This is an addition to My Journey, to let you know how my fitness business has evolved and how it is ever changing in terms of working towards a ‘movement mission’ of mine.
Some of you just tuning in to this website may not know of my fitness journey and how I didn’t have a history working in the field. I recently had a radio interview talking about this, but it was very short. So I thought I’d say a little more about that here. Below are some key points addressing my and the background of my business:
What I do nowadays
These days, I run an online and in-person fitness business called, MyFP50Trainer. MyFP50Trainer offers one-on-one and small-group Personal Training sessions, online and/or in the privacy of ones’ home or private gym. The online sessions are held via video and/or social media platforms or applications, such as, Skype, Facetime, Facebook Video and various smartphone fitness apps.
As a certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, I design customized fitness programs based on client’s individual needs and goals. I do this by establishing baseline fitness through assessments. These assessments tell me the current status of one’s health, which further helps the client achieve their desired fitness goals. From there we work together to establish those goals, all the while, working along a functional-health-fitness continuum, to ensure they are receiving a safe, effective program that works specifically for them.
Background of myself and the business
Although my business officially started in March of 2013 when I became certified as a Personal Trainer, I didn’t start training clients until the end of the same year. So, I continued to work full time in the field of Imports and Logistics, as I had done for the past 26 plus years. I had no no prior working history in the fitness industry, although I always had a passion for it, especially given my family history with obesity and other chronic health issues. So at that time, I was sitting at a desk for long hours and then I would go home and work more into the wee hours of the night, only to repeat that every day. At the office, it was indeed a very hectic and fast-paced environment. It was my job to coordinate and expedite apparel product from various parts of the world into the commerce of the U.S. I was busy and seemingly always on call; needless to say, this certainly took a toll on my health.
I began studying for the ACE PT exam in 2012, not really thinking too far ahead about it turning into a business. I just said to myself that I would ‘play it by ear’. If I failed the test, I would forget the whole idea. If I passed, then, well, I would take it as a sign that this could actually be my calling in life. Needless to say, I passed and this is what steered me towards the fitness path and allowed me to take steps forward. BUT I didn’t make any significant moves until one day when….
—something happened at work that really upset me. I felt so overwhelmed and stressed that I couldn’t hold my feelings in anymore. And something possessed me to pick up the telephone and call my supervisor. It’s difficult to remember exactly what I said, because I may have been rambling at that point, but I do recall saying one thing, and that was, “I can’t do this anymore”. I guess that was my mic moment, because that statement was met with utter silence, so I just continued by talking more about my previously unspoken plans to change careers. And I further mentioned that I was holding back because I wasn’t financially prepared to do that right away. So I wanted to phase out of my full-time position to part-time, planning to eventually leave the business altogether. So, when I got home that night, I asked myself a variety of questions, including, ‘What were you thinking?”, “Are you out of your mind?” and “How are you going to pay your bills on part-time income?”. I couldn’t answer any of those questions logically, and I knew there was no turning back at that point. And once I finished hyperventilating, I realized that the words came out of my mouth for a reason. I knew at that moment, that I had done the right thing, and I decided to follow my instinct and just go with the flow.
And so, fast forward a little, I began working part-time in March 2014, while building my PT business, and I started to get some clients too. Co-workers even took my Group Fitness Classes after work. It was great! My employer actually told me that I could take as much time as I needed to phase into my new career, since I was a valued-long time employee (8+ years at that point). They valued my expertise and commitment to the company all these years. And that they wanted me to work in some capacity for the long-term, to continue to be a part of the ‘family’. Well, I was ecstatic about that, thrilled in fact. I felt wonderful that I was so needed and valued. And I knew that I was fully capable of doing both jobs without compromising my quality of work. Unfortunately, the phase-out process happened a lot quicker than that, because one day I was simply and quite matter-of-factly told that my services were no longer needed. And so, whether I was ready or not, I had to dive full force into the fitness business. As of December 2015, I was officially out of imports and catapulted my way to my dream job of being a fitness trainer.
And it was scary at times, especially when bills were due and I had to figure out how to make ends meet. But somehow things worked out……
In the meantime, in order to maintain my credentials, I had to continue taking the required Continuing Education Credit (CECs) courses, through various certifications and specialization courses, including becoming a Beachbody Insanity Instructor (2014) and a certified as a Group Fitness Instructor (2015). (I’ve since let my BB cert expire, but I do have a separate Boot Camp certificate. I also decided to go back to school to pursue a Master’s Degree in Sports and Health Sciences (enrolled in December 2013). (By the way, it took me 3 years and many-a-sleepless nights, but I finally graduated in February of 2016 with honors. (Some have said that I was crazy to do something like that, so late in life, especially because of the high cost of education these days. And I might be slightly inclined to agree with them, considering the student loan repayment scars I bear today to prove them right. lol). But, all kidding aside, I never regretted the decision to go back to school. I think it’s important to diversify ourselves, and constantly keep our brains and bodies active. )
Needless to say, making ends meet was challenging, if not impossible at this point. I couldn’t do that with the few clients I had. I also wanted practical experience working at a gym, so I applied for a job at a popular local gym as a Personal Trainer, and I worked there for 8 months. During that time, I also became certified to teach ESL (English As a Second Language). So at that point, I had all of my bases covered. I just needed a little time to get my feet wet. When I was ready to go out on my own and split my time between teaching ESL and Fitness, I made the break from the gym—and the rest is history.
Where am I today?
Today, I specialize in a variety of disciplines, including, Core Training, Senior Fitness training, Pre and Post-Natal Fitness, Post-Orthopedic Exercise Programming and most recently, Functional Fitness Training. I have a regular client base of 5-10 individuals, 2-3X per week both in-person and online. I also teach ESL online and in person anywhere from 15-20 plus hours per week, as my schedule allows. As you know, education is important to me, so I am always looking to learn something new. Next on my list is to get a Kickboxing or MMA specialty. I’m also very interested in the emerging sciences and the impact on public health. So don’t be surprised to learn that I am back in school working on another degree one of these days.
I guess one could say that I’m always working. But it certainly doesn’t feel like work, if you ask me. I am truly blessed and wouldn’t think of going back to a desk job, if I could help it.
What inspired me to pursue fitness as a profession
So, as I mentioned, I was working in a sedentary job for many years. This certainly took a toll on my health. But I was always passionate about fitness, because, of my family history with overweight, obesity and chronic illness and disease, such as, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. As a child and into my adult years, I was overweight and struggled with yo-yo dieting and weight loss. My brother also left this earth way too young (42) because his heart gave out on him during a hospital procedure, and he was ill most of his life. My mom passed away at a very young age, 67, and she had her ‘first’ of several strokes and heart attacks in her forties. This did severe damage to her mind and health, and when she died, her immune system couldn’t even fight off a basic cold, which is what ultimately led to her death. My father is still alive today, but he has his share of health problems too.
The bottom line is that I knew that I was headed down the same path with my health, and I didn’t want that to happen to me. I could see and feel the signs of declining health, albeit gradual. I was gaining weight again and not eating right, feeling lethargic and depressed. I went to work every day feeling angry and resentful and came home at night feeling the same way. And, although I made it a point to go the gym regularly, it wasn’t enough. I needed a change–I know I needed to do something, I just didn’t know what or how to go about it.
It was about this time that I came across a personal trainer at the gym. I noted his unorthodox ways of working with the clients and how well he seemed to connect with them. I took one of his classes and really liked that he talked to us about the ‘behavior change component’ of getting fit. And so I decided to train with him. He literally changed my life. He put me on the right track in a different way than I’d seen other trainers do. He taught me about accountability and behavior change. I think that if I didn’t change my ways then, I probably would not be here today, and may well have followed the path that my family history dictated I should.
So, fast forward a little bit, once I gained control of my own health and fitness status, and realized that I could actually maintain it, that’s when the proverbial light bulb went off. This was about the end of 2012, when I had this epiphany of sorts. I realized that this was my calling and I knew at that moment, that I wanted to help people find their way back to better health and fitness, the same way that I was able to do for myself. So, that’s when I decided that I wanted to be a personal trainer (in my mind, at least). I didn’t mention it to anyone, because I wasn’t sure that I could actually do it. So, I did some research and found ACE, picked up a PT manual and started studying for the test, and took it from there, as previously mentioned.
What does the future hold?
Well my goals are ever changing but always based around continuing my ‘mission of movement’, as I like to call it.My mission statement is: Movement is magic to the mind, body and soul’. This statement speaks volumes in that we must be physically active every single day in some type of way, to enjoy quality and quantity of life. So this is my future–making sure that I spread this message.
I also want to open up my own fitness studio, one in which focuses on movement patterns and functional fitness. So you will likely not see typical gym equipment there. But the studio is not the be-all-end all of this. As I said. wherever my movement mission takes me, that’s totally cool with me.
Believe it or not, although I value repeat business as much as anyone would, my personal goal in all of this, is not so much to keep a client for life; but to help my client realize the importance of making healthful, permanent lifestyle changes, and to stress the ‘physical activity component’ in all of it. I design programs that they can work into their daily lives, so when I’m not around anymore, they can continue. In fact, I often joke with my clients about us not being together forever, and that one day, they will tell me ‘Beverly, I love you, but I don’t need you anymore’.
More about my “Movement Mission”
Friends and family know all too well that I’m not one to sit still for very long. I probably get that restlessness frommy father. But there’s even more to it than just family traits or tendencies. Even when I’m teaching ESL classes, I don’t sit. I always try to keep moving in some way. I am a personal testament to the health benefits of keeping active, moving every day, in some type of way. I often have this image in my mind of the grim reaper following me, not so far behind, just waiting for me to sit still and take me down. I won’t have it! I refuse to let my genetic map alter my route, because that’s all it is. It’s a map, but I don’t have to follow the path. I choose not to follow its’ path.
One thing I have not spoken much about, that I need to bring up now, and that is my personal struggle and battle with chronic pain. As I mentioned earlier, my health started declining when I was about 49 years old. And it got progressively worse over time. There were physical, emotional and physiological manifestations that affected my ability to function. One of the health issues that have gotten worse over the years is the episodes of peripheral neuropathy, chronic fatigue and pain. I have seen specialists about the problem and I won’t go into the long story behind that. But I can tell you this: physical activity keeps the pain at bay. It’s never gone for good, and it rears it’s ugly head at very inconvenient times. I have had to make many changes in my life, including my diet. But the one constant that seems to mitigate the pain, is the ‘movement’. And so, my movement mission, or my mission to spread the word about the magic of movement, is based on my personal experience. I can truly say that keeping active has kept me feeling at my best. ‘That best’ is subject to how I’m feeling on that particular day. But it is ‘my best’ and I own it. And this is not to say, that I never have a day when I don’t want to exercise. Because that would be a lie. I can say that, when I succumb to my pain, it only makes me feel worse. So I fight the desire to stay still and I get up…..and I move. And that’s what I’m here to tell you. We have to get up every day, and move, in some type of way. Because our bodies were meant to move and movement is magic!
Thank you for reading my story and learning about my movement mission. Happy Fitness, everyone!