I was never healthy in high school nor did I care about fitness. I had a gym class, but nothing worth boasting about. I think I slept through most of it. I was attending a community college and working in retail with no plan for my life.
Like most of us. Living without a plan.
After, putting in long hours at this retail store and burning my brain cells with college papers, I met someone unexpectedly. No, not my love life, but a new love for my life.
Enter same-age mentor. Yes, you can have a mentor regardless of their age.
A co-worker/best friend at this retail store received news of moving out of his parent’s house because this person needed a roommate. Shortly after, they moved in together and I would always go to their house.
This guy went to the same high school as me, but we didn’t talk much. I knew he was into fitness. He was from a different clique than me so we didn’t hang out. (sounds so high school cliche now)
After being around this guy here and there, I asked him for help with my fitness needs. I was envious of him.
He agreed to let me train with him. He snuck me into this gym, so I didn’t have to pay for a few months, and the changes I began to notice were incredible. Within 6 months, I went from 130 pounds to 165 pounds. Some may say that weight gain is incredible, and I agree! I was accused of using steroids by friends. I was proud to hear that.
But what the biggest changes were my psychological changes. I didn’t even notice it until I reflected some few years back.
Looking back, I noticed how the micromanagement of my life started to take shape. But how does fitness change your micromanagement? The answer is simple. PLANNING.
I began to make goals of my own weight, PR’s, reps, etc. Better yet, I started tracking it.
Looking at the new wins week-by-week, my confidence started to grow. I started to strive for more at school by increasing my course load. Here is my best win in all of this- I quit my job in retail that was draining me of my positive energy.
With this booming confidence, I went to the owner of the fitness center and told her I was going to work there. She told me no! over and over again. But I didn’t give up and went there every day for 3 weeks until she told me yes.
Enter large milestone- Persistence to get the things I wanted. This is huge in business.
I became so excited about my changes for myself that I wanted to help others do it as well. I was working the front desk part-time and couldn’t afford a personal training certification, so I asked my parents for a small loan. Reluctantly agreeing, I pushed through it and became a certified trainer. Business terms-loan, deadline, project management.
Here I am with the cliche personal trainer look about 6 months into my new career. This was my new marketing material and I put it everywhere.
My first client was an inspiring woman named Rosalind. I read about what good personal training rates were, but I couldn’t sell it to her. I was too fresh and too green. I negotiated the prices with her and thus learned something about negotiation and knowing your own value. I could always undercut all of the other trainers in the facility and bring in more business but I settled for roughly 10-20% below the industry standard because of my lack of experience.
Long story short, I prevailed. I failed and I learned.
I became better, year by year, and stayed there as a trainer for almost 5 years. I learned so much about myself as I began to grow my skills in business and personally.
My clientele list became bigger and bigger as my name grew and they stayed with me longer. Rosalind left and came back several times and I was always happy to see her although we were restarting every time.
To me- resetting goals can be important too.
Taxes started to change for me. I remember one month, I have taxed a few thousand dollars and thought something was wrong. I was now at the point where I reached a new tax bracket and it hurt.
Marketing yourself and branding yourself. This was an important business lesson. I don’t know where I learned it, but I went full force.
I was young and hungry to grow my presence in the local fitness industry. I spent a lot of money on marketing myself. I wrote a blog, made t-shirts, shaker bottles, wristbands, etc. The mistakes I made, were not measuring the return on investment (ROI). So, therefore, I was probably in a huge hole when it came to my expenses and revenue/balance sheet.
What I did right was free marketing.
Here I am training a group of Army Reservists for a weekend of training. I did this for free.
Having these pictures and exposure to this was important for building my brand and credibility. The entire fitness center saw me training these guys for 8 hours a day. This was a huge public relations move for me. I didn’t even know what doors it would unlock for me and I thought it was just being a good citizen.
The summary- I was young and soaking up everything I could about the industry. I worked full time and went to college full time. I was able to pay for my entire college tuition by working for myself at the same time. I look at my peers with thousands of dollars in loans and appreciate the route I took.
If I were to have stayed in that career, I would have done very well.
Make mistakes, have failures, but learn from them and grow.