This is the second in a series of interviews with fitness professionals from around the world. It is my hope that through these interviews I can connect readers with one of these outstanding coaches. – MTC
Bryan Jackson, San Diego, CA, USA.
Bryan is an NASM and NESTA certified personal trainer and power lifting coach with 24 Hour Fitness for 1 year and 6 months. His specializations include Corrective Exercise, Performance Enhancement, Powerlifting and TRX Suspension training. In his spare time he competes in local,state and national powerlifting events.
I stopped drinking,quit smoking, dropped 70lbs (32kg) in 7 months, lost 17.5% bodyfat and reversed my bodies diabetic trend.
Hello Bryan, could please share what events led you towards becoming a personal trainer? In 2011 I had a near death experience due to my health. I weighed 230lbs(105kg) and was at 33% body fat. I had high blood pressure and was close to being a Type 2 Diabetic. My condition put my health and position in the U.S. Navy in jeopardy and I knew I had to make a change. Through the Navy Fitness Education Program I stopped drinking,quit smoking, dropped 70lbs (32kg) in 7 months, lost 17.5% bodyfat and reversed my bodies diabetic trend. I now maintain a healthy lifestyle through a balanced nutrition program, a 6-day resistance training regimen and progressive cardiovascular training.
What skills should be considered “essential” for helping a new trainer succeed in a commercial gym? Sales and customer service skills are what will make or break you at a commercial gym. It doesn’t matter how many certifications you have, if you cannot talk to people you’re not going to make it.
How can I make myself the “go to” trainer in my gym? You can make yourself the “go-to” trainer by not being the guy/gal sitting behind the desk waiting for someone to come up and ask for training. You have to be proactive and engage the gym members; even the folks you might think won’t purchase training. You have to find our what you’re specifically good at and then perfect it to the best of your ability. Also, you could just tell people what you do. Offer them some advice or tips, but don’t let this go. The next time you see them as them how it went. Trust me, if it was eye-opening , or even had the slightest difference in their performance in the gym they will find you and tell you about it. Congratulations, you now have a new fan in the gym.
What can I do to retain the clients I have? The simple answer is to make training fun and without too much exercise confusion. Most clients aren’t training to be a physique competitor, bodybuilder, power lifter or an Olympic weight lifter, they just want to look good naked, feel better and not break their hip when they fall.
What would you have done differently in your first year as a trainer if given a chance to turn back time? I would have approached everyone on the floor, whether I thought they needed help or not. That’s the biggest thing in a commercial gym. I approached folks who I thought wanted training or looked like the didn’t know what they were doing. The truth is the folks who either had been there for years, or were looking for some type of advice may have felt neglected. Truth is I’ve had folks who looked like they were in the best shape of their life approach me on the floor more than the folks I thought might need my help.
What’s been your favorite client success story so far? I have a current client who has lost more than 35lbs (16kg) and he is still going. He’s been training with me since February and is going very strong.
What are your future professional goals? I’m currently in school studying kinesiology. I would like to one day open up my own powerlifting gym and work with populations struggling with Type 2 Diabetes and provide preventive care through exercise.
Bryan is currently offering small group training for 3-5 people per group focusing in high-intensity interval training using strength equipment and body weight. You can contact Bryan at the East H. St. Bonita Branch of 24 Hour Fitness at (619) 656-0018