Whats up trainers and train-ettes …
Today I’ve got a killer article for you – probably the best piece of free fitness business building content you’ll see in while …
Whether you’re an independent trainer, studio owner, or you run your own bootcamps, there’s something good for you here.
It’s an interview with my friend Cynthia Conde (this one’s long, so you may want to put your phone on silent for a little while).
In case you don’t know who Cynthia is, she’s best known today for the Bridal Bootcamp reality show (which she just told me was renewed for another TWO seasons).
But beyond that, shes’s just a hard working trainer that worked her way up from hustling in private gyms to what you’d have to consider the top of this business.
(I guess owning a chain gyms would be the top of the business, but in terms of being an indepenent trainer, a reality show running for three seasons is about as good as it gets.)
Unlike other reality TV stars, she wasn’t a wannabe actress that got a hook up from her agent. Any day of the week, you can find here hard at work running her training business, or opening up the new studio THE FITNESS LOFT out here in Long Island, New York.
That’s just a little background – below, you’ll notice that we went very in depth with her in this interview, so if you didn’t know who she was before, you certainly will now.
But that’s not why this one’s important – it’s more important because of what YOU can get from it. Because like I mentioned, Cynthia is about as in-the-trenches you’ll see a celebrity trainer get, and there are tons of lessons here on how she established herself, built her business, and then took it the next level.
She’s one of those people that really shows us that anything’s possible for anyone in this business.
This interview was originally recorded as part of a new high-end fitness business series I’m putting together called THE FIT-BIZ MASTERMIND (you can expect to hear more about that from me in a couple of weeks).
When recording it, I tried a new recording service and the quality was pretty bad. But that’s fine, because since I recorded this, I’ve decided to change up the MASTERMIND considerably. You can expect the future interviews to be about two hours. They’ll go in depth into career building, income, and high level business strategies, so I’m really looking forward to bringing that to you.
You’ll get a sneak peak at the format here – I’ve got a ton of great content for you.
NOTE: In keeping up with the feedback on her show, I’ve noticed that some people have been saying she was too muscular for it. People don’t realize that even on reality TV, she had a role to play, and that’s why she bulked up for the show. But to make sure the world gets a balanced look at her, I’ve included a lot of attractive photo shoot pictures I have of her from the projects I’ve done with her. I’ve included them here so Google picks them up, and the world can see a different side of her than the tough hard-core trainer we see on TV.
Without further ado … get your pen an paper out, shut the door, and put your phone on silent – here’s the interview:
Super-Trainer.com Exclusive Interview With Cynthia Conde
Super-Trainer Editor Kaiser Serajuddin and Bridal Bootcamp Host Cynthia Conde
Full Transcript From the FIT-BIZ MASTERMIND
Kaiser Serajuddin: Hi, this is Kaiser on the Fit-Biz Mastermind, this is where I talk to fitness industry superstars to get you real world info you can use right now to make more money and get more freedom out of your fitness business. Today, my guest is probably the hottest name in fitness right now. She’s the star of the TV show Bridal Bootcamp and it’s none other than Cynthia Conde. Cynthia, Welcome.
Cynthia Conde: Thank you Kaiser, thanks for having me.
Kaiser: It’s my pleasure and what did you think of that intro, that was pretty neat right?
Cynthia: I know, that’s the reason why I can’t talk, I’m like “Wow! That’s such a great intro” I’m like really, thank you I’m very flattered.
Kaiser: Yeah, I think I missed my calling… If Larry King was out of a job, I’d try out for that.
Cynthia: I think you’d make a great voiceover actor for sure.
Kaiser: There we go, so anyway you know you’ve been up to a lot of really neat stuff lately and I want to talk to you about that, about your training business, your training studio, basically how you’ve come up in this business. But, I think the first thing that we need to get out of the way, right away, something that’s probably on everybody’s mind is your show. It seems like every time I turnaround or turn on the TV, I’m hearing something new about it, so on your end, what’s the response been like.
Cynthia: Honestly the response has been, it’s been amazing. I mean, I’ve done so many national radio tours and TV appearances. Next week, I’m scheduled to be on Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, and Don Imus in the Morning. It’s been amazing. I got contacted by Muscle & Fitness and Oxygen, and they want to do a spread on me, so it’s awesome, it’s been amazing.
Kaiser: Yeah, that makes total sense because I’ve been even a little shocked at just how much publicity this show’s been getting. I general, we’re used to these shows being on the airwaves and there is a new one that seems to be coming out every few days but this has take on a new life of its own. Has your life changed in any way because of the show, your life or your business?
Cynthia: You know to be honest with you, my life hasn’t changed much, I mean I’m still very driven, still very passionate about the industry, and I’m very focused on my gym business. The only thing that has changed is maybe more doors have opened and there have been more opportunities. Which obviously I’m just out there and I’m viewing them because this goes around once in your lifetime if it ever does and I just want to be able to jump on every opportunity that I have. So yeah. But, my life hasn’t changed that drastically. You know it’s season one, so I know that’s season two.
Kaiser: Oh, is there talk of a season two?
Cynthia: There is, we’re just waiting on the ratings and I should be hearing something shortly.
Kaiser: All right, all right, that sounds simple. That sounds real good. Now, in general, like I told you, I’ve been hearing a lot of stuff about the show, but not all of it’s been glowing reviews. Some of it’s been controversial in some ways. People talking about whether you’ve gone too far and in general things like that. Have you had to field any questions on that or have you faced any flak on your end?
Cynthia: I have; I mean, there’ve been a couple of controversial topics regarding the show. One of them being “were the girls being pushed too hard”? The show is called Bridal Bootcamp, and it’s a program that I designed based on the US Marine Corps. It’s supposed to be tough. The girls chose to be there, so there are many girls who we had to turn away because obviously we only had a certain amount of slots. So, they have to just suck it up and do the work, I mean it’s bootcamp, but they are competing for their dream wedding. So, that has been some controversy. There’s also been a little controversy on my size, that maybe I was a little bit too muscular on the show, but the beauty about…
Kaiser: Controversy on that?
Cynthia: There was a little controversy about that, I mean the producers wanted me to bulk up a little bit, you know bulk up a little bit and the beauty about that is that as trainers, as professionals, we know how to change our physique. So, if we want to cut up, if we want to bulk up, we know what we have to do through nutrition and training how to achieve that look. So, that’s just been one of the two things I’ve heard so far was whether we were pushing the girls too far with respect to the training techniques. The girls the first day, the first week there, I had all the girls do a cleanse, and a lot of the girls… Two weeks prior I told all the girls to eliminate sugar and caffeine from their diets because we were doing the cleanse, the cleanse of the first week there. A lot of the girls didn’t, one girl was drinking two liters of soda everyday and she just stopped cold turkey.
So that, combined with the diet, combined with the training, combined with the cleanse; a lot of the girls were just going into toxic overload, and as you guys saw in the first season, or not the first season the first episode, the girls were like vomiting some girls were vomiting, another girl had an episode of diarrhea, choke.
So, that’s the flak that I’ve been getting, but again the reality is that this is bootcamp and you were told to prepare before you started filming, and you’re competing for your dream wedding, so there you go.
Kaiser: Yeah. How much of that was editing and just playing it up and hyping it for TV and how much of it was reality?
Cynthia: The workouts, you can’t hide that. You’re training. The dieting, the workouts, the competition that was all…
Kaiser: I was mainly talking about the controversial stuff like the vomiting and the pain the girls were going through, do they play that up for the drama aspects, like did you see that when you were there?
Cynthia: What do you mean “play it up”?
Kaiser: No like did they edit it together to make it look more dramatic and to incite the controversy, or was it…
Cynthia: Well, yeah. The production company, they’re on the sidelines and they’re hoping, they’re waiting for a slipup. And once there is one, they’re all in it and they obviously want to create controversy because controversy sells. You know, on drama TV, reality drama train wreck TV is what people are tuning into. I guess again the training was real but the way they edit it, obviously they edit it to make it look more dramatic. So yeah, editing obviously make it more…
Kaiser: Yeah, yeah, that’s what I figured, yeah.
Kaiser: Now, one thing that we talked about before in some other interviews that you’ve done for Super Trainer is, there is a real big entertainment component to personal training, even if you’re not a celebrity trainer that people are paying to be entertained in some ways. They’re looking for a getaway from a normal life through their fitness programs, whether it’s a bootcamp or personal training. Always something that I know that you’ve tried to work into your programs, something that your new gym that I had a chance to tour with you recently, that really is a theme that you have going through it, the services you’re going to be offering. So, can you describe some of that philosophy that you have about the role that fitness plays in and particularly paid fitness services which is what we provide. What role does that play in the life of the customers that we’re dealing with?
Cynthia: We know, as fitness professionals, that the way to achieve your ideal body is you can have a basic workout, increase the intensity of your workout, eat your five meals a day, drink your water, do your cardio. We know what to do to achieve our ideal body. That’s what we could also offer to our clients. The problem is that clients are finicky and clients get bored easily. They’re tired of the same old weight training workout, same out cardio routine, same old diet practices. They’re looking for something different.
That’s the reason why there’s so many infomercials on nutrition and different exercise equipment, at home equipment, because, again, people are looking for something different, a quick fix, or an entertainment value, an entertainment factor, that they’re not getting from traditional weight training and cardio. That’s where we come in as fitness professionals.
We provide a service for them where we can come collectively or individually create different things, different fitness programs, that will entice our clients and bring them in through our doors. That’s what I’ve done with my facility. My facility, for me, I’m building my playground. I’m offering what a lot of different fitness studios are offering in one place.
I have the pole dancing, but it’s more like instead of sexy pole dancing, it’s more like an acrobatic pole dancing. I have trapeze. I have something called a hot room, where we do everything from hot yoga, hot kettlebell training, hot spinning. Then I have my indoor military bootcamp. I have navy SEAL training. Why do I offer all these things?
A, I find them to be personally entertaining and fun to do, but also I know that it will attract different clients. Say I’ll promote my bootcamp program. At the bootcamp, I’ll say well now you should try the hot room series. It’s just client retention. Keep your client motivated and wanting to do more and more different programs that are not being offered anywhere else.
Kaiser: That’s some brilliant stuff. I remember when you gave me the tour, that’s just really what struck out at me, how diverse the environment was. One question I have for you, even from a personal standpoint from my own knowledge is that, a lot of this stuff is stuff that you can’t learn out of a book. What is your inspiration in developing these programs? Where do you get the ideas? I know you travel frequently and are interested in a lot of different things. These ideas and this knowledge, where do they come from?
Cynthia: That’s interesting. Trade magazines. Even just reading muscle magazines, fitness magazines, a new trend. Once I read about something that interests me and that’s new and exciting in the fitness field, I’ll want to go try it. The last couple of months, this past winter, I was seriously into circus art. I read a tabloid magazine about this place in Brooklyn that offered aerial art, like trapeze classes, to people who are interested like in Cirque du Soleil. I started taking classes in Brooklyn and I started taking trapeze classes, I started taking stilts, I started doing trampoline. And I’m like holy smoke. I know that this is geared towards people who are interested in circus performance, but I was like this is amazing, imagine if this was offered at a fitness facility or a gym.
A couple of months later, who’s performing a stilt act? I don’t know if it was the VMAs or the Grammys, was Pink. She was doing this amazing, amazing performance using stilts. Doing inversions, and wrapping her body, and doing a 30 foot drop. I was like this is amazing.
So, in other words, what I do is I read about something and I’ll go try it. And if it strikes my fancy, I just figure out how I can implement that with my current clients or in my new facility. That keeps me abreast of everything that’s new in the fitness industry or that could be implemented in the fitness industry. Just by going out and trying it.
Kaiser: That’s very cool. It makes total sense. They say that marketing begins with intense curiosity. In your case, that’s kind of what drives you, you’re curious about something and you go find out more about it.
Cynthia: Curious and also passionate. It’s funny because right now, building my gym, it’s been one year of just one trial and tribulation after another with construction. When you’re under so much stress with the show, and the show going to air, and I’m writing two other books, and when should I release those?
You have all these pressures and all this craziness going on in your mind, and you forget about one thing as a trainer. You forget about why you’re in this industry in the first place. Your passion for fitness, and training, and helping people. When you start losing that and if you start looking at this as it’s just a business and I just want to make money, you lose your passion, and I feel that your business starts to suffer because of that.
Sometimes you just need to regroup, and get grounded again, and remember why you started. Why are you in this industry from the beginning? Why did you start? Why did you want to become a trainer? Why are you in this industry?
This past winter, I kind of like had this whole awakening. [laughs] A reevaluation of where I was and what I wanted to do. I started taking these classes again. You know, getting re inspired. Inspiring myself again and just letting my creativity just king of run wild.
Kaiser: Yeah, sounds really good. That’s really wise advice. I hope everybody caught that. Now, you talked about a few of the things you’ve got cooking right now. You have a couple of books. The big gym again, which is really an amazing place, I think it’s really going to be a huge success. The show like we talked about, they’re even talking about a season two.
With all this stuff I can kind of imagine that the people listening to this, the trainers listening to this right now, may be a little intimidated by everything you’ve got going on. But, the way it all started is with a very simple relationship that you had with a few facilities where you just rented space out of them. It didn’t start with all the fancy department…
Cynthia: Not at all.
Kaiser: … And all the classes and all of that. Can you talk a little bit about those initial deals that you made to get your business rolling and how that happened?
Cynthia: Simply put, Kaiser, it all started from just being a trainer on the floor at a Gold’s Gym. And just, again, being passionate about the fitness industry, and really wanting to be there, and really wanting to develop my clientele base. I just simply approached the trainer, the owner of the gym, one day. Because all he has was the [inaudible 0:16:02] trainers. There was not a company there or one person who controlled the training department. I said this place is really disorganized. He has a bunch of transient trainers that come in and out, no one really stays, no one really develops a clientele base.
So I approached him. I said, “Listen, would you be interested in allowing me to rent space from you and running your personal training company, personal training department, but as a business, not as an in house employee?” And he said yes. And he gave me a number what I had to pay for rent. And at that time, it was so low, it was ridiculous. And I just started developing my clientele base. And then pretty soon I was able to hire more trainers. Then I created Bridal Bootcamp back in 2001 and my business just started to develop and grow from there.
But then, I also saw other opportunities within the gym that were not fitness based, really. There was an opportunity to open up a pro shop. The guy who ran the pro shop sold it. He wasn’t making any money, so I went in there, and I started selling t shirts and wraps and cool clothing. And that started doing really well.
And then I had an opportunity… The person who was renting space for the juice bar at Gold’s Gym sold it as well, and I approached the owner. I said, listen, can I rent space and run a juice bar? I just always saw an opportunity where I can kind of stick my foot in.
And you know what? You ask. I just approached them. I asked could I rent the space? He said yes. When I took over the space for the juice bar I needed a partner. And at that time, I was training a client, this guy named Rich. And I said, “Rich, do you want to go 50 50 with me? Do you want to be a partner in this juice bar?” And he said yes. So, it just kind of worked out, but again, always looking for opportunities and just going out there and giving it a try.
I’m not afraid of failing. I’m just afraid of not trying. I don’t want to be in this industry and there’s nothing wrong with just being a trainer but if you’re going to be in the industry for a long period of time, you should strive to be more than a trainer. You should be an owner. You know the business. Why are you not that owner?
And again, you fail? So what? You fail. I had to close my pro shop business because the industry changed. I don’t know if you remember back in the days where there used to be in the gyms they would be selling these tank tops and these baggy pants and that was the fad back then. But as the years went on, that wasn’t popular anymore. So there wasn’t really a need to sell those clothing. So I wasn’t making money. So that folded. OK, so that went under. So what? I was constantly looking for something else.
And when I started running my Bridal Bootcamp, first I created it into a indoor military obstacle course in the gym, but pretty soon I wanted to expand outdoors. So then I went to the park. And there was another… in Astoria there was this big backyard like a parking lot.
And I was like, you know what? Because Astoria Park was too far from the gym and a lot of people didn’t want to travel, I approached the owner of the lot and asked him if I could rent space there and start doing bootcamp training sessions out there, and he was like, “Fine.” So again, just always looking for opportunities and just try to see what you can make out of them.
Kaiser: That’s really cool how this one deal kind of started your business overnight. I mean, we know it’s not overnight, but you had access to a captive client base so you had free reign over the gym and an exclusive deal. It’s just a really perfect situation. But, what are some of the pros and cons of making a deal like that? For someone that’s looking around approaching an independent facility to make a deal, what are some of the things they need to be aware of, and what are some of the…?
Cynthia: The pros and cons…
Kaiser: We spoke of the upside. So what are the cons, really, of it?
Cynthia: Well, the cons is, the onus is on you to bring in business. So when you have a slow month, you have the February to March. January’s always the boost. And you don’t have clients coming in. You still have to pay. You still have the overhead. You have to pay your rent. You have other expenses. And it’s up to you to drum up business. You can’t blame it on the front desk. You can’t blame it on the owner. You’re running the show. You have to make it work. You have to pay for the promotion. You have to get the word out there. So there is more responsibility and more stress.
However, look at the upside. First of all, you control the environment. You hire the people you want to be around. I need to be around people who are positive. I live off of positive enthusiasm. I don’t like people who are downers or who talk about other trainers. I cannot stand that. I don’t even want to be around that. And so I want to create my own environment. And I think that’s what really pushed me forward to push me as far as I’ve gone, because I’ve always wanted to be in a very positive environment. And sometimes when you’re working for the house, not sometimes, you can’t control who they hire.
So, the upside to that, the more positive is that, yes, you can control who you work with. You dictate what type of programs. You can control programs that you’re selling. And obviously you’re making the most money. To me, it’s a win win. I can deal with the cons.
Kaiser: Of course. Now, I’m going to go on into what you’re doing right now, which is opening a facility. I’m going to go into a few rapid fire questions about this. I know that opening a facility is really a goal of a lot of trainers. It is a worthwhile goal, whether someone wants to open a studio or a gym or something like that. My first question is a general one. You went from having a place where you had a captive audience. You had overhead, but it was minimal. Now you’re in charge of an actual huge space with all the expenses and all that yourself. Was that scary at all?
Cynthia: Was it scary? No. I don’t think it’s scary. I wanted it so bad. I’ve always wanted it. I was just eager to make it happen. And I’m not going into it thinking it’s not going to work. I’m going into it thinking, you know what? I’m going to make money. I’m not thinking like that. It is what it is. You’re right, there’s the overhead. There’s going to be days or months when it’s slow, but again, the onus is on me to drum up the business. I’m so excited. I’ve always wanted it. It’s my lifelong dream. No, it’s exciting.
I may change my mind. You know, I may say, man, when I get the slow month, I’m going to change my perspective on things at that moment, but I’m still very happy and excited to be where I’m at and doing what I’m doing.
Kaiser: How’d you find the location? Like I mentioned about 100 times so far, I’ve been there and it’s a really amazing location. How’d you go about looking for a place?
Cynthia: It’s an amazing location. I love that area of Long Island Manhasset. It’s a high end area. It’s really beautiful. I like going out there. I like going shopping out there to buy my food from the health food store out there. So, one day I was driving up the street, and it was last summer, and I see this huge For Sale sign. It was like, 7000 square foot facility available for rent. So I said, oh, this is too good to be true. That area of Manhasset, they call it the Gold Coast. So you can just imagine how expensive it is.
And I was looking in that area for gyms, and I found a 5000 square foot facility and on the ground floor they wanted $25,000 a month. I was like and it’s only 5000 square feet, that’s crazy, not including utilities. And I called up the broker, and he said it was for sale or to rent. And I went to go check this place out. He didn’t want to discuss the price over the phone, what the rent would be like.
And it was an amazing, amazing, amazing space. I mean, I gutted out the whole area. The ceilings were like 16 feet high. But before I go into that, I asked what the price was and it was an amazing deal. Not only was it like 7000 square feet including utilities, but there was also an adjacent rooftop that I could utilize for an outdoor deck.
Not only do I have 7000 square feet, but I’m building a 7000 square foot outdoor deck. I’ll have classes out there like yoga, even bootcamp, but also I can rent it out for parties. It’s an amazing, amazing place. I was extremely lucky to be in the center of a very high end area.
Kaiser: You talked about, near the beginning of our call, about some of the construction problems you’ve been having along the road. In general, what are the problems that have been, I don’t want to say slowing you down, you have to take your time with what you’re doing…
Cynthia: Oh no, it’s slowing me down. You’re right. No, you’re absolutely right. The problems were, because I’m in such a high end area, it’s a small town, the neighbors there are very, what is the word? Very picky. So, if there was excess noise, and we’re doing construction, if there was excess noise we would get a call from the building department. If the building department came over, they would stop us. I’m on top of a restaurant. Noise. We couldn’t work at certain hours because it was the middle of the day and they would be serving lunch. All those delays. A project that could have taken four months, it’s nine months later and now I’m opening a bunch of facilities.
You have to be aware that there’s going to be some kinks in the chain, especially when you’re doing construction. You know what, you learn. You just deal with it. Every day I pick up my phone and I’m afraid because it’s another problem, but you suck it up, you deal with it.
You resolve it. What I have gained is so much knowledge that my second project will be a breeze. I’ll know what kind of contractors to hire, I’ll know where to buy materials at a cheaper rate. I’ve made a lot of contacts within the construction industry, so that’s helped me. It’s been a valuable lesson. I’ve learned so much.
Kaiser: That’s a great point you made that the first time you do anything it is going to be tough, it’s going to take a lot longer. They always say it’s going to take twice as long and cost twice as much as you expected. That’s just to be expected. The next time it’ll be a lot easier. Besides the construction and the rent and some other obvious things, what are some other expenses and other things that you’re facing? Like you mentioned, it’s your dream and I’m sure a lot of the trainers listening, it’s their dream to open a facility too, so what else have you had to face?
Cynthia: Wait, say that one more time? I’m sorry?
Kaiser: I was wondering has there been any other hurdles, any other expenses, any other major considerations to think about?
Cynthia: You have to think of the suits. There’s a lot of permit suits that I had no idea. I knew there would have to be permits, but it’s just a lot of suits. You have to be aware of that. You need to make sure that you have reserved the cash when you open up your facility. God forbid, if you’re opening up in the slow months.. I’m opening up in the middle of July. Thank God I have a lot going for me that I have a show that’s coming. It’s now a national show so obviously it’s going to bring a lot of people through the door. I’m doing a lot of promotion at a local level but you need to have cash reserves.
When you don’t have cash reserves and you have to pay payroll, you have to pay rent. You need to make sure that you’re able to cover all of your expenses or you can go under quickly.
Just a lot of those types of things that I knew… obviously, I know I needed to have cash reserves, but I didn’t take out for opening up in the middle of the summer. So… But that’s cool. That’s OK.
Kaiser: All right, taking a step back and talking about the walls, the building itself. After talking about the training that’s going on there, I noticed that it’s very heavily group based. That’s where your background is, it’s in bootcamps. You were doing that before it was even a real major trend. Right now, most of the trainers that I’ve talked to are not even considering one on one training, even for their businesses. They’re thinking more group training and bootcamps. Can you talk about the role that’s played in your progress and the role it’s going to play in the new business?
Cynthia: Absolutely, one on one training is obviously a big part of my training studio, but it is all about group training. The amount of money you can make with the shear numbers is ridiculous. It just makes mathematical sense to train in groups. I think that’s the trend and I think that’s a smart trend. I think that if you are a personal trainer and you are doing one on one, you should start incorporating group training. Whether it’s in a facility or even do group training outside or outdoors, definitely think about doing that because the amount of money that you can make is going to double if not triple what you’re doing now.
Kaiser: One of the things you brought up right there is the money that groups are actually obviously inclined to a trainer ratio. In general, it seems to me that a lot of what you’re doing with your business through from the financial side is a lot of this gut instinct. Call it street smart, a lot of just having a nose for the marketing of it. Has that always kind of been your approach, that you follow your gut? I know a lot of trainers, they’re always looking for the new guru, the new person to follow or someone to get new information on it. What’s been your philosophy? What’s been your approach?
Cynthia: My philosophy is to just follow my gut. I know what I want, I know that I always wanted to be a business owner. I didn’t want to be… I wanted to be in business, I wanted to be in enterprise. I just followed my gut and just was never afraid to ask. I approached the general urge about establishing my own business personal training company within the gym. It’s just gut, you just got to go with your gut. Don’t be afraid to take a chance. Don’t be afraid to fall. You learn when you make mistakes. You don’t learn when you get applause. That’s pretty much always been my philosophy, to try to go out there and get what I want just by trial and error.
Kaiser: Let’s kind of come full circle and talk about the show again. How did you get the show? How did that process start? Who did you contact? You can even talk from the initial idea stage, how did this whole thing start?
Cynthia: This has been such a long process. It’s just been… that’s why I kind of say, wow it’s like a dream come true. That was a really tough, tough, tough, tough, tough road. Again, I created a program back in 2001 and the reason why I was able… from creating the program in 2001 and bringing it to where it is now… The person who helped me was actually a celebrity radio personality named Don Imus. He has his own morning radio show and he saw what I was doing with brides in the basement of my gym and he started talking about it on his show and promoting my program. From there, it kind of snowballed where I was getting calls from the local media, they wanted to do interviews with me about what I was doing with brides.
Again I just needed the opportunity. I said, “You know what? This would make an amazing book.” I could write a book on helping other brides achieve their goals through their wedding day via my program. I actually sought out a publisher, I said “Listen I have this program.” As a matter of fact, the publisher heard about my program though Don Imus and I was able to negotiate a deal, wrote the book.
After I wrote the book and it was published I said, “You know what this could be a great reality TV show.” There’s so many reality based TV shows out there. This has all of the elements, you have a “Biggest Loser” component, weight loss. You have a “Bridezilla” component with brides getting ready for their wedding. You can have drama obviously on the set.
So, I created a reality TV show treatment based on the principles of my program. Finding an agent was really difficult. I dealt with a couple different agents. A lot of the agents were shady or they couldn’t walk the walk. They weren’t able to get the meetings with the networks.
Finally, a couple of years ago the National Enquirer wrote an article about my program and a producer in New York read about it and they actually contacted me. They said, “You know what? We read about your program we heard about your program from Don Imus. We know what you’re doing with brides. Would you be interested in working with us in developing a reality TV show?” Then I said, “I actually have a treatment. I created a reality show treatment.”
I met with them and I gave them a reality show treatment. Based on that, we created what’s called a sale tape or a sizzle reel. We created a three minute sizzle reel in Astoria Park where I was dressed in full camo. I had 10 women, they were not brides, but they were clients of mine dressed in full camo. We did a whole bootcamp in Astoria Park and it was filmed.
From there, the producers hired an agent and they started shopping my reality TV show to the networks. Then finally, the budget was a little high for a reality TV show and a lot of networks loved it. Lifetime loved it. Oxygen loved it. E! Entertainment loved it. CBS was interested.
It was amazing, there were bears that were walking the grounds at night. There were alligators in the water. It was an unbelievable experience. I had never been in front of a TV camera before and all of the sudden there was a crew of 70 holding cameras in your face and everyone is fussing over you. It was just surreal, really, really cool.
Kaiser: Wow. Yeah, I remember it was all of a sudden. And yeah, in just a few weeks, it’s a sensation. Yeah. I guess that’s show biz, just how things can just change on a dime like that.
Kaiser: So yes, Cynthia. Just talking to you right now has been a really wild ride. We’ve covered, it seems like, years and years of worth of training history with you. And I think one thing that’s clear is that you’re not an overnight success story. But, it’s also clear that things can happen rapidly, or an instant opportunity can come your way. Things can just change and big things can happen. So, just with everything you’ve accomplished so far and pretty much rising to the top of this business, the way most trainers look at it.
What do you have on the horizon? What’s your next big goal, your next big, audacious thing that you want to make happen?
Cynthia: My next big goal is, I’m writing two more books. I can’t release the titles. And I’m already starting to pitch a reality TV show based on the two books. One is for post pregnancy fitness. And the other one, I can’t actually tell you what the book is about… because it’s a dead giveaway. But you know what? I do want to tell you one thing though. I don’t want trainers to feel like they’re… I discuss a lot of things, a lot of obstacles, a lot of issues that I’m overcoming or that I have to deal with.
But, one thing that really helped me build my studio was the fact that I utilized all my ex clients. It’s timing, timing, timing. I was able to open up my studio because I did get some financing, a business loan. And some of the proceeds from the show went for going to building my gym.
But also, I called in favors of all my clients from the past, all the electricians, and the HBAC guys, and the sprinkler contractors. And all those guys who always said, “Cynthia, the day you open up your gym. Don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of you.” And I did.
And I called all my clients. And these guys came in, and they did over 200,000 dollars worth of work for peanuts. So again, opportunities are out there. You’ve just got to open up your eyes and see them. And don’t be afraid to ask.
So, your dream of having your own fitness facility and having your own business is possible. You’ve just got to explore all options. And when you come to a road block or a dead wall, always think about the plan B. Because the plan B will help get you out of that jam.
Kaiser: All right Cynthia. That’s such a good way to end our call and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I’ve gotten a lot out of it personally. So, in general, trainers can learn a lot from lessons you’ve given them. And I think we all can sit back and look to see a lot more big things from you in the future. So thanks for coming on, and good luck with everything you have coming.
Cynthia: Kaiser, thank you so much. Anytime you need me, I’m here.
Looooong interview, but worth the investment of time!
I must admit, I haven’t seen the TV show, but after reading Cynthia’s story, I’ll check it out.
Cynthia looks amazing (professionally speaking, of course) and her story speaks volumes about her focus and determination to be successful.
Great interview, terrific story, and I look forward to the next one.
Uhhhh … where did you say you got these pics again? Definitely a side of her you don’t see on the show (Oh well, maybe in season 2).
Yeah! Go girl power!
Yes Kaiser, you’re right – I can definitely relate to Cynthia, because her start in this business sounds exactly like where I’m at right now.
Thanks for sharing this – it shows that anything is possible.
Nice to see another trainer from New York City making it big. You guys are really setting the pace and are great role models for all of us trainers here in the city. Keep up the great work!
Great interview Kaiser – some real good info here. I’m about to open my first studio, and I have to say, a lot of your motivational stuff here made it a reality for me. Opening a studio wasn’t even on my radar this time last year – now it’s a reality.
And looking forward to the new mastermind program. I love your the content here, so I hope it’s more of the same.
K man – great stuff brutha – yup, you’re definitely the next larry king –
Keep doing it dude – great stuff here, and hot pics – you rule –
Great article man! So much information in here. You’re right, you really should have charged for this.
And it’s so true -her situation is just like anyone else. You just got to work hard and get a little lucky too. That never hurts!
Great to see another New York City trainer make a name for herself. I’m oringinally from Queens and can relate to everything you guys talked about here. Yeah, goes to show anything is possible. Most shows suck, but I actually got into Cynthia’s show, even if it was about brides. It’s interesting and entertaining, and I’m not surprised it got picked up for two more seasons.
Great interview Kaiser and congratulations to Cynthia!
Reading the interview, what some people may consider an ‘overnight success’ they don’t realise the countless hours, in fact years that have gone into the final product.
Having a dream, working hard and unwavering persistance are the secret to success and you personify that attitude.
Well done and I wish you continued success!
Hey Kaiser – long time reader here and this site keeps getting better. Loved this interview and looking forward to more.
Hey Kaiser – I’ve been away from this site for a little while and I must say I missed a lot!
Your tips have helped me a lot with the group training programs at my gym, and I just wanted to say thanks –
I promise not to be a stranger and leave more feedback in the future –
Thanks for everything brother!
Hey!!!! I thought I knew here from somewhere – it was right here!
Cool article man – yeah, I learned a lot from it. I’m looking to get my own studio, and this gave me a lot of information.
Plus I got your new course Kaiser, the studio start up – I’m really lookiing forward to taking it apart. Looks very solid.
Great info – keep it coming man.
Great interview – lots of good info here – thanks bro.
Loved the feedback gang. Yes, I’ll definitely have Cynthia on again many more times in the future. She’s a real inspiration, because she has some real gritty origins. She hustled for everything she’s got, and is a perfect example of what any one of us can accomplish.