Updated: Aug 23
It's 2021 and the fitness industry is undoubtedly booming. In fact, in 2019 the market size of the fitness industry was valued at over $90 billion, with all sorts of fitness trends on the rise. Trends such as fitness tech, wellness programs, studios and gyms. This excludes the healthy food and nutrition industry by the way, that's a whole different world altogether. That said, there's also been a huge increase in social media fitness influencers and coaches who provide personalised and group training programs to people. Becoming a fitness coach is what many enthusiasts aspire to these days. I know of a few people who've told me how they're working towards a certification, and building their Instagram account just so they can grow their profile and coach people. But what's like being a fitness coach and actually training people?
To find out more, I invited a special guest on the podcast. He began his fitness journey at the age of 9, and since has completed over 15 workout programs. With 16 years of training experience, he became a fitness coach to observe and analyse the industry, while helping people achieve their goals. In 2018, he started his own fitness brand titled 'The Lyon Shred' where he offers personalised training programs to members. He then proceeded to graduate from the University of Texas in 2018 and has since then, pursued his passion to continue running his business. I'm pleased to introduce 'Patrick Lyons'.
Finding your purpose
When we think of what we aspire to become both personally and professionally, there's an element of purpose that ties in with our thought process. This is something that changes as we grow up, one that we actively need to contemplate in order to find an answer. It's not as simple as when we were kids, where if someone asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, we'd reply with something that sounded cool. Maybe an astronaut, a chef, a doctor, whatever. Many people say that it's important for us to find our passion, I personally believe it's more important for us to find our purpose.
"I started working out in March 2015, and 3 months later in June was when I first became a fitness coach myself, to help others experience the same transformation that I had. In college, I felt overwhelmed with my classes and academic stuff, along with having to workout in a big gym with other people. 6 months of lethargy got me into the worst shape of my life, I lost muscle and gained some fat as a result. It wasn't until I consulted my own fitness coach, going through a program in the gym and having a community on Facebook to keep me accountable. 90 days of working out, proper nutrition, checking in with my coach and the Facebook group finally helped me feel more confident. It was so empowering and transformative that it led to become a fitness coach. I started experimenting and researching all fitness in and out of the gym. In 2018, I created my own program 'The Lyon Shred' and have been coaching through that ever since."
One thing that I feel is common amongst all successful people, regardless of industry is this element of purpose. Whether it's to do good, to serve other people, to make a lasting change, or even more specific than that. Companies that have their mission and vision statements laid out, have them for a reason. Having a purpose is what drives us forward and keeps us motivated, especially if it's intrinsic and not materialistic based on external rewards.
For example, doing something in the pursuit of wealth or fame may feel motivating initially, and we might even find ourselves putting in the work to get it done. However, there will come a point wherein we would have achieved whatever it is we were after, i.e. wealth and/or fame. What then? What else would we need to stay on our path? The answer is purpose, because no matter what we accomplish, there will always be more for us to do.
Laying the Groundwork
There's a phrase that I came across many years ago that went something like:
"You can't fire a cannon from a canoe."
I found this phrase fairly profound, mainly because of how applicable it seemed to everything in my life. I began asking myself just how important it was to have a strong base and roots, before I began progressing. So often we become fixated with attaining the end goal, that we forget about the journey leading up to it. Us Gen Zs want results as soon as possible, and are willing to forego patience and perseverance to do so. However, this kind of compensation won't do us much good in the long term. Just like a cannon requires a stable base for it to be fired, we need to lay the groundwork in before adding layers and layers on top.
"Before ever launching my program, I had a significant amount of experience just watching people move, but also personally researching and getting a fitness certification to raise my credibility. Throughout that entire journey, I was sharing my story and transformation, workout videos, motivational content, educating people and so on. So before launching my program, people already associated me with fitness. If you think of technology, what's the first and second thought that come to your mind. Same applies to any industry. Since I constantly share these inspirational videos, photos, testimonials and content online, people already associated me with fitness. This helped me lead into helping my brand get clients and customers."
If there's one word you could pick up from that last paragraph, it should be credibility. The internet has made it so easy for us to access information that we have a whole industry full of fitness coaches, trainers and influencers sharing their knowledge. How do we know who to trust? The answer is credibility. Credibility can be built and improved in a number of ways. In Marketing, we like to use customer testimonials as a sure-shot way of convincing prospective customers about the quality of our service. This concept can be applied to various other industries. For example, in fitness, you're more likely to trust someone with a good reputation, good service reviews and customer responses versus someone without them.
Another way of reinforcing credibility is of course, by studying and learning thoroughly about whatever it is you're doing. Not only will this make you more confident in your activity, but it will reflect in your work and surrounded by other people. Whether it's music, arts, comedy, fitness, literature, politics, and so on. Knowledge is power and you can hone in on this by strengthening your foundation about your chosen area of expertise.
Living as a Fitness Coach/Influencer
Fitness models and influencers are everywhere these days. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, TikTok, you name it. We often glance past snapshots of their lives, scrolling down our smartphone screens and internalising a momentary feeling of amazement....maybe even a bit of envy. Each picture or video of a workout, a beach body, a travel vlog, a healthy day of eating, a full day routine gives us a feeling of FOMO about our lives are all so different. But what's it really like living that way? Is it really as glamorous as it seems?
"Being a fitness coach is the single easiest way to hold yourself accountable to your own fitness journey. What's the point of having all the knowledge and information about fitness if you cannot apply it to yourself? In terms of the life as a fitness coach/social media influencer, it is a lot of content creation. I want people to know that I exist every single day. I upload stories each day, posts and videos every single day. This helps retain that process of mindshare where people associate me with fitness. As far as balancing life goes,, I had a direct line of sight towards what I wanted to achieve. I made a distinct choice and prioritised my social life at times as well. I enjoy elements of a social life in the gym too, especially with friends. It's super crucial to maintain that balance, because even though you don't have to work all the time, you do need to put in the work and something has to give. Part of being a health and fitness coach is ensuring proper sleep, nutrition and mental health rather than just training hard in the gym.
Another element of having balance in life, is realising the importance of nutritional freedom. Healthy food often gets misunderstood for being expensive, bland and hard to find, especially amongst university students. However, there are ways to forego those precious cup noodles, takeout pizza and processed foods in exchange for something more wholesome.
Photo by Jimmy Dean on Unsplash
A good rule of thumb is that whenever you go grocery shopping, try staying on the outside aisles as much as possible. These are the aisles that typically have wholefoods such as eggs, meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. The inner aisles are notoriously famous for having the processed foods that'll do you more harm than good. For eg. chocolates, chips, cookies, muffins, doughnuts, sausages, and so on. When you're going out to eat, try opting for the grilled, baked, poached options over the crumbed, deep-fried, crisped ones. Don't go too hard on yourself, but practice moderation.
As far as pricing goes, yes the wholefoods are not going to be as cheap as that pack of Oreos, or those bars of Snickers; but in the long run they'll do you much more good. Part of being a fitness coach is being accountable for your own health, and it all starts with nutrition. For more information on food and produce, check out our article on sustainability and what the health and fitness industry doesn't tell you.
Becoming a fitness coach brings forward more than what you initially sign up for. You become a life coach as well. You learn how to empathise with people and your customers, to assure them that you'll help them achieve their goals. That interaction, the feeling of watching people spark up in delight when they feel healthier and happier, trumps any amount of income or fame your business may generate.
If this is something that sounds like you, start now and don't look back.
I'd like to offer my sincere gratitude to today's guest- Patrick Lyons. Check out:
Patrick's Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/patricklyons/