Meet Michael Duivis

Meet Michael Duivis

Posted on 23. Jun, 2012 by in Marketing Fitness

This is a fun way my friend and coaching client Michael Duivis connects with his prospects and clients. In my opinion everyone fitness business owner should have one of these in their business. Notice how Michael has made the old “let me tell you about me” model real fun and entertaining. He even makes fun of himself on the poster.

I challenge you to do the same for your business. People don’t care about what you do til they know WHY you’re doing it.

“For the first 21 years of my life I was chubby. I had this amazing skill of mixing bad foods all together. Like chocolate ice cream with chocolate sprinkles, syrup, and Hershey bars all in one bowl.

I grew up in Amsterdam, and I’m pretty sure that if it wasn’t for the daily soccer games, I would have been one big kid. So in a way the active European lifestyle prevented me from getting out of control. But on the other hand, I never realized the effect my nutrition had on my body.

Now everything was great in the Netherlands, but I felt there was more opportunity in America, so at the age of 18 I decided that I wanted to move to USA. But first I had to finish my degree in Aerospace Engineering in Amsterdam.
And during this study, in the summer of 2004, I did an internship in the city of Loxley, Alabama.

Everything went good, until Hurricane Ivan came over Alabama and totally destroyed the company I was supposed to do my internship at. So all of a sudden I had absolutely NOTHING to do for 5 months straight.

I started working out a LOT, and I started reading all sorts of books.

One of the books I picked up was “The ABS-Diet” by Men’s Health.
I remember reading the entire book from start to finish on the first time around. Mind you I had been out of shape all my life, so I was completely fascinated by it. And right after finishing it I started following their plan to the ‘t’.
More interval cardio training, Eating more often, Less carbs at night, etc, etc.

I saw results within weeks, and since this was the first time in my life I ever saw ANYTHING happen from my workouts & nutrition… I got excited.
My dream had always been (ever since I was a little kid) to go to the beach and have a 6-pack. And now that I was getting fit for the first time in my life, I got EXTREMELY motivated to take it all the way.
And I did. I remember one day looking at my reflection in the mirror and seeing abs.

It was one of those moments where I literally rubbed my eyes out of disbelief, but after standing there (staring…) for 5 minutes – I realized that this was for real. And now that I MADE it… I vowed to myself I was NEVER going back to my old ways.
(My old ways of being lethargic, lazy, sleepy, tired, eating nachos, drinking soda, etc)

So to make a long story short – I flew back to Amsterdam after my internship.. graduated.. and moved to USA to live the American dream as an Aerospace Engineer.
Little did I know that I was going to absolutely hate my first job. I could not STAND being in a cubicle 9 hours a day. The only good part was that I got to wear a tie every day. But that was it.
Until one day when I was called into my boss’ office where I was given a notice of termination. I got laid off… which turned out to be a blessing in disguise if I look back now.

Because the very next day I started looking online for other engineering jobs… But in the back of my mind I really did not WANT to go back to a cubicle again. And secretly… very much in the back of my head (when nobody was looking) I started flirting with the idea of becoming… a Personal Trainer (!)

By that time fitness was my absolute passion. And if I could make a career out of it… well… that would be awesome!
So without telling my Mom (she was still in Europe at the time), I applied to all the major health clubs in the LA area. I did this on a Saturday.

That following Monday I got hired at a big chain health club in Downey (the one with the red logo). They gave me a red shirt, a nametag, and they told me I was to start the next day.
I guess I was excited, but I had NO idea what I was doing. However, I knew I wanted to make this happen, so I simply went out ‘on the floor’ to talk to people and maybe pick up some clients.
The first 3 months I failed miserably at pretty much everything I did there. I had never trained anyone in my life, so I knew I had to get good FAST if I wanted to make this happen. And it wasn’t until I got myself certified by the best companies out there (NASM, AFAA, and ACE) that things started working out.

Soon enough I started training 10 hours/day, and slowly but surely I built up quite a client base that kept me VERY busy.
I had made it a ‘career’… but, I still wasn’t happy. Because it was such a high-pressure sales environment, where every month it was all about the ‘numbers’, I felt like it was a dead-end situation. Plus, there I was, training all those people – 60-minute one-on-one sessions – and I felt that even if I
was booked to the MAX, I would still only help 15 people each month.

That’s why in the winter of 2008, I quit the health club and decided to do my own thing.

It all started with 2 clients that followed me from the gym.. 2 pairs of dumbbells in my trunk.. and an exercise ball that I had to inflate with a foot pump every time we started training.

And again, for the first 6 months I made every mistake that I could possibly make..
I remember the very first session I did was in a local park. The grass was wet, there was dog poo, the restrooms were locked, my exercise ball kept rolling down the hill, and the entire session only lasted 11 minutes because the park ranger said I needed a permit.

So I started advertising online for ‘at-home-personal training’ and even though I did get some clients, it was impossible to train more than 3-4 a day.
This was all until the early summer of 2009.

I figured if I could just put more people together per session, and STILL deliver the quality of a personal training session – I could charge much less and help WAY more people in the process.
So I decided to do something different. I scrambled together all the money I had, and started renting a little gymnastics place in Bell Gardens where I could do ‘bootcamps’ from.

This place was smelly.. there were holes in the floor.. there was dust everywhere.. and sometimes we had to share the floor with little kid gymnasts.

But this is where it all started.

I knew I was at a disadvantage because of my location, but I just KNEW that if I could create that unique training experience where every single person gets appreciated to the fullest, I could make it work.

And it did! Later that year I had 11 people in my workout program, and from there on I slowly started getting referrals. And more referrals. And more. Until we eventually outgrew the facility, and I once again saved up all my money… and moved into this facility you are standing in right now.

And now that we’re here – I have to say that I truly feel I’m living my dream. Not a day goes by without pinching myself to believe this is all happening. My vision is that we add 100 people to the wall of fame and get 1,000 people in awesome shape… every single year. So if you’re still reading this post by now, it’s time to walk through that hallway and kick some butt! I’ll see you on the floor =)

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