THE “BUSINESS” OF PERSONAL TRAINING: TALKING TO KELLI CALABRESE ABOUT GETTING SERIOUS IN FITNESS (listen to the in-depth audio of our conversation – new updated audio)

Posted on 14. Nov, 2008 by in Fitness Marketing Strategies, Marketing Fitness, Personal Trainer Marketing, Personal Trainer Sales Systems

Didn’t we just finish talking about how Personal Training wasn’t a business?!?!

Yeah, but we’re going to shift gears and get down to BUSINESS – we’re going to talk about getting serious about fitness!

Even though this blog is about passion and lifestyle, at a certain point you’ve got to make a decision: “Are you going to be a player, or are you going to keep riding the bench?”

I got the chance to pick the brain of a lady that’s made a career of kicking trainers in the pants and reminding them to wake-up – Kelli Calabrese.

She’s someone I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for – Kelli’s one of the top trainers and educators in the training industry who lives and breathes this thing. There’s really nothing about the business of training that she hasn’t done or experienced.

I’d like to tell you all about her industry qualifications, but that would turn this into probably my all-time-longest blog post and give me carpal tunnel’s to write, so instead you can find out for yourself at one of her sites right here: Kelli Calabrese Argyle Fitness Bootcamp (it’s also a wonderful example of how to market yourself and present your stats no matter what level you’re at as a trainer).

Looking at her resume almost makes you want to quit the business, huh?!?! But it’s clear she’s someone you’ve got to pay attention to.

So without further ado, here’s the link to the audio of our conversation:

> Kelli Calabrese Interview Audio

I’m sure listening to that clip got you thinking critically about your career. I know it did when I was talking to her.

But of course when it comes to starting a business, there’s a balance. I’m always telling trainers NOT to get too caught up in the business aspect of Personal Training in the beginning.

That’s because this business has a lot of potential at just the entry level, before you get yourself bogged down with too many business oriented tasks (major marketing, paying employees, complicated accounting, a business plan). You don’t have to think about too much business related stuff when your goal is to assemble a handful of clients you like to train and that pay you a high income.

That’s more of a personal project.

It’s built on the basics of self-discipline, competence, relationships, and mastery of your specific base of knowledge. If you noticed, that’s a lot of what Kellie was talking about.

It’s after that phase that starting a business comes into play. It’s after you have cash flow, connections, and belief in yourself. Training allows you to achieve that while you’re still at the entry level.

We’re talking about being an independent Personal Trainer of course, not slaving at a healthclub – if you haven’t dumped the gym yet, I’d get on that ASAP!

You hear this advice of developing your success characteristics along with your business from every success and financial guru out there.

A lot of people put the cart before the horse though. They start looking for investors on projects and pitching major business ideas before they’ve learned how to create value and please a single customer.

I spun my wheels for years with that kind of thinking, so don’t make the same mistake.

But once you start to achieve success on a small level, that’s when things start rolling. Look at any major success story out there, from Jay-Z to Rachel Ray, and you’ll see them parlaying a minor but still noteworthy first success into much bigger things (they both did it baking pies, incidentally!).

And it takes commitment. That’s what you see when you look at the a career of someone like Kelli – it’s the cumulative effect of action over time.

Like Kelli mentioned, she’s got several consulting projects for personal trainers that you can find out about at

It’s fun to meet a real pro in this business isn’t it? Through Kelli’s example, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more!


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17. Nov, 2008

Great post man – you’re right Kelly’s got a lot of qualifications in fitness and seems to be doing a lot!

But tell me if I’m wrong – aren’t you usually talking about a different route for trainers? That we should get out and offer are services instead of “jumping through hoops” like you talk about?

In any case I liked the new perspective and love to find out about other people succeeding at training – it’s changed my whole idea about this field and my career – thanks and keep up the good work!


20. Nov, 2008

Hey Manny – yeah I understand your question – the blueprint hasn’t changed – it’s just that in Kelly’s case you see the result of consistent action over time – after a while, it becomes such a dominant resume that it becomes overwhelming and success is practically guaranteed.

People in other professions are used to thinking about and advancing their careers in this way – trainers often don’t and that’s why I wanted to get Kelly on here –

But by all means, offer your services as aggressively as possible – at the same time continue to rack up accomplishments, and keep note of them – soon you’ll have a really impressive CV too!


23. Nov, 2008

Ok I think I got it now – it’s what you always talk about – don’t wait, but keeping working hard on building your credibility – thanks man!


27. Nov, 2008

What, no one besides Manny had a comment on this thing? Do you guys even listen to the audio?!?!

Alexander Morentin

29. Nov, 2008

Kelly is definitely the queen of our industry.
She associates with the best of the best, including Phil Kaplan.

I think this audio is especially valuable for a trainer who is just starting out. Valuable advice.

Thanks Kaiser. I’m new to your blog and am liking it a lot.

Peace. :)


30. Nov, 2008

Welcome aboard Alex – thanks for the feedback –

Yeah Kelly is certainly the real deal and she’s done it all – you can’t go wrong listening to her –

Doug Murphy

30. Nov, 2008

Hey Kaiser,

Had to laugh when I read your comment asking if anyone besides Manny had listened to the audio. It was a great interview, but I suspect the reason you didn’t have more comments on this post is due to the time of year. I can’t speak for everybody else, but I know that between a busy training schedule, holidays and holiday parties, friends and family, and end of year tasks, I fall behind on things this time of year. So don’t be surprised if you see some late comments on some of these posts!


30. Nov, 2008

HAHA – yeah – and you know what? In reading other blogs, I’ve noticed I kind of skip long audio – if everyone else has web ADHD like me, they’re probably doing the same thing – in the future I’ll put up the transcripts –

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