Krystina Gorman has been a personal trainer in South Jersey for over 10 years as well as a Health and Physical Education teacher. In this interview, I talk to Krystina about how she got into personal training -and now online training. Along the way, she shares her insights about how others can break out of the mold of being an “average” trainer, to one who stands out and makes their passion for fitness an actual career. Also see my review of online personal trainers.
JC. What's your background, certifications etc.?
KG. I originally started out with AAAI/ISMA/ISMA certifications; Personal Training and Sports Nutrition. I now hold an Associates degree in Exercise Science from Gloucester County College (now Rowan College) and a Bachelor's degree in Health & Physical Education from Rowan University.
JC. Did your college degree prepare you to be a personal trainer?
KG. Yes and no. I took a lot of classes, even electives that really dove into the science of the body, both anatomically and kinesthetically. I took classes that I knew would be challenging, but that would ultimately give me more knowledge. As far as all the ins and outs of training (what not to do as a trainer), there’s no “Personal Training 101” course, so I feel that that just comes with experience, but a lot from common sense as well.
JC. How long have you been a trainer?
KG. I’ll be coming up on my 10-Year Anniversary soon!!
JC. What did you do before you became a personal trainer?
KG. Personal training was actually my very first job. Straight from high school, I worked at a small little fitness center for women and their children a few miles from college in Sewell NJ, called “Inches-A-Weigh.” I continued personal training all throughout my college years, and since then, have genuinely grown in not only my passion for this field, but also my desire to help more people. I also spent many summers lifeguarding (Head Guard at Hospitality Creek in Williamstown. NJ). I recently resigned from teaching Health & P.E. in the Woodbury NJ City Public School system in 2014 to pursue my mission completely.
JC. How many clients do you see in a typical day?
KG. Now that I have transitioned my training almost 100% online, I’m able to work with more clients any given day. Right now, I’m working with 20-25 clients a day.
JC. Who your typical client is and why they seek your help.
KG. My typical client tends to be those who are at their wits end! They have tried “everything” from fitness classes, various DVD programs, miracle shakes, and absolutely nothing is working. I love being the source of hope when a new client is so close to quitting.
JC. Do you have more male or female clients or an equal mix of both?
KG. Right now, more female clients. I have a very good mix of both males and female clients, and I love that.
JC. Where is your farthest client from?
KG. Canada! To be able to say that brings such a huge smile to my face. Seriously, training people from anywhere is a dream come true for me!
JC. Do you have other trainers who help you? If yes how many?
KG. No, but sometimes I wonder how I do it.
JC. Before online training, how many miles did you travel per day?
KG. I used to have various methods to my schedule when I worked for a company. I would either schedule my clients back to back, where I would literally have time to maybe inhale a small piece of fruit in between (then I was starving), or I would space them out some (mainly to appease their schedule to the best of my ability). That ended up meaning I would drive back and forth fifteen times throughout the day, so the miles quickly added up!
JC How long is your typical online training session?
KG. Depending on a client's personal goals and how many days a week they can commit to their program, their workout session times will vary. On average, about an hour.
JC. Did you lose any “real” / physical clients when you told them you wanted to do only online training?
KG. When I decided to go full throttle with my online training, I didn't lose anyone! People see your genuine care and concern for them, so if they truly want what you offer, they will stick with you. I also am big on communication, so my clients and followers knew in advance what I had been working on. They were excited about it as well! I really have the best clients in the world! I continued to train those who were currently training in the studio with me, but I left that up to them if they wanted to train in person or online.
JC. Did you take an “online personal trainer class” to learn the ropes or did you teach yourself how to do it?
KG. No. I had a vision of where I wanted to be in the future and how I wanted to help more people. Each year I would come up with new ideas, new ways of doing things. It's important for me to be different, I didn't want to just be a “trainer“.
I also didn't want location to be a setback for individuals wanting to train with me. I constantly focused my time, effort, and energy into growing a solid foundation through trial and error. It was about taking my training and making it available to anyone genuinely wanting to change.
My weekends were not spent at bars or clubs, they were spent creating my future. I taught myself a lot because again, I didn't want to be an average “trainer”.
JC. How do most of your online clients find you -website, social media etc.?
KG. I'd say most of my clients hear about me from word of mouth, absolutely. Second, it'd definitely be social media; I use Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. My website at www.krystinagormanFIT.com is the foundation of it all, where all of my information, ways of contacting me, services, events, blogs & more are found.
JC. Have you ever worked in a gym? If yes which ones?
KG. Yes, the very first facility I was employed at was called Inches-A-Weigh, now closed. After that, I worked at Giant Fitness and 700 Fitness.
JC. What mistakes do you see gym personal trainers making?
KG. One of the biggest turn offs for me is when a trainer approaches a random gym goer and literally just asks them to train with them, or starts interrupting their workout to try to sell themselves. Another huge mistake I believe many (not all) make is not being honest with their members & customers, and bullying the potential member to sign! Yes, bullying. Trust me, nothing surprises me.
JC. What do you feel is the biggest issue facing the personal trainer industry today?
KG. Unfortunately, money. People will spend money they don’t have on vacation getaways and material possessions, putting it all on credit or finding some way to get what they want. But when it comes to the quality & longevity of their life, they’re very reluctant.
JC. Knowing what you do, what are some things the general public should know when they hire a personal trainer?
KG. The most important factor I believe the general public should look for in a trainer is if he or she has a sincere interest in their personal goals. Make sure that what you are looking for lines up to what they offer. For instance, if you are looking to receive personalized instruction and workouts, you’re not going to want scanned copies of the same workout your trainer just put his or her last three clients through, especially since one is looking to tone, the other is looking to lose a considerable amount of weight, and the third is training for rehabilitation of a shoulder injury.
JC. If you were hiring a personal trainer, what are some things that would really impress you?
KG. A genuine interest in my goals, willingness to answer my questions, and that my workouts were specifically created for my personal goals. I don’t want to be put through the same workout as everyone else. I would want to know that my trainer had my best interest in mind always.
JC. What do you think about all the personal trainer reality shows (Biggest loser, Fat Chance, Extreme Weight Loss etc.)?
KG. I’ve really only watched The Biggest Loser, so I can’t speak on the others. I love the two original trainers from the show, Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper. I believe that they both cared about the contestants on the show, but also realized the importance of the fact that this was a reality TV show, and not a real life situation.
I actually had the honor of speaking to Jillian on-air on her radio show based in Cali back in 2008, and what you see is what you get with her; I respect that. It’s a TV show, the contestants are there to lose a large amount of weight in a short period of time without the obstacles and distractions of every day life.
The shopping is done for them, the workouts are ready for them, and they don’t have home life or a job to worry about during their season. After the show, that’s a different story. I don’t follow the show like I did before, but my viewpoint is that losing high amounts of weight like that is OK as long as it’s through their nutrition and exercise, and under the supervision of doctors.
However, I don’t believe it fully teaches the contestants a “lifestyle change”, as it is so far from reality. My goal for my clients is to make this their lifestyle change, so that they continue to have success for the rest of their lives, and not just for a quick fix.
JC. How would you handle a client who consistently does not show, up cancels at the last minute or is late?
KG. Sadly, the reality of it is they don’t want change bad enough. I give 110% every day, no matter how much I have on my plate, or how tired I am, and I expect my clients to give themselves that as well. I’m honest with them, and they know that from the beginning.
JC. Knowing what you know now, do you wish you did anything differently with your very first client?
KG. Not at all. I believe in always striving for progression, whether it’s in your work life, fitness journey, or personal relationships. You learn the changes you would like to make as you go along. Every experience that I’ve had, positive or negative, after all these years has made me the trainer I am today! I’ve seen crazy things take place in fitness centers, but I used that as a way to learn what not to do. I took every situation, EVERY SINGLE SITUATION, and bettered myself.
JC. What's the craziest thing you've seen occur in a fitness center?
KG. Far too many things to list! I'm so grateful for the years I spent personal training in fitness centers, because I took a positive from every situation. I was always taking mental notes, always. If I saw something “crazy” occur, I took note that I would never run my training that way. I saw how I would never treat clients, how I would never run sales, etc. Honesty and giving my clients my absolute best would be my number one priority, and I will always stay true to that. The things I've seen and know of are mind boggling, but that's what makes me different, and I'm going to keep it that way.
JC. How do you find most of your clients?
KG. It’s really hard to get your name or brand out there when you’re not working for a company, and strictly doing everything yourself. At a gym, you have people coming in specifically asking for training. I have to give my everything, every single second of every day.
My clients mean so much to me, and I want so much for them! When they achieve these huge milestones, I am so genuinely proud of them and I believe people see my sincerity. Clients, friends, and followers are constantly sharing my website, my social media pages, and if they’ve worked with me, they are sharing their personal success story with others as well. This is a huge reason why I’ve been able to work with so many people worldwide – through word of mouth from my amazing support team!
JC. What is the single best thing you have done to help you get clients?
KG. My belief in someone when they no longer believe in their self. I believe that separates me, because I genuinely care.
JC. What has not worked for you when it came to getting clients?
KG. I paid $5,000 for a mentor to help with marketing strategies at one time. The mentoring program was basically him teaching his personal way of doing things, but that wasn’t the way I wanted to run my business. I’m not saying my way is better or that his wasn’t good, I’m just saying I didn’t want to run things that way.
I didn’t realize the whole program was him teaching his way only, and for that I felt like it was five grand out the window. A lesson learned, and very expensive lesson learned. For me, it doesn’t work not being me. I’m very authentic, and what you see is what you get. I refuse to be anything else.
Tip. I wrote 101 Personal Trainer Marketing Secrets to help people avoid spending lots of money on experts to help with your fitness marketing.
JC. What questions do clients mostly ask you?
KG. “Am I your most challenging client?” It’s funny, they all think that!
JC. Do you use any technology to help you with clients (ipad, excel etc.?)
KG. YES! I am constantly recording “how to” videos for my clients, showing them how to perform exercises on their workout program(s). My training is done online, so I am working with clients across the states, and even other countries.
When I create these videos and workouts, my clients have a private membership to KGF, where they can log on anywhere using their smart phone or computer to see their program. I rely heavily on technology, for communication purposes, overall organization, delivering my services, marketing myself, and more.
JC. Have any clients asked you who you were certified by?
KG. I have my certifications and degrees listed on my website and on my Facebook page for people to see, so that is not something I get asked by clients. I do receive messages on social media asking me about where I got started, what certifications I recommend, etc.
JC. Do you have personal trainer insurance? If yes who by?
KG. Yes, Fitness and Wellness Insurance through Philadelphia Insurance Companies.
JC. Are there any books you believe personal trainers should read?
KG. Not anything in particular, but always research and continue learning. Don’t ever feel that you know it all, be willing to grow! There’s always something new out there, even if it’s completely wrong.
JC. What do you know now that you wished you knew when you were just starting out?
KG. Every day is about progression, and where I am now compared to where I was when I was just starting out is something that I'm proud of, yet very humbled by. There's nothing that I wish I knew back then, because I've learned through every situation and from constant personal development. If you knew everything, you could never become better. As I tell my clients, “Continue to strive for progression!”
JC. What advice do you have for gym trainers who want to become self employed?
KG. First and foremost, it’s harder than you could imagine. I work more now than I ever did in my entire life, and I’ve always been a hard worker! Don’t expect hand outs, earn your success. Don’t sit back and wait for things to happen, make them happen. Learn by trial and error, and be willing to put in the time, effort, and energy needed. Don’t pursue a passion with bad intentions. You are changing people’s lives, there is no price on that!
JC. How can people learn more about you