As I approach my final day at my current job it occured to me that I hadn’t talked about it nearly as much as I wanted to. I have been working as a full time personal trainer over at a multi-tenant campus gym. The company I work for is Active Wellness. This was my first job out of college and I could not have found a better place to grow as a person, and in my career.
As a personal trainer in college I knew I had a couple of routes I could go. I could become another trainer at one of those big chain gyms, go independent, or find my way into the corporate side. I knew I was not ready to be an independent trainer as I didn’t have a social media presence or enough connections. I didn’t want to go to a franchise gym, because it felt too much like the sales job I had worked in college. The corporate route seemed safe and interesting. I had two goals in mind, continue to grow as a person and turn my name into its own brand. I needed a safe, supportive place to grow and I found it. I didn’t have any expectations for this job. I thought I would just keep my head down, work hard, and go my own way. That was not the case though, as I found out.
What I did
I was hired on as a lifestyle coordinator. This meant I was more than a personal trainer. I manned the front desk, taught group exercise, trained clients, stocked towels, created quarterly weight loss programs, and performed general maintenance where I could. I grew as a personal trainer and as an instructor. I learned how little I liked teaching some classes like spin. I learned that I couldn’t recycle the same dad jokes to my group exercise classes each week (I still did anyways). I learned how to connect with people in a group setting and how to make them feel comfortable even if they were a beginner. I improved upon my interpersonal skills. This was good for me, I needed to get a taste for things other than personal training. Doing a little bit of everything is the best way to find out what you truly like and dislike.
What I Enjoyed Most
I enjoyed the people the most. Starting with my co-workers who took a personal interest in my development, cared about my personal life in a way I didn’t know I needed, and heard out ALL of my crazy business ideas (there were a lot). It wasn’t just them though, there was a campus of 3,000 employees who I came to know. Without them I wouldn’t have grown as much as I did or stayed as long as I had. Coming out of college I had a very narrow view of the world, I hadn’t traveled much outside the country and didn’t get to experience other cultures besides my own. College didn’t prepare me for the real world as much as it was supposed to have. Since the companies that were on my campus were international, I had an endless supply of diverse ideas, personalities, and experiences. I never spent so much time asking people questions about life. I must have asked each member the same 5 questions:
- What brought you here?
- Where did you come from?
- What is your dream job?
- What would you do if you were my age again?
- If you could run at 100 mph or fly at 5 mph which would you choose? (my personal favorite question).
Everyone knows something you don’t know, this thought has been stuck in my head as long as I can remember. Even though I hadn’t experienced much in life, I could learn from others. This is why I enjoyed personal training the most. It gave me one on one time with clients to pick their brains. I would get to see them for who they were outside of the office. They didn’t have a title when they came to me, they were just themselves. They had life stresses and opinions you wouldn’t feel comfortable bringing up in the office. I would be responsible for distracting them from the world for a little bit. This is when I realized what my passion was, it was human connection. Training was and still is the best means I have of doing that.
Why I left
I have a strong belief that this is the only chance we get at life. I don’t want to become comfortable in life, not yet at least. I don’t want to work 9 to 5 and wait for the weekend to come around, only to spend it on Netflix or going out. This job was still far from that but I could see how I could get stuck at a job like this. This job became so easy, enjoyable, and fun. I could have spent the rest of my 20’s here and been completely content. The pay was good enough to allow me to live in an apartment right in the center of Austin. I was living my dream but quickly realized my want for more hadn’t changed. If I wanted real change I had to go off on my own and create it. So I made a promise to myself to develop an exit strategy. Developing a social media presence was the first step, an audience would be crucial for my success. I didn’t want to be just another social media influencer though, I had so much more to offer than that. A website was my next step and is my current priority. Personal training would still be my career, it is the best way I can influence people and is still one of my greatest pleasures. I found a studio I could train out of and developed my own LLC. I am now my own business entity. Really though, if it weren’t for being raised by an entrepreneur mom I don’t think I would be taking this risk. She has laid the foundation and set the biggest example for me.
I will be training my own clients out of HEAT Bootcamp on South 1st street. The website will continue to be a top priority. Finding ways to bring more information to my readers and making fitness more realistic. There is so much I have planned in my head it’s hard to focus on one at a time… slowly I hope you will see everything unravel itself until it makes sense. I want to be so much more than a personal trainer though. I want to be an author, a world traveler, a product owner, and a life coach. Finding ways to make people as happy and optimistic as I am all the time will always be the goal. So I hope you stick with me for the ride and enjoy the process.
My Advice to You
Do what makes you happy. If you’re not happy at your current job find a side hustle. Develop an audience and make connections in your community. It will involve sacrifice. It will mean not going out on the weekends, not wasting time on TV shows, not wasting time browsing Facebook. You will lose some friends, you won’t have time to care for every single person. This was the hardest challenge for me. Coming out of college I had a list of over 30 people I was going to stay in contact with every single month. That list has quickly fallen to a handful. Find some mentors in life. Reach out to those who have done what you want to do and ask for help, people will help. Someone once told me that “progress becomes passion”. Find something to get lost in, find something to work towards. You will develop passion along the way.