When you’re a Personal Trainer, venturing outside of the comfort zone of a home base is a little scary. That’s probably one of the reasons why more trainers don’t make the jump into starting their own practices – because they don’t have a solid place to train their clients out of.
I got to talking to a trainer recently that’s solved that problem for the trainers in his city and built a tremendous business in the process: Billy Polson. Billy’s the co-owner of DIAKADI BODY, a serious training gym in San Francisco. Check out the virtual tour and you’ll notice that it’s a fully stocked and exquisitely designed place – a real trainer’s paradise. Incidentally, DIAKADI stands for Do It All, Kick Ass Doing Do It – not such a PC name which is what I love about it. From talking to Billy, I found out that not only his gym’s name but a lot of his approach to training breaks the mold of the usual mindset we see these days.
Not just a gym owner, Billy’s a tremendous trainer in his own right. He’s been in this industry for just a short time (about 8 years) and already has accomplished some amazing things like being named one of Men’s Journal Top 100 Trainer’s In America, along with numerous other accolades for him and his gym. His story is an example to every trainer about what’s possible to achieve in a career you’re passionate about, and he gives a lot of great advice for new trainers in the audio clips I’ve attached.
The gym Billy’s created is real unique as well. For those of you that have ever been to a training gym, there’s often a lot of egos to deal with in these environments. But what he’s tried to do is create a positive place, where you can train your clients in an environment conducive to excellence. He describes a special synergy that’s achieved here, with trainers supporting each other and collaborating on client cases. It’s been a real success with over 75 independent in-house trainers. That fact alone should show everyone how viable going solo can be, and will definitely earn Billy a pass into Trainer Heaven …
Diakadi Body has also gotten tons of media attention (from lesser media sources than the one you’re reading right now): it was named The Top Personal Trainers Gym by City Search in 2006 and 2007 and The Best Place To Get Fit by San Francisco Magazine 2007. The space itself is 9,000 sq ft with a huge variety of training equipment ranging from free weights and power lifting platforms to a section of astro-turf for speed and agility work to every ball, board and tube in the book. Billy told me that his goal was to design a top notch training facility that inspires and challenges all levels of clients and trainers alike. This isn’t the typical market-driven business model we see in the fitness industry; it’s one built more toward filling an important need and providing a necessary outlet.
This first clip covers Billy’s start in training, which is pretty interesting: how his career in the computer industry was slowly taken over by his passion for fitness:
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In this clip Billy talks about his approach to training, which is driven by his experiences as an active athlete. This was real refreshing for me to hear; he really got around the rhetoric we’re hearing these days, looking to impose more educational requirements on trainers, and got to the heart of what makes a great trainer:
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And here Billy delivers some killer real-world information for Personal Trainers on how to get started in the business. Again, he suggests more of a hands-on, organic approach – a kind of apprenticeship and experience driven approach that you’ll never hear but is right on point: [youtube asId0mbGlxw&feature=related nolink]
It’s obvious from the set-up of Billy’s business that he’s a new school type of trainer. He’s not afraid to talk about training like it really is, and he’s looking out for other trainers which is really commendable. Billy knows that training in Health Clubs is a very weak option, and he’s sought to create better one. And beyond that he’s proof that you don’t need to follow the same blueprint as everyone else – you can make your own.