitress at a little restaurant here in Lafayette, Ind. One morning my dad, National Federation of Professional Trainers founder Ron Clark, came in for breakfast and decided immediately that this wasn’t the job for me. As I filled his coffee, he asked, “Have you ever thought about coming to work for NFPT?”
At that point, NFPT had been around for a while. Getting it going had taken long hours of my dad’s energy, but he believed in NFPT wholeheartedly. Being equally passionate about fitness and helping others, my dad committed to helping fitness enthusiasts reach the success he had achieved. During the weekends my sister April and I spent with him, we knew he’d be working out at the gym during the day and working out the business details at night. Sometimes we were jealous.
On that day in 1994, I’d never even thought about joining NFPT. To my dad, it just made sense. NFPT was getting busier, he needed help and I needed money to pay for college. One of his favorite sayings was that, by having us working with him, he could take money out of one pocket and put it into the other. By hiring me, he was getting help and putting money in my pocket to pay my tuition bill.
In those early years, prior to the arrival of email, I learned the business envelope by envelope — opening letter after letter and writing responses. Everything was done by phone or mail. Each day, I’d have a stack of mail, data entry tasks and a list of phone calls to make. When April joined two years later, the two of us fell into our roles organically. April handled the customer side of things while I worked on business administration for projects and tasks, all while we both attended Purdue University.
We were the first in our families to go to college. But no matter how much NFPT needed us, my dad was adamant — the two of us would finish college. After four years of juggling NFPT duties and rigorous classes, April and I each earned degrees and a place in the leadership of NFPT.
Dad had built his business by targeting competitive bodybuilder types but, by the time April and I came on board, the fitness industry was changing. Yoga was getting really popular. More people were training for marathons than ever before. Tech trends were encouraging users to track their steps and play video games for exercise. Personal trainers didn’t have to be the beefy guys in the weight room. Fitness enthusiasts who looked more like my sister and me were just as inspirational to clients. Our goal was to help Dad broaden NFPT’s reach, to make room at the table for trainers of all types.
Over our nearly 30 years here, April’s and my biggest accomplishment was making NFPT the third fitness company ever to earn NCCA accreditation. It took five years of strenuous work from the whole team, but we were motivated by our trainer family, who deserved recognition for the hard work and dedication they put in to help their clients reach fitness success.
Things changed when Dad stepped back from the business in 2012, but not by much. April and I continue to be committed to Dad’s vision to help fitness enthusiasts turn their passion into a career. NFPT may be growing as fast as ever, but we’ll always be the family you can rely on. You know that when you call us, you won’t be talking to some call center somewhere. You’ll get help from someone you know.