My Fitness & a Brief History of How I Got to Where I am Now:
Fitness has been a part of my life for a very long time. I went through high school participating in volleyball, cheerleading, and track and field. I loved being on a team and participating in something that would get my blood pumping. When I went on to college, I decided to try out club sports. I did one full season of club volleyball and a few years of flag-football with my sorority team. However, I wanted MORE! I started attending the free classes that my college provided through the fitness center: boxing, HIIT, yoga, and various other moderate-intensity classes. I utilized these classes through the years while not many other students did; sometimes I would be the only person in class, so I basically got free personal training. SCORE!
My favorite classes through my university were the yoga and strength classes. The instructors were knowledgeable and always had modifications for newer participants, as well as more advanced movements for the veterans. This was when I really got interested and contemplated having a career in the fitness industry. I saw these trainers helping their clients better themselves and it gave me motivation to learn more about health and fitness.
That was when Beachbody came into my life. One of my sorority sisters was a BB coach and she knew I had a love for fitness. She invited me to her team and I jumped in, full-force! I loved the programs, the celebrity trainers, and the whole concept; after all, I could make money working-out! Right?! …….Wrong…..
After a year, I had only made a couple hundred dollars and my team wasn’t as supportive as I had hoped they would be. I stuck it out for another year, more because I used the programs and wanted to keep my discount, lol! I FINALLY quit and it took so much pressure off of my head. I know many BB coaches who have made it BIG with this MLM; however, I couldn’t stay focused because I felt like I was pressuring people to buy and I wasn’t making genuine connections. I am a face-to-face person; my relationship-building comes from talking one-on-one, so doing all of my contacting online was not my strong-suite.
Overall, I decided that I didn’t like teaching people programs that I did not design. Instead of coaching through other people’s DVDs, I wanted to coach and train them with MY programs. I purchased a 6-month, on-my-own learning experience through the National Academy of Sports Medicine for my Certified Personal Training certification. I started studying.
My studying for those six months was VERY inconsistently; I would study for a week and then take off a month, then study for a weekend and go strong for a few weeks. For the first few months, this was because I was working as a restaurant manager (my bachelor’s degree is a business degree in International Tourism and Hospitality Management) at a private country club in Florida. They say that you will never work a day in your life if you love what you do – well, I was working 50+ hours a week. I was miserable and hated going to work every day. The only thing that made me happy was going to the gym; before, after, or in-between my shifts at the club. However, with working 50+ hours per week as a manager, and working out whenever I could to blow off steam and stress, I did not have the time to study.
I decided that I wanted to change my career to better mirror my goals in the fitness industry. I received a second job as a Sales Associate at a GNC nearby; working about 15 hours a week on top of my 50+ hours at my restaurant. GNC was one of the first positions I considered picking up within the industry because of the educational aspect that came with the position. As a sales associate at GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, or any other vitamin/supplement store you have to know what you are selling. That means, you are held to a high standard of learning your products. I had some experience with supplements but it wasn’t very extensive or where I wanted to be knowledgeably. I jumped into my training with gusto and learned A LOT while I was working with GNC, but I was DRAINED! I was working too much.
That was when I decided to quit my managerial position with the country club. I picked up another Sales Associate position with an Orangetheory Fitness studio. I worked part-time at GNC and Orangetheory Fitness, about 20 hours at each location. When I originally joined OTF, I was told that I could eventually work my way up to coaching – which, obviously, was my ultimate goal. I told this to my interviewer and I expected that I could start coaching after the six-month mandatory term as a sales associate. I worked at both locations for about three months before Orangetheory brought me on full-time and asked to train me for a managerial position. I took the full-time position, but I told them that I was hesitant about becoming a manager. After all, they knew I wanted to be a coach.
Once I started full-time at OTF, I started looking for a mentor in the fitness industry. I knew that I was way behind learning my CPT requirements and my exam was only a few months away. I wanted some hands-on learning that I knew OTF would not provide to me. That was when I fell upon TrYumph Functional Fitness. I emailed the studio asking about a possible mentor-ship or internship, whichever they had available. I received an email asking me to come in for an interview the next day. I went in and spoke with TrYumph as planned. I spoke with Steven for about 30 minutes while Matt (the owner – though I didn’t know that at the time) was in the background training a client. At the end of our discussion Matt came over and looked at Steven – then they asked when I could start my internship. SCORE! I left on cloud nine. I now had what I needed to become a great trainer – mentors who shared my passion and actually WANTED to help me succeed.
I started my internship the next day and went in four days a week for three months straight, on top of my full-time position at OTF. My schedule was three hours at TrYumph, two hours at the library studying for my CPT exam, and an eight hour shift at OTF – FOUR DAYS A WEEK! Saturday was my full day at OTF and I took Thursdays and Sundays off from both TrYumph and OTF to dedicate to studying (I don’t know how I pulled that one off lol!). After three months my exam was right around the corner.
I went in to TrYumph one morning and Matt sat down with me and he said that he wanted to bring me on full-time as a staff member. My exam was scheduled for the end of April, he wanted me to start full-time May 1st. I was ecstatic. Not only was I ready to start coaching with TrYumph, but I was also ready to leave OTF. I came to find out that I would not be able to become a coach at OTF even if I worked really hard at it. There was a new structuring program that they were rolling out and according to this pyramid, I would not be able to coach until I had been assistant manager for quite some time. Anyway, it was time to leave OTF. I put in my two weeks.
May 1st I started full-time with TrYumph. I am currently working with them and I see a long future with them. Not only is TrYumph the BEST JOB EVER, but it is also the Florida family that I was looking for. Moving from Michigan, I hadn’t had real connections until getting to know the team and clients at TrYumph. I am so grateful for my position because, not only do I get to train and coach our clients on a daily basis, but I also get to do a lot of the business side of the company as well. I have a say in what we do and I get to help our company grow.
Another huge component that TrYumph brought to me, or back to me, is my faith. The owner of TrYumph is a member of the Bridgepoint church out of Saint Petersburg. He invited me to join him and his family at church one day. That was the beginning of me building back up my faith. It had been months since going to church and it felt amazing to have God back in my life, not to mention a team at TrYumph who understood what church and faith means to me. I am happy to say that going to church is now a weekly “must-do” on my to-do list and I love it!
Coaching our members at TrYumph brings me back to my college days, and I think about my trainers from my free college fitness classes. But now, in my vision, I am just like them; I am a coach. I get to help people. I get to motivate and encourage people to become the greatest versions of themselves. I am there on the good days, the bad days, and the days of failure and success. Fitness will now and forever be a part of my life. I am a coach and I will never have to work a day in my life.
Laura Jay Live
Follow this link for more information on my Nutrition History.