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Jean-Sebastien Fabre

What made you choose a career in personal fitness training?

Exercise and specifically running did so much for me. It was one very important way to manage my depression. I felt strongly that I had to share that and help others.

How long have you been a Personal Trainer?

I started in 2012, a little bit after I moved from France to the US.

What made you choose the IFPA?

At the time I was working as a Sales Manager for Lifestyle Family Fitness (bought by LA Fitness) with the firm intention to become a certified trainer. A few PT of our staff were IFPA certified and told me positive things about it. I did my homework and realized it was rated as one of the top US organizations and one of the very few NCCA accredited. I pulled the trigger and never regretted it!

If you have taken more than our PFT course, what has been your favorite certification course?

Weight Management Instructor has been my favorite so far. I liked it for its practical dimension which is much more useful than a straight academical course.

What are some adjectives your clients would use to describe you?                    

Passionate, enthusiastic, encouraging, knowledgeable and mean, very mean.

What qualities set you apart from other personal trainers?  Education, experience?

My experience in competitive running. In my opinion most of the US trainers don’t place the proper amount of importance on cardio. This component is as essential as resistance training and should be managed and supervised by the fitness professional which is very rarely the case. There is as much science behind cardio training as there is behind resistance training. Big mistakes can be made, and optimization requires a lot of knowledge. I emphasize and really coach on cardio.

What aspect of personal fitness training do you like most?

I love seeing my clients improve and discover what they are capable of.

What is your best success story?

The client that I am the proudest of is a teenager named Gabrielle who was 12 when she started training. Other than the fact that she lost 35 pounds, what I enjoyed the most was to witness and encourage the development of her mindset. Gabrielle viewed exercise as a punishment initially, but it then became a tool to achieve her body transformation and now a way to express herself. From appearing to be miserable and a little negative, I saw an individual with big potential opening up. She is now a great wrestling athlete.

How has the PFT business changed since you started? 

I see more diversity in the trainer’s profile. I think the big dude trainer cliché tends to be less prominent than a few years ago and that is a good thing.

How do you envision growing your personal training business?

I am fortunate to currently have a full schedule of clients and my stream of referrals always compensates for the natural turnover in the business. The next step will be to open my own gym. I envision the gym as a sizeable hybrid facility offering PT, group training and individual memberships.

What was the hardest challenge you had to overcome in your personal training career?      

I always try to offer variety in my exercise program. Despite my efforts, occasionally a trainee does not respond positively to anything I have to offer. I learned in a few cases to admit that I as the trainer or the gym in general is not the proper fit. It is a difficult option but sometimes necessary to orientate someone to a different type of physical activity.

What is your best advice to someone just starting their career as a personal trainer?

You can be the best trainer but without a good marketing plan, you are setting yourself up for failure. Target your market and work on establishing a good local presence online. Invest time and energy to collect and publish testimonials on your social media sites. Be prepared to financially struggle the first year while you are building your business.