4 Unexpected Ways to Be a Successful Personal Trainer

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The Rise of Roman Fitness Systems via Hustle, Grind, and Schmooze

As I discussed in my last post, when I began my fitness business, I made a lot of mistakes, but somehow managed to be successful anyway. But I still had a lot of work to do on my way to whatever definition of success I was using—and I still made a number of mistakes along the way.

Of course, I want to share those with you. In fact, I’m going to tell you about my top three mistakes, and then—given the benefit of hindsight—explain what I think I could have done differently. But first:

What I Did Right Without Knowing It

1. I got a job at the gym.

Well, I guess that’s actually backwards.  In point of fact, I started out by working at the front desk of a gym, and from there I became a trainer. However, even after getting certified and making much more money as a trainer (roughly 50 per hour compared to 8 per hour), I still kept the front desk job and worked as many hours as I could. Obviously, part of this was because I figured if I had the free hours, I may as well make 8 bucks as opposed to 0.

But the greater part of this is that I figured out VERY early on that people don’t select trainers based on credentials (unfortunately).  They select trainers for many reasons, ranging from references from a friend to simply the way the trainer looks.

But the one thing that ALL people look for in ANY service-oriented profession is COMFORT.

If people are comfortable with you, they’re more likely to hire you as a trainer.  The more often you interact with people, the faster they get comfortable and the more comfortable they will be.

And as the front desk guy, I interacted with you A LOT.  I was the guy who rang up their water, the guy who gave them a towel, the guy who helped them with billing, the guy who answered if they called.  More importantly, I was the first point of contact; When they walked in, I was there to greet them with a smile.

In short, I was “the face” they associated with the gym.  I was “the gym guy.” Eventually, when they thought of the gym, they thought of me.  Once they saw me training people, they then formed an immediate association with me as a trainer.  When they think of training, they think of me.

If that client was interested in hiring a trainer, who do you think they’d approach?  The random person they’d never spoken to before, or the guy they’d built rapport with?

2. In the beginning, I avoided commercial gyms.

This was mostly by accident, or at least circumstance—there were just none in the area.  Instead, everything around me was a privately owned club.  Instead of dealing with “a company” I was just dealing with an owner. Most commercial gyms will pay trainers like crap.  In some cases, the gym pays the trainer an hourly wage—the client will be charged anywhere from 50-150 bucks, and the trainer will get 25 an hour.  The other popular method of payment is a percentage of your hourly rate.  In this case, a trainer can determine his own dates, and the gym takes a hefty chunk (usually 70%).  You charge 100 and the gym takes 70.  FUCK THAT.

Instead, I worked for a private gym that charged “rent” on a session to session basis—each session you conducted, you paid the gym 10 bucks.  This held true no matter what your rates were.  As an up an coming trainer, I started out at 50 per hour (this was also in 2002) and got to keep 40.

As an aside, this seems like a bad deal for the gym, at least relative to other models, but I think it works out better for all concerned.  When I went on to gym management, this is the model I instituted in my club.

My theory was that if you allow trainers to make more money on their work, you’ll be considered “the best gym to work for/at” by all the trainers in the area.  This means you can be incredibly selective with who you let train at your club, and you can (and should) opt to have only the best trainers work for you.

This means that now not only are trainers looking at you as “the best” because they make the most money, it also very quickly leads to the club developing a reputation for having the best trainers in the area. Your gym becomes a “destination,” you pick up more members, your trainers pick up more clients, and everyone makes more money.

3. I trained people for free.

Let me be clear: I didn’t give free trials or anything like that.  I wasn’t intentionally making a “business move.”  Keep in mind, like most trainers, my goal wasn’t to be a better businessperson, it was to be a better trainer.  The way to do that, I thought, was to train as often as possible. To that end, I would train my friends, some family members, and other guys I met just working out at the gym; I was just trying to hone my craft, but this led to a booming business. In short order, this led to a number of people approaching me to train them.

Part of this, of course, was due to the results these people were getting. But I also realized that the more clients you have, the more clients you’ll get.  Put another way, the more people see you training, the more likely they are to think of you as a trainer—and then, eventually, as their trainer.

If there’s one thing you take away from this post, let it be this: you MUST be seen to be training.  This projects the image of success and makes you attractive to clients.  The thought process is, “if he’s training that many people, he must be good.”

It’s often important to take on free clients at various times of day.  Keep in mind, people are creatures of habit and will usually come to the gym at the same time.  For instance, there’s always the “morning crew” who come in and workout at any time between 6am and 10am.  If you want to pick any of them up as clients, train some people for free around those times. It’s the only way the clients who are ONLY there then will know you exist, let alone consider placing their body and their health in your hands and paying you for the privilege.

The point is, the more often you’re around, the more likely you are to pick up business. I mentioned in my first point that people began to associate me with training.  Part of that was just training as often as possible, often for free.

4. I was intent on becoming the best trainer. 

The best in the gym, the best in the area, the best on Long Island.  I went to seminars, read anything I could and asked questions constantly.  I also surrounded myself with a group of trainers who felt similarly. Interestingly, when I first started training, I was pretty much the only guy working at my gym who cared about being the best or most knowledgeable.  I was also the only one who’d been published in fitness magazines. Soon, trainers would ask ME for advice on their program design ask me for advice.  This trickled into the gym members, and eventually, I was known as the go-to guy if you had a question.

This has an obvious benefit, of course, because credibility really does go a long way, and all other things being equal, people would prefer to work with the best.  This is particularly true when that person is also known to them.


Those are all things I did completely naturally, all by instinct.

To me, none of that was “good business,” it was just “being a good trainer.”  And, in some cases, you’ll get lucky enough that you’re doing both.

To put things in perspective, there’s a quote I really like: Eric Cressey has said that he’s worked with athletes who are successful “not because of what they do, but in spite of what they do.” Essentially, even though they do tons of things “wrong” from a technical standpoint, they just naturally have certain qualities that allow them to be great at what they do.

As I said earlier, I had no great head for business, nor had I had any training in how to run one.

When it comes to marketing, they’ll tell you direct mail campaigns and complicated referral systems.  You’d learn about highly targeted local Facebook ads, and Groupon specials.

Now, notwithstanding the fact that Groupon didn’t yet exist, the entire idea of digital advertising wasn’t even a thought in my mind. I certainly never would have considered sending out mailers. I never did any trials or contests.

I didn’t even have a business card.

However, in spite of all that, I managed not only to survive, but also to thrive.

So, now that I’ve thoroughly convinced you I had no clue what I was doing, let’s go a bit further into how I made money.

To begin with, I had two very distinct advantages working for me when it came to training and both of these led to a successful business.

The first one, and probably the most important, is that I am not afraid to work hard, or for long hours.  I simply have no problem with the grind.  (This can be a benefit and a curse).

Since I had no fear of working hard, or of working long hours, I got into the habit of “working when I wasn’t working.” Which means that even when I wasn’t scheduled at the desk or when I wasn’t training, I was simply there—I hung out at the gym pretty much all day.

Even after I stopped working the front desk (it became impossible to schedule hours), I still stayed at the gym pretty much all day between 8am and 8pm.  Even if I didn’t have clients, I knew that by being visible, and just being present to answer questions or help out with anything that was needed, I’d stay in people’s minds.

Being so present and willing to help also made me an indispensable member of the staff, and the owner of the gym (who ran in some high-end circles) sent a lot of clients my way.  Moreover, he came to realize that he could trust and rely on me, and that led to other opportunities.

So, the fact that I was completely willing to be a workhorse worked in my favor.

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Work it. (Photo: Jared Polin)

The other thing I had working for me was my personality.

Please forgive me for tooting my own horn, but people at the gym loved me.

I helped people with form, gave nutrition advice, listened to people talk about their day.  I fixed equipment if it was broken and made sure the members were happy.  Heck, I helped shovel out their cars in the winter.

I’ll give it to you straight—I know how to schmooze.

And I wasn’t doing it in a cheesy, smarmy way.  I was just being nice, friendly, sometimes flirtatious, gabbing it up.  Gym members would come In during football season JUST to talk sports with me.

As I said, I became the person whose face you thought of when you thought about my gym.  In much the same way, I truly hope that for many of you, when you think about fitness online, you think of me and this blog.

In the Internet Marketing world, people try to achieve this.  Ryan Lee calls it being a “rock star.”  Frank Kern talks about this all the time, and his take on it is playing a surfer and being a “cool dude.”

If you try to do this on purpose, you may come off a bit fake—and I don’t recommend that, and certainly wasn’t doing that.  Instead, I was just being me. I just happen to be really focused on self-improvement, and trying to be as awesome as possible, while treating people well.  That came out.  And I recommend that—just be the most authentic and awesome version of yourself.

It worked for me, anyway.

The gym members loved me and my clients loved me more.  Husbands wanted me to train their wives.  Parents wanted me to train their children.  Half of my clients had a niece or a daughter or a sister they wanted to set me up with.

As you can imagine, this led to epic referrals and client retention, which led to a waitlist 15 people deep at any given point.

The lessons here:

1. Work your tail off. 
To quote Gary Vaynerchuk, this is really #hustle

If you hustle, if you grind, and you actively WANT to be the best trainer in your gym, you’ll eventually be the busiest, whether or not you know anything about running a business.

2. Go the extra mile.
If you go out of your way to deliver value in whatever you do, people will like you and be drawn to you.  And, all other things being equal, people would rather train with someone they like.

3. Play your strengths.
One of the things I noticed when training high level athletes was that many of them are successful not just because of what they do, but in equal measure because of what they ARE.

In other words, they learn early to play their strengths—and, more to the point, they play them without even realizing it.

Whether it was in life, or school, or with women, or in business, I had always operated with an intimate understanding of how to play my strengths, and this has ALWAYS ensured that I’d have an above average level of success.

Play your strengths first; from there, learning about business will help shore up your weaknesses.

Don’t miss the final installment of this series: The 3 Biggest Mistakes I Made Building My Business

I’d like to hear your thoughts.  What are YOUR Strengths, and how do you use them in either your business or everyday life?


About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

Comments for This Entry

  • Zoolander and the Hero's Journey

    […] journey will take him further, but let’s start by applying his general attitude to ourselves. Playing your strengths works well in any endeavor, and therefore should be a large part of the decisions making progress. I […]

    December 8, 2014 at 10:52 am

  • Blue Steel and the Hero’s Journey - Roman Fitness Systems

    [...] Zoolander shows us that if you’re good at something, that should be your focus—not worrying about thing that you are bad at. This has been helpful to me in all aspect of my career, including my in-person training business, as I covered in this post. [...]

    November 13, 2013 at 2:31 am

  • Josh Meyers

    This has helped me a ton. I think bottom lining it all- if you're producing massive value you cannot help but become successful. My struggle is making it a continual effort to be engaging and deliver value constantly

    October 24, 2013 at 1:42 pm

  • Business Loans

    This post is awesome..i've been reading tons of crap posts from other blogs, but shows you have a more educated reader base.

    September 19, 2011 at 1:35 am

  • Franco G

    I´m a true believer in the quality one provides. I also feel a great passion on training people and like you did, I sometimes train some people for free just to help them out on stuff I´d see them do that need some correcting or plain simply because it´s fun to help out people who are willing to do the work and just need a little guidance. One strength I feel I have is that the gym owners where I have my clients rely a lot on me.. I am their "go to" guy.. and that is always nice because if they respect you others will follow. Like others have mentioned, knowledge is power so I try to read as much as possible to try to keep up to date with everything. And above all I am nice with everyone, it´s a shame to see trainers who are not willing to correct someone who is performing an excercise near them and just because they are not their clients.

    August 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm

  • Marie

    I really like the part about you being a naturally awesome person. Everyone's a mirror of what they see, so if you're awesome to them, they'll be awesome back. I'm currently finishing off the first phase of the SHW. I just won medals again in the past weekend's standup paddle races, and I feel STRONG!! Thanks so much for being SUPER and awesome!

    August 25, 2011 at 10:18 pm

  • linda humbert-hale

    Thanks for your honesty and energy. I used to manage a figure salon 40 years ago. Now I homeschool an active 14 yr old son and am happy to love and nurture my 4 grandchildren many hours a week. However old folks want to stay strong and healthy, and prosper too! What do you know about joint deterioration? I have had one hip replaced and am aware of another wanting, plus a few verteabra going too. The medical people assure me no nutritional supplement, or excersize will stop or reverse these circumstances. They say we just ware out. Still I try. What are your successes in this area? Thanks for your inspiration. L

    August 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm

  • Ty

    This is another post that doesn't just make me want to do something, it makes me want to start something big. Keep 'em coming!

    August 22, 2011 at 5:52 pm

  • Kedric

    Hey John,great post, I'm just wondering where did you get your certification from and what would you recommend ?

    August 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm

  • nima

    Hey Roman, I've been following your blogs and articles for sometime now. I find your training tips very informative, contemporary and cool. Thanks for all the circuits you have posted.

    August 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm

  • peakfit

    Hey John, great stuff. As a NYC trainer, I'm curious as to what prompted that move from LI? Also, if you could talk a bit more about how being online is more lucrative? Thanks!

    August 21, 2011 at 4:20 pm

  • Mary

    Excellent post, as usual! Just wondering how you find time to train yourself with such long days???

    August 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm

  • Mateo

    Excellent post as always! I always learn something new or come away with a different perspective on things from your blog. Thanks.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm

  • John Romaniello

    Mainly, to reach--and hopefully help--more people. Sure, there was the general internet entrepreneurial mantra of freeing up time and living a more mobile lifestyle. That's there, certainly. And, yes, I make a bit more money than I did when I was just training. That is, training part time and being online full time is better financially than just training. More than anything, I got online to spread my message to a larger and more diverse audience. Partially I wanted to develop a platform so that I could pursue some other endeavors (like TV and media). However, the largest part of what drew me to the internet was just to help people.

    August 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm

  • Renita

    Thanks for sharing this, Roman. It's an inspiring example of how attitude and heart trumps technique and (business) knowledge. Showing up at 7am even though you don't have clients at 7am -- that's classic acting 'as if'. There are plenty of people out there who are painstakingly implementing every marketing technique but they fall flat because they're not anxious to do everything right and not offend anyone or show their true personality (I've been one of them). It takes courage to be authentic and I think we need role models to show us what authenticity actually looks like (thank goodness for reality TV....;-).

    August 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm

  • Rocky

    So if you we're makin out real good doin what you were doin, then what made you decide to go online with a LLC?

    August 21, 2011 at 10:50 am

  • Patty

    Hey, Roman. I am not a trainer but I have trained with one at a commercial gym. The difference between what the gym charges you for training and what the trainer gets paid is ridiculous! They also don't get paid unless they have a session...not even for filling out fitness "prescription". Because of this, the turnover rate of trainers is high...I am already on my 3rd one is a year. It doesn't instill confidence in the gym for sure. Love your posts....keep it up!

    August 21, 2011 at 7:19 am

  • John Phung

    Even though you did everything without a plan, in the end you derived a workable plan with a LOT of good tips from your experience. I'm sure those looking to be a successful personal trainer can really benefit from this. Man, this post really makes me seriously consider getting back into training (other people that is).

    August 21, 2011 at 6:56 am

  • Richard

    It's been refreshing reading the 2 parts of this series so far, this article in particular is one that I definitely feel I reflect with greatly. I completely agree with many points you make, especially about credentials. I've still got a year until I graduate from my degree, nor do I have a personal training qualification. All I have is the appropriate insurance and a simple coaching qualification which means I can do group (bootcamp) classes. Only in the very first session I ever coached did somebody ask me about what qualifications I have - so long as the results are convincing, credentials are only to impress other professionals. I have one important question with regards to client relationships. Turns out I have a few admirers from clients at work, and as someone who doesn't want to tarnish their professional development but enjoys keeping their options open, what are your thoughts on dealing with clients that present this without loosing the professional relationship?

    August 21, 2011 at 6:05 am

  • Suneet

    Sure Roman I am definitely gonna finish my Engineering degree But I am wondering what to do after that I am from India Personal training jobs here give barely any money I was thinking of moving to US or Canada to get a Masters for a field that will help me flourish my fitness career I intend to use this as a premise to enter US or canada And then get a good ground to start from Is there a better field than Kinesiology that I can look into? And can I study Nutrition side by side?

    August 21, 2011 at 12:21 am

  • Ted

    I think the poster Jules said it well (goal setting, service, gratitude and faith), but what I think what you struggle with is your humanity and how to succeed without sacrificing it in the process. The work ethic may come easily but coordinating it way that doesn't make integrity slave to ambition is tricky. You can go overboard in either direction. Plus, this entire experience has ultimately been a journey and it is supposed to take time and you are supposed to learn things and you are better for having had the experience.

    August 20, 2011 at 9:35 pm

  • Mike

    Roman, very powerful blog!! in simple terms the rewards you get are out of the effort you put in! The drive and commitments clearly shows you were never going to fail whether this is part of your natural make up or business strategy. (part of your make up I think) very impressed, glad to have you aboard in my life. Cheers! I'll raise a dumbell to that!!

    August 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm

  • Paul

    Brilliant post Roman! This is exactly what I was looking for last week when I left my comment. I think you hit the nail on the head this time. Thank you very much. Sorry if it sounded like I was belittling the challenge of setting up an internet business last week. That wasn't my intention. It's just something I have done myself and succeeded with, so I guess it seemed more straight forward to me. I just see so many people struggling in the the non-digital realm and I thought that it would be good for them (myself included) to get a better picture of what you were doing at that time early in your career. Your insights in this post were very keen and you made some wonderful points for anyone who wants to succeed in business in any market. Thanks again and I look forward to next week! :) PS Isn't it crazy to see how many good business moves one can make unconsciously? XD

    August 20, 2011 at 8:16 am

  • Jen

    Thanks for that post Roman! I totally agree with you: The easiest way to get new clients is to just be yourself. Plus, if you try to be someone you're not, people will eventually find out and my bet is you won't be a very happy person pretending to be someone your not. To just be yourself also gives you the advantage that you usually only attract people who "talk the same language". This way you don't have to train people you don't get along with. Jen

    August 20, 2011 at 7:24 am

  • Odhran

    Hi roman great post. I am actually looking to open my own studio in the next few weeks and was considering if I should keep on my part time gym instructor job. I think I defo will as gives me good access to potential clients for PT. Great post thanks again

    August 20, 2011 at 5:36 am

  • Bobby

    Hey Roman, great post! Would you reccomend being a trainer part time? Is it worth it, if I most likely wont have alot of time to work at it. I want to do something in buisness, but being a trainer seems like a fun job too. How far on education would you reccomend going for being a trainer part time.

    August 20, 2011 at 2:59 am

  • xena

    OMG!!! So glad I read this blog of yours Roro(yeah we tight like that lol)! Because it reminds me to step up my game asap and get back in the swing of things I once was in.. You see back in the day I worked as a membership sales consultant at a big commercial healthclub. And even though I'v always been working out,even before I worked there, it was at that place I totally fell in love with fitness and the dynamic surrounding it.. I mean I was like you..the female version then lol, working my official hours but still being in the gym because I also worked out there..I became the best people always brought other people to me(referral gallore! lol) And eventhough I was not a trainer people would also come to me for advice on working out!! I chit chat/flirt with everybody because of my nature,lol but also I was totally feeling comfortable there and peeps notice was like I knew everybody and everybody knew me..The gym was also my home away from home..I loved it..Still do but do circumstances things got souer with the enter of a new manager..but thats agent history and so not important anymore.. I'm ready to get back and THEN SOME!!! :) Now I want to work as cscs(back then I could not see myself doing this yet for some reason..) and eventually having my own business in this field... Could you imagine the possibilities when I get back in that enviroment??? I can't wait to help as much people as I can...just because I love it..And I also not just want to be a trainer but the BEST..And eventually my own company off and online...;) Thank you for this great reminder and motivation! Rock on!

    August 20, 2011 at 1:19 am

  • Jules

    Wow! Roman ... you unknowingly practiced the most important principles for success. 1. A clear and focused goal that you were committed to. 2. SERVICE ... you helped others achieve their dreams and goals and therefore yours also manifested itself. 3. Gratitude ... as evidenced by your willingness to accept the 8 dollars and hour and your generosity in wanting everyone to make money. 4. Faith ... you were unwavering in your quest and did not give up in spite of everything you may have done wrong. Bravo! :)

    August 20, 2011 at 12:13 am

  • Ylwa

    I've expereinced both the good and bad about working for a larger fitness chain, much of it you've already pointed out. I think that one should not reject the idea of working for a larger chain, especially as a new trainer. Sure, the share of what you get to keep is less, naturally, but there are often other big advantages, the biggest one being education. Surely this this can vary greatly from place to place Over the course of my first year as a new trainer working for the biggest chain in the country(Sweden) I've had the opportunity to attend educations that would have cost me thousands of dollars to pay out of pocket. More so, I believe that it adds credential to your resume. Of course there are great private gym's with a fantastic reputation, you're all the proof one need. But in terms of marketing, big names often comes with a great amount of credibility which I believe can be a great help to get the ball rolling.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:05 pm

  • peter b martin

    I sent £50 to you,via your site,and have not received a rceipt,or any indication what i will be getting for this fee?

    August 19, 2011 at 8:04 pm

  • Matt Kittoe

    Awesome. I'm currently taking Eric Cressey's advice and spending a lot of time reading books and articles, watching dvds, etc. Trying to learn everything I possibly can and working on transforming my body into a god-like state before I even think about getting certified. I always wondered about your journey to awesomeness, and this certainly answered a lot of my questions. Thanks bro.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm

  • Chris Bickley

    Love these articles. It just so happens that over the last few weeks, i have been thinking of training to be a personal trainer, doing a home study course while working my full time job. I could easily stay in my current job which has helped me buy my own flat (live by myself) but i want a qualification, and fitness is something i have a fair bit of knowledge about anyway, and is a passion of mine. I also have a similiar story to John as far as growing up a chubby kid. Doctors found that my liver tests were not quite right (too high), so after numerous tests, doctors couldn't find out was wrong. The last resort was to lose weight. I lost 85 pounds after leaving school as a result and have been a fitness freak ever since. I now want to give back some of what i have learned. You are an idol John and these articles have just wetted my appetite even more to get into this industry. Thanks John.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm

  • Sparhawk

    I'm starting out in a commercial gym. It's the best gym in my area and I love it there. I literally started two weeks ago but have yet to get a client. I've got ads in football programs (2 high schools and 1 college) and two radio spots per the college game. I've asked a couple of gym members if they want free training just so I can be seen, and I'm thinking of going to the local community clolleges (2 of them) to hang up fliers. Am I going about this the right way? It's killing me to not have clients (even though I'm literally just starting). I am also going to a seminar in October and plan on doing more once I get a little income coming in. I read all the blogs and articles I can and take notes (been doing that for awhile). What else can I do to get better and get my name out there?

    August 19, 2011 at 1:24 pm

  • Tom

    HI Roman- Thanks for all the great blogs & videos of new exercises.My question is on what certification for a PT do you recommend?? I see sooo many associations (ISSA,NASM). Thanks, Tom

    August 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm

  • Eric J

    As a newby trainer, I'm always looking for input on how to be as successful as possible. I'm about 6 or 7 months in now and I've learned a lot. Thanks for all the tips :)

    August 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm

  • Mike

    Solid post Roman, just like Pt 1. Can't wait for Pt 3. How do you handle travel? Pass the clients off to a trusted friend or leave it up to them to play by big boy rules and do it on their own? Also, how do you handle a qualified, prospective client who can only fit into a time slot that you already have occupied with something else (other cliet, writing, free time etc.)? Take care man, maybe I'll run into you again at another event.

    August 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm

  • John Romaniello

    Thanks, Josef! Always appreciate the love down in Oz!

    August 19, 2011 at 11:52 am

  • John Romaniello

    Great question! I tested it both ways. In the end, I did wind up charging rent for free sessions, which I found encouraged trainers to put more into the free sessions and pick up more clients as a result

    August 19, 2011 at 11:51 am

  • John Romaniello

    Kinesiology won't necessarily guarantee you success. Further, it's not necessary to be a good trainer. My advice would be to finish you engineering course work, then look into training after.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:49 am

  • John Romaniello

    EXCELLENT way to put it. Good shit =) Thank you!

    August 19, 2011 at 11:47 am

  • John Romaniello

    Thanks, Cheryl! Glad I'm feeling more real!

    August 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

  • John Romaniello

    I can understand that completely. May I ask what industry you were involved in?

    August 19, 2011 at 11:44 am

  • John Romaniello

    Haha I'm not sure if I'd experience the fan base explosion if I abandoned the Jets =) But, you're right when you say that the fact that you've in other peoples shoes, so to speak, will help you a lot. You'll be able to both sympathize and empathize, so you can connect in the best way possible.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:43 am

  • John Romaniello

    Thank you, my friend. I can't tell you how much that means to me.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:40 am

  • John Romaniello

    Thanks so much, Tom. I agree - I think as long as you're honest and as long as you try to help people, you're ahead of the game.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:38 am

  • John Romaniello

    Glad you liked it =) And yeah, that video is great. One of my favorites!

    August 19, 2011 at 11:35 am

  • John Romaniello

    Pick your free clients carefully. It's really important to pick people who will value what you're offering them despite the fact that they're not paying.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:34 am

  • John Romaniello

    Excellent man. Just #hustle and #grind. I'm excited to hear about your success.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:32 am

  • John Romaniello

    It absolutely is just a matter of time, man. Just give your best info, be your best self and in time you'll pick up lots of people because you're being awesome.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:31 am

  • John Romaniello

    Ha! Interestingly, it's true. I had several female clients who wanted to set me up with sisters or cousins. As you might expect, none of my male clients wanted to set me up with their family ;)

    August 19, 2011 at 11:30 am

  • Andrew

    Good shit Roman, getting my fired up to hustle through today!

    August 19, 2011 at 9:17 am

  • Rachel

    Another flipping awesome blog, Roman. Also loved the random video about the dude doing blow in the urinal ... after telling you not to use artificial sweetener. I was laughing so hard....

    August 19, 2011 at 9:07 am

  • Erik

    Great post! I think you've made some good points and I agree about the importance of working hard and putting in some effort. That can also be a curse though and can end up with 12-hour days, weekends etc. I've experienced it myself and don't recommend it. When you are past the first phase and have built a solid base of clients and a good local reputation you have to value yourself and your time higher. Not necessarily as in charging more but more of trying to make your clients fit your desirable schedule instead of the opposit. So if you have a couple of new clients on the way in then they have to take what's left in your calendar instead of making your days longer or adding work days. So 6 am or sundays are no no, weekdays afternoon perfect. At least that's how I would do it now based on my past bad experiences. Keep up the good work!

    August 19, 2011 at 4:52 am

  • Tom Mortensen

    Hi Roman, the fact that you like people in general and like to connect with them is obvious from your blog. And I guess we have all met people like yourself; they are the ones always eager to help and give advice, and this is the one quality you cannot buy or acquire from others. It must come naturally. That said, I totally agree with your statement: Be your honest self, and don't be afraid to connect with people and give a little something of yourself, the rewards will be great! Excellent blog post!

    August 19, 2011 at 4:08 am

  • Tina

    I agree with you 100%. I started at the bottom and ened up at the top just because I loved what I did and worked well with people. Unfortunately, the job became too much and I wasn't coping with the stress so I resigned to a less hectic life (obviously with a severe financial restriction as well).

    August 19, 2011 at 3:32 am

  • Ted

    Your best blog post ever. A direct, thoughtful response to questions on your last blog with less than a week turnaround and not a single plug to be seen. This is why I never miss a post (a thought I'm sure I share with many others). Mad respect. I am also convinced that you are the best businessman on the face of the planet. It is sincerely nice to have proof that one can have such incredible success without ever losing the ability to connect with their readers.

    August 19, 2011 at 12:17 am

  • Will Levy

    Good post man. Eerily similar to my journey in the industry thus far. The moral: The cream rises to the top.

    August 19, 2011 at 12:17 am

  • Suneet

    Hey Roman My name is Suneet.Im 21 years old and from Mumbai,India I am in a similar situation that you were in all those years ago Im currently in my final year of my Engineering degree I really dont have any interest in working in this field and I was considering doing my Masters in Kinesiology in Canada but recently I read that it is a useless degree.All of this is so confusing! Can you help me out with some advice on how I should go about this Or if you suggest a different path Fitness is my life and there is nothing more I would love to do than be a professional in the fitness industry Anxiously awaiting your response - Suneet

    August 18, 2011 at 10:29 pm

  • Rob Sulaver

    Solid post Roman. But COME ON!!! Did someone REALLY want to set you up with their sister!? I don't buy it. Even for a second.

    August 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm

  • Cheri

    Nice blog. This is the first time you have felt real to me and not just relentlessly promoting yourself and your product.

    August 18, 2011 at 9:49 pm

  • Rick

    Quick question John, in your model at the gym you ran, you said you let trainers train people for free. My question is, did you charge them "rent" when they were training for free as well or only when they were bringing in income as a trainer?

    August 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm

  • Josef

    Great post Roman. Thanks as always. Josef (Sydney, OZ)

    August 18, 2011 at 6:46 pm

  • RJ

    My greatest strength for everyday that gets used in everyday life is the genuineness of my kindness, which everyone can realize right away. People like talking to me, because I care and actually listen. I'm sure this could be extended to a virtue for trainers as well. Another one that would be beneficial if I were a trainer is that I'm a nutrition student and so many people automatically assume that I'm healthy and know a lot about fitness and nutrition (which I think I do :P)

    August 18, 2011 at 6:40 pm

  • Mike Whitfield

    Great post Roman (and great insight)! Can you imagine how big your fan base would be if you weren't a Jets fan? (totally kidding man). I would say my strength as a trainer is that I have been in people's shoes. I was once almost 300 lbs (I now weigh 184). I know about the hard work- I once held 5 jobs while I built my client base. One thing I've learned is the importance of relationships We have to look at our clients as people, and not just "clients". I've made some great friends as a trainer as a result of that approach. Remember that crazy video you did with the Ben and Jerry's ice cream?... I have no doubts that people connected with that and realized "hey, I can live a little bit and still lose weight". That video was hilarious - but I bet money it helped a LOT of people! I would say that's a strength of yours - you're just being you. Awesome post man, Mike

    August 18, 2011 at 5:26 pm

  • Jared Todd

    I'm looking at getting into the skill development side of basketball training, and this advice is really helpful. I really like the idea of taking on a select few at first for free, just to get out in the open and be seen. Thanks!

    August 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm

  • jason

    Great content again Roman! Love your writing style! I am doing some of these things now and I like to think I am also funny and handsome so I am clearly on the right track ;) I try to give maximum value to clients and friends and those I talk to at the gym, guess it is just a matter of time for me now!

    August 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm

  • Vaclav Gregor

    Great Post John. It is interesting that you weren't focusing on being successful as a businessman, but rather the trainer. However, to me that is what seems to be the reason why you succeed. Every other trainer was just focusing on making more money, while you wanted your clients to have realy results. Anyway, keep up great work. Looking forward to your next articles. Greg

    August 18, 2011 at 4:08 pm

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