What do porn and Top-Level Training have in common? They’re both hard to define, but you know it when you see it!

And I certainly found it (Top-Level Training, not porn) in the training practice of Southern California’s Kettlebell Queen, Lauren Brooks Miller.

Like I always talk about on the blog, I didn’t invent this thing; I learned and applied it through observing the trainers that got it right. Lauren is just such a trainer. She’s put it all together into a practice that fits her interests, training, lifestyle, and career goals. It’s pumping on all cynlinders, and is a clear example of what an ideal training practice should be like, and the continuity that every Personal Trainer should be building toward.

Lauren was oh so nice to come on and talk about what she does and how she does it:

Hey Lauren! I wanted you on Super-Trainer because it’s obvious you take fitness seriously and you do a lot of things right – you’ve crafted a specialty that you’re known for, are an avid blogger, and have expanded into other ways to reach people and earn money such as DVDs and live workshops – was this all by design?

At the beginning none of this was planned. I was training a handful of clients a day, as well as teaching classes in the evening. I was quickly burning out. I realized that I enjoyed teaching larger groups so I slowly started getting my individual clients to join group sessions. That way I could target more people at the same time. This was more cost effective for my clients and they seemed to really enjoy the social aspect of it. This led me to the realization that I really wanted to target a much larger audience. This way I could touch and change more lives while making it cost effective for my clients. Keeping a blog with fitness, nutrition, and health tips along with real stories has also been very helpful for my readers and myself.

I’m always preaching the importance for trainers to develop a specialty – with kettlebells you’ve done exactly that. How did you discover kettlebell training and when did you make it the focus of your training program?

I had seen a couple of my strong male friends using them from time to time. I was very curious. Then I had an opportunity to go to a kettlebell workshop for trainers. The gym I was working for at the time needed a volunteer to go to this workshop. They wanted me to go and then teach the rest of the trainers. Once I started swinging these hunks of iron around I was amazed with how my body felt. I was not sold on them immediately because I was still stuck in my old traditional training ways and they were a bit intimidating. I decided to take some group kettlebell classes. WIthin weeks my body was stronger and leaner. That’s when I knew that this is what my clients and the world needs to be doing!

What’s your training practice like? How many hours do you work and in what situations are you seeing clients?

I probably spend between 3 and 4 hours per day with clients and classes combined. I see an average of 10 -12 people a day. WIth half hour intense sessions, I am able to train 3-4 people in a 2-hour time slot. On top of that, I teach a large group session of about 6-8 people. I also offer nutrition and training programs over the internet which allows me to have clients throughout the country. This type of variation keeps the nutrition and fitness industries exciting for me and thus I retain my motivation concerning my career.

Yeah, it sounds like you keep a very balanced scheduled, not like some trainers we hear about working from sun up to sun down. I always feel this is part of the job description of being a top trainer – and with your family commitments it’s even more important. What are your feelings on that?

Burn out is the first reason why people leave the fitness industry. I’ve known that from day one. As much as people want to make lots of money there are smarter and better ways to use your time. By having a variety of fitness projects going on with some clients and classes, it really makes it tough for things to get monotonous. Like anything we do, balance is so important for a healthy lifestyle. What’s the reason to work so hard if you can’t even enjoy life? Leaving some energy for your family, yourself, and friends is essential. Then your passion in life, which is my fitness career, stays your passion rather than a burden.

Since I am a new mom it is a priority for me to spend quality time with my daughter. Working at home was always a dream of mine and I finally made that happen when I converted my garage into a professional workout studio. I also have a spacious backyard that allows for my group sessions. I couldn’t have asked for a better set up.

Wow, that’s an ideal training situation that you have going – this is the ultimate transition I think a lot of trainers are looking to make, to build a thriving private practice. How did this transition happen for you; from a healthclub trainer to successful independent trainer?

Yes, I can never complain having a private practice right from my own home. It’s a dream! The transition was pretty slow. It all started when I got a group of friends to come over and we trained with kettlebells in my backyard. Then they wanted to do it every weekend. The group started becoming bigger and bigger until I realized it’s time to start bringing all my clients to my home. The thing that inspired me the most to stay close to home was having my baby. I was breast feeding every 2-3 hours but still wanted to work. By staying at home I was able to schedule my clients around my breast feeding schedule. It just got better from there. When people see results and have fun training they will come to you and tell all of their friends!

Like I mentioned you recently created a DVD and have begun offering live workshops. That must be really exciting – how has the transition been from trainer to fitness educator?

The transition from trainer to fitness educator and DVD creator has been amazing. At first I was a bit hesitant and nervous to enter into a new territory. I was so comfortable with what I was doing I knew that it was going to be a tremendous challenge to juggle both the selling and distributing, while maintaining my clientèle. But the rewards have been outstanding. I am reaching a larger population than I had ever dreamed of. The best part about it is that people from all over the world are telling me how there lives are changing. It is such a rewarding feeling that I plan on continuing to make more DVDs. I also have had the opportunity to do more nutrition programs for people. Having my new nutrition store has made it easier for my clients to stick with quality products that I recommend. http://www.ontheedgefitnessstore.com/products/nutrition.html. I am very passionate about fitness and nutrition. They are both a huge part of my lifestyle so it only feels natural to share that knowledge and hopefully educate those who want to learn.

It’s obvious you’re deeply passionate and a lifer in this business – that’s interesting because for our generation of trainers there isn’t really a model for career progression. Do you have a plan for your career or are you taking things as they come?

I don’t plan on leaving the fitness industry. But I do plan on continuing to grow professionally. I hope to start doing workshops across the country and thus expand my overall clientèle. The more lives I can positively effect, the more successful I will feel.

Nothing more to say there – Lauren’s story is one of the best I’ve found. I don’t know if it’s just the fact that she’s a woman, but there appears to be a certain grace through everything she does. You’ll notice a consistency and personality through her site and services that’s hard to put your finger on but is certainly there. You can check out Lauren’s site here (Lauren Brooks, Southern California Personal Trainer) and send her fan mail at Lauren@socaltrainer.com (she’s a mom and she’s married, so make sure you keep it clean!).


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