There are actually people out there who make a good living as physical fitness trainers. Seun Fadina (Celebrity Fitness Trainer and C.E.O., Burnout Fitness Service) is one of them, and as we usually do, I got him to give of the low down on what it takes to do what he does.
I have always loved fitness even since my secondary school days. My love for it turned into a passion when I got to university and I was doing some real heavy lifting there. I played basketball in uni and also trained the school’s basketball team. After I graduated, I worked for a bit, and then met with up with a childhood friend, Dr Dayo Osholowu who is a FIFA certified sports physician. We had a business lunch and I told him about my desire to go into fitness training. He gave me my first break by inviting me to come on board his sports medicine practice where I learnt what the fitness industry is all about. I worked with him for some years, learnt the business and made a few contacts and then I was ready to take it to the next level and start fitness as my own business. I did some consultations and I was encouraged. I however wanted to do things different from the norm and so I decided that I would see hoe I can break into the celeb scene, work out with them etc. So I called Davido manager and did my pitch and he was feeling it. Next thing, I had a meeting with Davido and he was thrilled by the idea. Ever since, I’ve been working with the HKN Gang. I’ve also worked with other celebs such as Iris, the Tinsel cast, and some others. It’s been an interesting journey. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing and hopefully will keep doing for some time to come. For me, the key to achieving your fitness goal is in the acronym D.R.I.V.E. which is Determination, Results, Innovation, Vision and Enthusiasm. If you put all of that together, there is no way you will not achieve your fitness goals.
When I wake up in the morning, after the usual stuff like prayer and getting a bath, the first thing I do each day is get something to eat. Breakfast is a key meal in every day and mine usually is wheat bread (four slices), two boiled eggs and a glass of orange juice. After that, I relax for a little bit then I start my own personal workout program. My program includes exercises that help with cardio, strength training, flexibility exercises, and core exercises. After that, my day starts and I go out to see clients I’m scheduled to train with. I also have corporate clients. I talk to the staff on fitness and wellness and how we can incorporate that into their busy daily schedules. Nothing stressful or strenuous, just routines that give staff the optimum energy required to carry out the day’s tasks. I also train the Dordan Warriors team (pro basketball club in Lagos). We meet up two to three times a week. Some days are busy and some days are chilled. On less busy days, you can find me in the library, reading up because I am constantly looking for new ideas to change the face of fitness as practiced here in Nigeria.
For me, the exciting thing about being a fitness trainer is giving people the opportunity to exceed their fitness expectations. By this, I am referring to seeing a client move from one stage to another stage. It’s a very exciting and even emotional process for me because I am helping someone improve the quality of their lifestyle, I’m helping them look fit, I’m trying to improve their energy level, all of that….. That’s pretty exciting for me. In one word, I would say that the best bit about being a fitness trainer is that it’s exciting.
The worst bit is…..
The worst bit is that people expect a lot from me. I have people walk up to me and say “Look at you, in a few years, you will be fat”, “this fitness thing you’re doing, you can’t sustain it for too long” But hey, guess what, I have been this way for thirteen years and it’s not gonna change. That’s pretty annoying. But as regards my job, the part I don’t really enjoy is when you have to deal with clients that are a little bit stubborn. It’s inevitable that you will have some. I’m talking about those clients who want to be Usain Bolt overnight. It takes a while and a lot of commitment too. So that process is not fun but it’s my job as a fitness trainer to be able to speak to my client. But some of them can be discouraging. I mean even as a brawny fitness trainer, I’m also human with feelings. I can’t think of one word to describe what the worst bit is.
Personal qualities required…..
To be a fitness trainer, you have to be patient, you need to have good communication skills because some clients are very intellectual and if you don’t know what you’re saying, they will spot it and you will lose the client’s trust. You need to be emotional too. Some clients will require that part of you in order to be able to properly relate with them. You need to be focused and goal-oriented. You can easily get distracted if you are not focused especially when you’re working with the ladies. A typical example is from my personal experience; I make my clients complete what I call a ‘client consent form’. The form basically explains in detail every single thing I’m going to be doing with you. There’s a particular part of it that talks about the ‘touch program’ – that explains that if I am training a client and the client is not doing the exercise the proper way, I would ask first of all, “will you permit me to move your leg so you can do the exercise the right way?”, and then I get a verbal consent before I touch the client. Sometimes, you might be working with a hot chick and be in such a situation. You need to be focused and not get carried away. That’s how people respect you, so that quality is very key. You also need to understand the fitness industry itself. You need to have a holistic understanding of the turf in which you’re playing.
How to get my job (Academic qualifications required)
There are many professional courses you can take even online. You could also study physical education or health management or physiotherapy in the university. The American College of Sports Medicine awards certificates qualifying you to be a personal fitness trainer. The key thing is self-development. I know some people just go to the gym, have a good body, and want to teach others how they did it. This might work, but it won’t get you very far In this day and age, some clients will ask to see some qualifications. Most corporate clients will definitely want to know that you’re certified to do what you do. Your qualifications also mean that in negotiations for your fee, you can price yourself high.
I ask questions about aspects of the job and Seun rates them on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest rating. Here’s what he had to say.
Effort to get the job: 4