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When and why did you become a Personal Trainer?
I became a personal trainer in September of 1996. I was heavily involved with athletics as a child and played collegiate baseball. Staying active is still very important to me. I started working out with my dad when I was 13 and fell in love with the gym. I saw the benefits of what exercise did for me both physically and mentally. I knew very quickly I wanted to help others change their lives through fitness. I got my degree from the University of Nevada in Fitness Management and started my career with 24 Hour Fitness as a personal trainer. They gave me my start without any experience other than my education background and my athletic experience. I spent 19 years with 24 Hour Fitness where I moved up in the company as a Fitness Manager for over 14 years and a Club Manager for over 2 years. My fitness career has now changed directions and I’m now personal training at Anytime Fitness in Sparks, Nevada.
I wanted a career where I could truly impact others around me and the community that I lived in. I wanted to educate others on the benefits of fitness in hopes that those individuals would spread their passion onto others, whether it’s a friend, co-worker or family member. Fitness is contagious and I wanted to see the people I came into contact with and the people that I helped, pass that passion onto others.
If I can help just one person and that person can do the same, then we can truly make a huge impact on the communities we serve. I take a lot of pride in what I do and I’m constantly learning and researching every day to be better and have more knowledge than the day before. I learned very early that if we learn something new each day, then soon we will be masters of our craft. I do that and live by that. I want to know as much as I can on fitness, so I can be the best trainer I can be for my clients and do the best job I can on answering their questions. If I don’t know the answer, I will find out. Knowledge is power! I center my personal training on three things, Education, Fun and Delivering Results!
I want my clients to learn a wellness program that encompasses all aspects of fitness from learning safe techniques, periodization of training, variety of exercises, core training, flexibility, cardio, improving postural deviations and healthy eating habits. I want to open their eyes so they can see that our bodies are powerful and we can do so much with our bodies. We just have to enable ourselves to succeed. I want my clients to take the tools I teach them and be able to take them off their tool belts and use them for the rest of their lives. I want to make fitness a lifestyle and a life practice. I want to help clients do things they have never done before or do things again they haven’t been able to do for years. I build value in my service and I build trusting relationships with my clients. Trust and rapport are very important in our business. I want my clients to look forward to our sessions and their workouts and know every session that I’m going to go above and beyond to make that experience memorable!
What are some adjectives your clients would use to describe you?
Patient, Focused, Attentive, Motivating, Energized, Prepared, Inspiring, Accountable, Committed, Passionate, Dedicated, Professional, Engaged, Driven, Compassionate and a Slave Driver (in a good way!!!!)
What made you choose the IFPA?
I got certified through NASM and heard by other fitness professionals that IFPA was a great organization. So I made the decision to get certified through IFPA. I was very impressed with the Personal Training Certification Course. There were some concepts in Anatomy and Physiology that in College I didn’t fully grasp, but IFPA made it simple for me to understand. I was very impressed and I’m now going to take the next step and take the Advanced Personal Training Certification to keep expanding my knowledge and growth in the field.
How do you keep your clients motivated?
First of all, I find out what my clients really want! What is driving them to change, what are the real reasons they are in front of me? I do an extensive goal assessment, then explain what I am going to do and what my services include. I am very honest and set realistic and tangible goals that can be accomplished in a certain time period. I make fitness fun and design their programs around exercises and movements that they like. I like to use all types of equipment especially smash balls, medicine balls, stability balls, TRX and battle ropes. Most of my clients like variety. These types of equipment are typically new to them and make it fun, refreshing and exciting. Make things fun or else they won’t come back. I push them safely within their limitations and exercise level. I am always changing up their programs to keep them engaged and keep them getting results. I know if I don’t deliver results quickly, they will lose motivation.
I meet with clients at the beginning of each session to see how their program is going, how they felt from last session and how their workouts are going on their own, as well as, answering any questions right then and there. I ask how their nutrition is going. My clients log their food intake in a journal or use an online nutrition application that I review weekly and provide suggestions when necessary. I give my clients educational topics when necessary because again, education and knowledge is power. I always ask my clients how they feel that day and how their energy levels are that day. I make any adjustments necessary based on how they are feeling.
I put together a monthly calendar at the beginning of every month that contains the days they are working with me and the days that they are working out on their own. I always give my clients copies of all our workouts so they have their plan when they come in on their own. I hold my clients accountable to staying on track weekly and if they miss a workout, they must make it up that week or another day or do a double day. I hold my clients accountable to a certain number of workouts per week and they are responsibly for hitting that number or exceeding it. I also have my clients establish monthly goals, both cosmetic and something personal or something they want to improve on for that month. At the end of the month, we do weight, body fat and measurements to track progress and to make sure we hit their personal goals. I tailor that months workouts to make sure that if they stick to their plan, we will be successful at the end of the month. I found that this tool helps keep my clients accountable and consistent. I keep one calendar in their client folder and they get one to take home and follow. My clients know that I am here for them and that I always have an open door to be here for them. We have a mutual understanding and we are able to communicate with each other. I always make sure they are happy with what I am doing and always there to listen to make any changes to keep them happy and on track.
What is your best success story?
I have been in this business for over 19 years and have helped a lot of people lose from 10 pounds to over 100 pounds. I have helped clients put on muscle and increase strength as well as recover from injuries and increase functional mobility and have a better quality of life. I think my best successful story was a client of mine who was in his mid-40’s on blood pressure medication. He told me he wanted to get in shape and lost weight to change his way of living so he wouldn’t have to go on anymore medication. His doctor told him, he would be on his blood pressure medication for the rest of his life. We got going on a path of fitness and got his weight down, lowered his blood pressure and changed his eating habits. One day his doctor came to the gym and asked for me at the front desk. He didn’t know me at all and he introduced himself to me and said thanks for the help I gave to his patient who no longer has to take blood pressure medication. He made the trip to the gym just to tell me that and he was not even a member. That was pretty awesome!
What qualities set you apart from other personal trainers? Education? Experience?
Education is important. It gives a personal trainer a great platform for success. Also having over 19 years of experience helps and having the experience of managing personal trainers and running a fitness department has given me a lot of knowledge I am grateful for. But I feel that my passion for what I do and the willingness to be open minded and wanting to learn as much as I can in this field is what sets me apart. We work in a field that is constantly evolving and changing. This is what makes what we do so much fun! I learn something new every week. If I do that, I know that I will and can be a master in my field and I can be the best trainer possible for my clients. I am very patient. I listen to my clients. I develop a connection and build rapport and value in my service. I am professional. I go the extra step to education my clients. I have developed a calendar that holds my clients accountable and keeps them on point and on a path of success. It keeps my clients consistent which is my number 1 rule in fitness.
How do you envision growing your personal training business?
I have been with Anytime Fitness in Sparks, Nevada for about six months now. When I came here, I only had a couple of clients that followed me from my last position. I had to get my business ramped up as quickly as possible. The owner of my gym and I put together a flier and market board, introducing me to the club. We put a signup sheet for any member interested in going through a consultation with me. I had a huge response! My business went from nothing to being fully booked in less than two months. Just from two things: setting up a board offering my serve and making myself available to members by walking the floor and saying hi! I now have a full schedule. I also offer group classes which has been a great way to help more people with limited time. I am looking at expanding my time to put more group classes together. I make myself available whenever possible to talk to my members. In my 19 years in this business, I have learned some simple ways to attract business. The biggest thing is to be personable and available. Get to know your members. I want to make sure that if they ever have a question about their fitness, that I am the one they approach. I know that my members will approach me and not another trainer that they don’t have a connection with or someone they don’t know. I always ask for referrals when possible. I have clients that help build my business for me. I have members approach me regarding personal training because they know of someone that I am currently or have worked with in the past. These are all simple tools that work very well.
What is your best advice to someone just starting in the business?
Be willing to learn and be open minded. Learn something new each day or each week. Make yourself a master of your craft. Be personable. Be compassionate. Be a great listener. Make sure that your passion drips like sweat. Make fitness fun. Challenge your clients safely. Educate your clients each session so they learn something new. Be available for your clients. Don’t be a used car salesman. Develop a connection and build rapport. Make your clients value your service. Make fitness a life practice and lifestyle change. Understand you can’t help everyone you meet or work with. Help the ones that want help and do whatever you can to help the ones that are struggling. Go the extra mile. Remember if you help just one person and that person helps one person and so on, then we are doing what we all want and that is making fitness contagious!
Name: Jeff Matthew
IFPA Certifications: IFPA Personal Trainer Certification
Location: Reno, Nevada
Phone: (775) 846-9465