Personal fitness trainer diploma

Priscilla-VollmerPriscilla Vollmer

Interview date: August 14, 2012

Graduated ELA: July 2011

Now: Working as a Personal Fitness Trainer at SpaLady in Canyon Meadows AND co-owner and manager of the new Okotoks Catalyst Supplements store

Family: Single mom of 2 kids

Age: 35 years old

Energy boosting secret: Sundays off!

ELA: Where is your personal training career at?
P: I’m still training. I’m up at 4:30am every morning and do 4-5 sessions before coming to the Catalyst store every day at around 10. My clients are still very well taken care of. I’ve never cancelled on them or postponed their sessions because I now run Catalyst. Luckily the store doesn’t open until 10am and I’m able to fit both responsibilities in.

ELA: What led you to want to be a personal trainer?
P: I worked in retail for a long time and I loved being able to outfit a customer. I love the sensation of people walking out of my store and feeling great about themselves because of their great new outfit. I wanted more though. Now I hear stories every day of how training with me has changed my clients’ lives. For instance, one client now tells me that her shoulder no longer hurts when she lifts groceries out of her car. Or another is tells me that she can now hike for an hour and her knee doesn’t hurt, and it used to hurt after just 10 minutes. Giving that to people feels great!

ELA: In your training career thus far, have there been any embarrassing incidents?
P: The first time a client passed gas and I didn’t know what to do with myself. Do I laugh, say something, pretend it didn’t happen? Now we just laugh it off. It happens all the time.

ELA: Your clients must be fighting for you now, that your availability is limited to just mornings?
P: No. I’m still able to serve everyone. I put several clients into a group and train them together. But I also have one-on-ones that would prefer to train alone and I cater to them.

ELA: Anything you don’t like about personal training?
P: Getting up early. Aside from that, there’s nothing. I’m in a fantastic club and we’re like family. I love being there.

ELA: What advice do you have for people wanting to become a personal trainer?
P: Learn to read people’s body language. Learn to understand if someone’s uncomfortable, doesn’t want to do something or if they’re in pain. Many clients wont’ tell you if they’re in pain. Also, really cater to your client – wipe their mats, fill up their water bottles, listen to them, pay attention…be there 100%, don’t be staring off into space.

ELA: Are you happy with what you’re earning as a personal trainer?
P: Yes, I’m very happy with the pay. As long as a trainer is able to train the recommended amount of sessions, they’ll be happy with their earnings. Your employer will want you to be successful and will help you reach your goals.

ELA: So tell us about your new business – Okotoks Catalyst Supplements
P: It’s a franchise. Our goal is to have 75 stores within 5 years. My current position is as partner, owner and promotions manager for the Okotoks store. For the other stores I’m manager and promotions manager.

ELA: How did you come across Catalyst?
P: When I was a student at ELA, I had an assignment to go out and interview a trainer. I was running around to a bunch of gyms but all their trainers were busy. Then I happen to walk into the Avenida Catalyst store and there were 5 buff guys standing around. I was super intimidated but I explained that I needed to interview a trainer. I ended up interviewing Matt Greg, we continued to stay in touch and the rest is history.

ELA: So how did you decide to go ahead with the opportunity?
P: I had a lot of hesitation. I didn’t know if I could get financing. My life was a little hectic due to a separation from my ex. I went to 6 banks. All denied me. And then I happened to be training a client of mine, who happens to be a manager at a bank and she insisted that I come see her. She helped me get financing and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for her.

ELA: Coming in here doesn’t feel like any supplement store I’ve ever been to. It’s like a spa…but more like a mens’ spa.
P: That’s our goal. We don’t want to be your typical run-of-the-mill supplement store. We want to put together groupings/stacks of products. We want to follow up with our clientele. We run our brand on knowledge. We want our employees to know the products. Our staff have tried the products and can speak about them from personal experience and from the follow up we do with our customers. We keep to minimum amount of brands and guaranteed that somebody in the company has tried some, if not all the products.

ELA: Who started the company?
P: Company was started by Matt Gregg. First store opened in Avenida and has been open for 5 years and from there he expanded to the Crowfoot store, and now we’ve got this Okotoks location. He’s a fitness enthusiast and very business oriented.

ELA: Do you have a favourite product?
P: L-Carnitine is definitely a favourite. It’s a natural amino acid. Its only purpose is to metabolize fat and it’s a non-stimulant.

ELA: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
P: Work hard! Be prepared to give up your free time and work you’re a$$ off. Not all businesses have a quick return on investment and be prepared for that.

ELA: How have you been able to balance your family life and this?
P: I separated from my ex about a year ago. He gets the kids for a week and I get the kids for a week. When I have the kids, they actually help me give out flyers and I pay them. They’re understanding the value of money and that it takes hard work to earn. Plus we get to spend time together.

ELA: How have you been able to manage your health while doing all of this? You look great and you obviously have lots of energy.
P: Coffee, supplements, eating clean and always make sure I get my workouts in. If I don’t eat clean then I don’t have the energy. I can’t live off junk food. Also, I always get a workout in. Even if it’s at 10pm.

ELA: Why Okotoks for Catalyst?
P: We’re the only supplement store in Okotoks plus we serve all the surrounding small towns. Also, there’s a Tim Horton’s across the parking lot from us – that generates a lot of traffic through the area. It was a very strategic decision.

ELA: Anything else you’d like to share?
P: If you’re truly passionate about something, even if you’re working long days, it doesn’t feel like work. Life is too short to do a BS job every day. You don’t know where life is going to take you. Just step outside the box and go. The possibilities are endless.