Transcript of the Show
** This transcript was auto-generated. It may have typos and innaccuracies.
Good morning, everybody. And welcome to the third episode in our premier fitness podcast series, which lips to lift the lid off our fabulous sector. And here real life motivational and inspirational stories. The title of this episode is rich for the stars as I have done a full s club, seven pose.
And I'm delighted to have with me the very successful personal trainer is Mr. David Kingsbury. Welcome, David, thank you so much for spending the this hour with me. And I'm glad that you just fit me in. Welcome. Good morning.
Thanks very much. I was an absolute pleasure. And thank you for inviting me on.
Oh, no, no, it's some we are absolutely delighted. Now you've got a really fascinating story to share with our listeners. And I guess the first thing I wanted to ask you is exactly how long have you been in the business?
So I actually qualified as a personal trainer in 2007. So I've been I've been doing this for a little while. And I qualified obviously with, you know, with you guys.
Yeah, and you know, so back to sort of 2007 had you always planned on being a personal trainer was always the plan.
So for me, I got into personal training, straight from college. So I was I was 17, when I started the personal training qualification, and I was 18 by the time I finished it. And, you know, I've always been very, very passionate about health and fitness. And in particular, my own exercise and training, and I've competed to, you know, a high level in various sports, and that type of thing.
And so for me getting into coaching and personal training was the opportunity to continue my own, you know, training because it was where I saw my my life going, but also to then involve that with within my career as well.
So, a friend of mine had done the personal training course with you guys as well. And he was doing really, really well. He's very successful. And he actually, you know, he recommended to me at that time. And yeah, I went to I went straight, you know, straight into a straight from college and got myself qualified.
Excellent. Well, that's lovely to hear. Lovely to hear. And what So you said that you were really into kind of sports? But you know, did you did you have that sort of overwhelming desire to kind of help people, you know, at a certain level? Or, you know, did you did you sort of have a plan in terms of where you wanted to specialize at that point?
Yeah, I mean, so I, you know, when I came into it, at that point, there I was, I was very interested in sports performance, and that side of things, and I saw myself potentially heading down that route working, possibly with athletes, and, and those types of, you know, in those types of areas.
And as I got started, you know, I really enjoyed working with people and helping them reach their goals. Even before I qualified, I would do things like I was a member of a cycling club, and I would help out coaching the circuit training sessions and this type of thing.
And so so for me, I was, you know, I was very much interested in health, you know, already already at that stage before starting, I was very interested in helping people to reach their goals and helping people to become fitter, healthier, whether that would have been specific goals for, you know, their individual sports or activities, or just general health and wellness. I was, you know, I was definitely interested in that something coming into it.
And would you and we're not obviously we can't at the moment because of the COVID restrictions, but would you rent, would you recommend that for people that are kind of doing their training maybe to come in, or to go and help out where they can and to kind of get a bit of experience to build confidence?
Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I mean, for me, when I when I qualified, I wasn't a confident trainer initially. And I, you definitely have to gain experience to build confidence. And when you start to see positive results with people and you start to see, you know, the positive changes you can make for someone's in someone's life, it really does help to build your confidence as a coach and as a personal trainer, so that you can, you know, be confident enough to help more people ultimately.
And for me, that was it was quite a slow process when I first qualified. But I, you know, I stuck at it, I worked really hard at it. And, and my confidence grew over the years once I once I'd actually qualified.
It's interesting that you say that you weren't very confident, because I would say that potentially, that is quite a common thing. Can I just check where the lack of confidence was coming from?
Was it the lack of confidence in terms of you were worried that you wouldn't be able to learn the material was your training or was it the fact that you worried, you know, how were you going to communicate with your potential clients, or was it something else?
Yeah, I mean, so so for me a lot of that confidence. Initially would have been, not necessarily around the delivery of the training and things like that. But it would have potentially been more around the actual kind of outreach and trying to speak to more people trying to get more interest trying to find new clients, and those types of things.
You know, that was an area for me where i, where i did lacked confidence, I did feel that once I was working with someone, I was always quite confident in those situations, but a lot of the year was more around the outreach and trying to find clients and to get clients was where I was quite nervous. I think and not very confident. I think, for me, you know, being a personal trainer in 2007, and I was only 18 years old.
I think that, that, you know, I felt that perhaps people wouldn't pay me that seriously, because I was new to the industry, I was very young, and these types of things. And I think that's part of the reason why. But as I started to gain clients and gain confidence, that all changed quite quickly.
And did it kind of just it did it sort of increased with each client that you began working with, because I think you're right, you know, just being kind of a team, you know, the, you know, isn't that much life experience?
So, so, you know, did you did you find that, you know, as you progress from, you know, client, one client to, you know, to do sort of thing? Right, okay, so I've learned from that, I won't do that again, or maybe I should do more of this?
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. So it, absolutely, there was, you know, a learning process there. And, you know, I, I went into the industry by myself quite early on. And so I, you know, I was not necessarily, you know, I wasn't working in gyms and things like this, I worked in a couple of gyms first, and then I actually worked in a private personal training studio.
And then I went, I went out on my own basically. And so, you know, when, when you're going after on your own completely, you know, you do have to be quite proactive in terms of trying to find new business and all these types of things. And, you know, for me, a lot of that confidence came and was, you know, it did come once I actually started to get more clients in and so to work through the process.
And, you know, I think when you realize clients really enjoy it, and they're gonna continue training with you for months and years. Of course, your confidence builds with that. And that's, you know, and you learn a huge amount from that process as well.
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And one thing I just read, just, you know, clarify with you and just to, you know, protect to get your agreement on is, it's okay, isn't it not to feel confident? Would you say that's quite a normal feeling when
you're doing? Absolutely, absolutely, I think, you know, confidence comes from experience for for a lot of people, I mean, some people are naturally very confident, and they are going to find it a little bit easier starting out, but then you know, for any, for anyone that is feeling, you know, that they're not particularly confident those situations, I've felt exactly the same way.
And, and, you know, what, whilst it may, it may make it a little bit harder getting started, in the long run, you're going to be able to power through that, and you're gonna be able to really build on that and, and to get to gain that confidence in, in every area of the of the fitness business.
Yeah, I think you make a really good point, actually, over the last couple of sentences that you've just sort of said, though, you know, maybe it's a good idea to sort of clarify and get some clarity with yourself as to what you're not actually confident in.
So you know, quite clearly said there that it was more around the outreach that you weren't so confident in, you know, so almost that's like, Okay, so that's the bit I'm not confident, what can I do about that? Well, thankfully, there's so many places that we can look now can't be for experiments, advice, etc. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. You know, as a, as opposed to just thinking, I'm not confident period is actually what is it for everything?
Or is it just this one particular part. So you almost break things down to make things to make things seem a bit easier. So I would say, it's probably quite ballsy to say that you're going to go in on your own and mess up your business because you were quite young to set up your own business. How did you what what made you decide that you're going to just set up your own business?
For me, I, you know, I've never really had any jobs as such. And so it wasn't, you know, it wasn't a it wasn't something I was used to so I'd had, you know, jobs at college and I worked in a bike shop and then obviously, I went and worked in a few gyms and things like this.
And I've done jobs when I was younger, and but I never really, you know, I never really sort of had any any long term jobs at that point. And I just, I just felt like I wanted to do you know, I just wanted to go go and do it by myself. Basically, I've always I've always liked the idea of having my own business and, and being responsible for everything I do.
And and so for me, it was a very natural, a very, you know, I didn't make a decision. It's just it was just what I always knew I want to play. And yeah, it so waco and David. Yeah, so yeah, absolutely just something I naturally, I always knew I was going to go down the route of setting up my own business. And yes, it was just a natural natural thing for me to do.
And can you tell me how and and our listeners how you did build your client base, because it was something that everybody would find really useful to hear. Because that is that can be a challenge, if we're not known in the industry, and it can be quite daunting.
And from my own experience, I don't know, if you agree, it's not an overnight thing, not unless you're really famous, you can just command, you know, loads of people that are going to follow you and then want to come and train with you. So what was your strategy for building that client base?
Yeah, so I mean, you know, with, with what I've done over the years, I think, is quite interesting, because it'd be quite different to the approach that a lot of a lot of a lot of people we taking now, and different to the approach that I potentially recommend, as well. So, for me starting out, like, I opened my own personal training studio within a film studio.
So that was my first, you know, that was my first attempt, having my own business. And when you're in the compounds of a film studio, you have to, you know, conventional, conventional marketing doesn't really exist, because, and this is before, you know, a long time before social media and things like this as well. So you know, and it really was a very heavy reliance on word of mouth, which I still think is, is the most powerful tool for personal trainers.
And it's still where, you know, I take a couple of personal training clients a year, and that's it. And currently, and there is always word of mouth for my personal training clients. And, you know, looking back to when I first started, and I'd opened up this tiny PT studio within the film studio, it was it was, you know, that was a routine for me. So what I initially did was, obviously, like I said, there's no social media or anything like that. And I don't think people should rely too heavily on those things, either.
But I, I went round, and I knocked on doors. Basically, I did leaflet drops within the studio, and I knocked on doors, I went round to the offices, I let people know that I was that I was at the studio. Within the film studio, there's obviously places that you can't, and you can't go. So I was limited to the certain areas. And obviously, there is a limited amount of internal marketing you do. But I spoke to as many people as possible. And there was, you know, there was a captive audience of people there, there's, you know, it's a business park essentially.
So I was able to get my first few clients quite quickly. And then from there, it was a case of, you know, word of mouth and referrals until I was up to, you know, at that point in time I was training, you know, it's probably 5050 to 60, personal training sessions a week, something like that.
Wow. Wow. And what did you What did you concentrate on, when you were having those first few sessions with those people, what was really at the forefront of your mind apart from obviously giving superduper technical advice, but what were you really concentrating on to be able to come back to you and recommend?
Yeah, so I mean, you know, client experiences is, is the most important part of it, in my opinion. So obviously, there's a results side of things. And people want to see results. But if they enjoy the experience, and it just becomes so much easier for them, to recommend people and for them to continue training with you.
So, you know, it's just, you know, making sure that your support, you know, very supportive, you're very encouraging. And, and you know, you're doing everything you can so that every single session, they look forward to, and they enjoy their time with you. And so they're going to continue to train long term.
You know, I'd say I'm not I'm not the hardest trainer in the world, I don't push people to the limits of recession or anything like that. Because I do feel that you get the best out of, you know, you get the best out of your clients, if they if they're going to enjoy their sessions, and if they're going to train consistently.
And so, you know, focusing on how to deliver that is, you know, in my opinion is one of the most important things because it does mean you're gonna get more referrals, and it doesn't mean you're gonna get more positive, you know, positive feedback, basically.
Absolutely, absolutely. And, you know, if you were setting up your business now, do you think there would be any changes to what you would kind of do in terms of that process? Would you still follow?
You know, that kind of word of mouth, even if you were doing it through social media through a different medium? Would you still kind of follow the same principles? Do you think or would you change things?
Yeah. So I mean, you know, you know, fast forward to now and I have, you know, I've got a couple of gyms, and I've got an online personal training business and then I've also and then I also still do work within the film industry. So, you know, at that point in time, I you know, I like I started trying to earn 50 to 60 personal training sessions a week, and then I actually worked my way into the, into the actual onset, you know, working with film productions, training actors, and I worked into that side of things.
And then, you know, once I did that, you know, go from doing 50 to 60 sessions a week to just doing one session a day and only having one client at any given time. And so the route there is very different. And it's similar now, for my one on one Personal Training, because I will only work with one or two clients a year in person. And that's done on a contract base basis, with the film contract. And again, that is word of mouth work, you cannot market for that work, you cannot advertise for that work, you know, is I get recommended. And, you know, I'm established in that side of things.
So there is, you know, a difference or marketing process around that. But with the gyms and with the online training, and those types of things, which are going to be more similar in terms of like wanting to generate numbers of clients and things like this, so that you can work that way.
I will be using social media, because we do use social social media, we run paid advertising, you know, large amounts of paid advertising. And then also we do local outreach, as well, for the local businesses, you know, partnerships, joint ventures, you know, lots of different routes at the moment that are very, you know, that can be very, very successful. forge is much easier now, in some respects to, to get noticed, and it was, you know, all those years ago.
Yeah, definitely, definitely. So you kind of literally just dropped in there that, you know, you're working with actors and things, and it all sounds very, very exciting. So So there's your, there's your kind of service differ when you're dealing with your celebrity clients to when you're dealing with, you know, someone like me, for instance,
did yeah, so I mean, it is different, you know, when you're, when you're on those contracts, you know, you work full time for the, for the individual, so the film studio hires you, and you're working full time for that person.
So if you only have one client, it's obviously much easier to you know, focus on every, every area of that person's lifestyle, as well as the training itself, and to manage every part of it very, very closely. And so yeah, it's definitely a slightly different process. Because, obviously, when you are training high numbers of clients, you know, having the additional time to manage all other elements can be quite challenging. But when you are working with just one person, you can really focus the attention, the you know, the actual principles, of course, remain the same.
You know, you get the the training is going to be very similar, the nutrition is gonna be very similar, but it's a way in which you can deliver and support the changes. And the main reason you, you know, you work in that way, with only one client at a time in that industry, or it's, in some films, I will obtain more than one. I mean, in one film, in particular, to live up to 18 people, but there, you know, there are, you know, generally it's going to be working with one or two clients.
And it's just you, the reason it works that way is to be just because you need the flexibility in your schedule to train them when they need to be trained, and to help them with the nutrition when they need to be helped. Because the nature of their work is so unpredictable, that you have to just be available, you have to have that flexibility to make it work.
I guess so. Yeah, I guess so. So are you allowed to name job? Come on, tell us some famous people? Well,
I mean, I've, I've trained, I've tried a lot of people, you know, I've trained over 250 actors and actresses now in the last 10 years. And you know, so people like Chris Hemsworth, and Ryan Reynolds, and Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chester, I mean, loads and loads of different people, to varying, you know, to varying levels of, you know, some people I will have just done a handful of sessions with, because they'll have been at the film studio while I was there.
So like, with Chris Hemsworth, for example, I did a few sessions with him while he was shooting a film at Pinewood.
Whereas with other actors, I followed them around the world for four years, or three years, or whatever it might be. So, you know, to varying levels, but you know, like I said, we, you know, I've worked with over over 50 actors and actresses now in the last 10 years, wow. So you've you've, you've, you've been able to train actors and actresses and travel the world that sounds awful.
Well, so, you know, the travel on, you know, the travel with the films is the best and the worst past, the best, the best and the worst bit about the work in some respects, because it can't, you know, it makes it difficult to, to sustain that alongside having a relatively normal life. You know, in my experience, for some people, that's no issue and that's absolutely fine.
But you know, I'm married, I've got children. And so the travel side of things becomes, you know, a little bit less attractive as as your business progresses as your, you know, as other areas in your life progress. I mean, if I look back a few years, there'll be years where I was abroad for 11 months, in a year.
You know, the the average contract loads on a film might be five or six months, and you might be abroad the whole time. If you do two films in a year or three films in a year, then in I think 2012, I was at home for three weeks.
Wow. That's tough. That's time. Yeah. That's when you have to decide, okay, so you've put your, you sort of put your heart and soul into your business, that it's like, okay, you really need to sort of commit to it. And I guess you need a really supportive network at home. You know, kind of, because they're almost kind of doing the journey with you really, aren't they in terms of building that business, even though they're not directly involved in that poster face?
It's, it's just really important to have somebody if you are, you know, in a relationship or whatever, and you've got commitments that are prepared to kind of be that, you know, be that rock feel, I guess?
Yeah, definitely. I mean, you know, when when the children were younger, we would go away as a, you know, as a family together, you know, I've got kids at school, and I've got my daughter at school now. So, but before that, you know, if I was on a phone contract, and there are a way for, you know, eight weeks or 12 weeks, we would all go. And, and you know, that was it, that made it a lot more manageable, obviously.
I'm very, very, I'm incredibly fortunate, I've got a very good team of personal trainers that work with me. And so now, you know, if we get offered a job training, you know, training someone in Saudi Arabia for six months, or something like this, I can, I can actually send another trainer. And so I don't have to do all of the I don't have to do all of the training myself, which is, you know, it's a very fortunate position to be in.
So Well, yeah, all we know, we could say that all of that hard work has paid off if you're able to employ people, how many people do you employ? Or do you weren't where it was?
So I mean, I don't know I haven't, I've never, I've never counted it up. So I've got within the two gyms. I think there's seven or eight people. Within within the film, personal train, there's two or three coaches who are my go to? And then for my own for my online business, for the online fitness business. I think there's about 16 people in that at the moment.
Wow, that's absolutely incredible. Absolutely incredible, and very inspirational. How have you found this last year?
Yeah, it's been tough. I think any any personal trainer, anyone that works in fitness will have seen, experienced, experienced a lot of challenges over the last 12 months. And, you know, that's no different for me, you know, we've had two gyms closed for what, 10 months over, you know, in the last 12, or whatever it might be. And so certain elements of it have been very challenging. We, the online side of things is grown in the last 12 months.
As, as gyms close, more people are unsure of how to train at home and having more support and guidance around that, obviously, has been a big part of what we've done. And then also, you know, there's there's exemption, certain exemptions within the film industry. So we have been able to continue on some of that work as well. The exemptions within the film industry, they have very, very strict COVID testing protocols and stuff like this. So it does allow for that is allowed for that industry to continue at that, you know, to a certain extent.
Yeah. And so, you had an online business before? locked down? Yeah. Okay,
yes. So I actually, I started online Personal Training in 2012. And it was the year that I was abroad the most. And, you know, the reason I, the reason I started doing it, then it was, it was that transition between, you know, for me being a very busy personal trainer to, you know, have a fixed location to being someone who had no fixed location.
And I still wanted to continue to work with more than just one person at a time. And so online training was the only way I could do that. And so I was, I was I was working on a film, I was in Atlanta, in Atlanta, in Georgia. And it was like, hammering down with rain.
And, you know, I was in this trailer, and it was just like, you know, for days, and I just, rather than just like watch stuff on Netflix, and wait for my next session, I thought, right, I'm gonna be a bit more productive than this. And so I started the online personal training stuff then in 2012.
So that was really, you know, every sort of forward thinking thing for you to do. And, you know, how did that did that take off quite quickly, or was it a third pro process?
No, I mean, that took off quite quickly. You know, at that time, I was doing a lot of, I was actually doing a protein on. Just afterwards, I did a big press tour for one of the films I worked on. So I worked on a film with the Wolverine. And I did the press tour for us. We traveled the world on the press tour, and did interviews in all over the place and did some big TV appearances and things like that.
So, you know, my website at the time, it hadn't even got a lot of traffic and stuff like that. So that side did grow. It grew back relatively quickly.
And Then through this period Have you have you found? Has it given you an advantage? I would say, because you've already kind of doing the whole online thing that you, you know, you were able to just adapt, you know, have your team also adapted to online? Or, you know, have they, you know, been been doing like, you know, one on one outside stuff when they can?
Yeah, so, I mean, it's quite interesting, because as you know, as personal trainers were forced to not deliver Personal Training in person in the same way that, you know, there's been a big transition to like zoom personal video, personal training, and this type of thing, with, with our, with my online personal training business, that's not what we do.
And so we haven't changed that business at all. In the last in the last few years, in the sense of, we haven't, you know, adapted it to to COVID, we've continued to do it in the same way that we've, that we've, you know, that we've, that we've been doing it, obviously, the, the way in which we work is always developing and always improving, but we don't, you know, we don't do zoom training, or we don't do any of those types of things within that business.
The people that work with us, our clients in that business, are slightly different to the gym crowds. And so with, with the gyms themselves, yes, we do run zoom sessions. And yes, we do run those types of things, because it's more in line with the, you know, the, the experience that client is used to and potentially that that person wants, versus people that are looking more of a, you know, a programming and coaching versus an actual Personal Training, you know, then the two, you know, the two things are quite different in my experience.
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And it's very, very interesting, actually, very interesting. Your, your whole take on that. So in terms of in terms of David, and kind of the plans for your business, let's kind of forward pace ourselves a few months, and things are beginning to return back to whatever our new normal is going to be. What are your plans for the future?
Yes, so I'm, you know, whilst while it's, whilst it's been a tough year, I'm incredibly optimistic about what you know, about the future for personal trainers. And so, you know, for health and fitness businesses in general, because one thing that the last 12 months has done massively, is, is really emphasize the importance of being healthy. Right.
And it sounds, it sounds fairly obvious the importance of being healthy. But, you know, I do think that there is, you know, there is more understanding around the benefits of it now, you know, aside from just being, you know, aside from whether someone's obese or not obese or whether someone is overweight, or not overweight, you know, once people start to understand the, the, you know, the real benefits of being healthy or being fitter, being a healthy way of looking after, you know, looking after yourself with the correct nutrition, and these types of things. I do think that, you know, health and fitness is going to see a really, really good surge over the next few years.
And I do hope that we'll continue along past that as well. I hope it's something that, you know, the government will get back to, you know, get behind as well, and, you know, really help to encourage people and emphasize the importance of it. So I do think it's an area that's going to really grow, I think they'll probably be changes within how, you know, how the industry operates. I don't think that, you know, I certainly don't think the personal training is, you know, there's always going to be a really, really strong place for personal training. And just because things are having to be done online at the moment, doesn't mean that that's, that's going to stay the same, you know, for one on one personal training and group training and things like that.
For anyone that runs fitness businesses, they'll have seen as soon as that was really, you know, as soon as within these lockdowns, there were kind of releases where we could start to do things again, we saw massive floods of people joining in, and it just shows that people do you know, I mean, in my experience, it shows that people will return and they will return quickly and, and we will get we'll get more people that maybe haven't done that side of things before.
Maybe they were just a gym, you know, a gym goer before. But now they realize that actually, if they want to be more productive with their time and and get more out of it, then they're going to they're going to seek a bit more expertise and support.
Yeah, absolutely. And you know what, I think it's something I think it's something as simple as, particularly like through the first lockdown when the weather was a little bit kinder to us. I think people have benefited from simply get going out for a walk because people have thought, I can't stay indoors all day, I can't sit in front of a laptop all day I'm going to get out and walk and for I think people have really begun to understand the correlation between moving and feeling mentally better about themselves, if that makes sense.
So I agree with you. I think there is going to be a real surge in this sector now and I'm glad that you feel that way. And you know, what would you say would be and will kind of bring this to a close what would you say with all your experience and none of us have got, you know, a crystal ball but what would be your your one bit of advice for anybody that's maybe a gym owner kind of struggling with their challenges.
Right now, or someone is looking to come into the sector or someone that is qualified and normally employed in the gym, what would be the one bit of advice that you would give?
Yeah, so I mean, I think, you know, there's advice I would give right now. And then there's advice I'll give in, you know, in a few months, when things reopen, I think for now, it's a case of just trying to, you know, keep yourself established as, as an expert in what you do in the area you are, and I think that's the most important thing is to continue to continue to promote and can continue to be very active, so that when things do reopen, that that, you know, you will be front and center of mind, I think that's the most important thing for now.
And then, you know, moving forward from there, I think, you know, if someone's looking to come into personal training, and set themselves up as a personal trainer, just having a, you know, a good a very clear idea of, of, you know, how they want to work where they want to work, and having a, you know, having a really good understanding of the foundations of happiness around what what it what it's going to take to be successful in personal training.
And, you know, having a really good understanding of the areas that they need to focus on to get to that point. So a lot of people, they just think about their actual clients and their sessions.
But you know, just being being very productive in managing your your time, your diary, your marketing, your outreach, the location in which you're training clients, because I do think there's going to be some changes around some of those things. So just being, you know, just when we do get the opportunity to reopen, and to go back to whatever the normal is going to be, it's just having everything organized so that you can hit the ground running.
Definitely, I think that's really good advice. And as well as making sure that you are correctly qualified, I think you've I'm sure you will agree is really, really important. David, it's been an absolute pleasure to speak to you.
And at some point, I'm really hoping that we'll be able to meet in person one day, and you know, maybe maybe I can, you know, come and meet for someone or, you know, famous that'd be really cool. But no one's ever said that to you before they.
I mean, it's funny, because we bring, you know, a lot of these a lot of the actors that we train, they come and train in, you know, in the gyms will often have their members when people say, that look like so and so it's like, yeah, that's because, you know, it's because it was so and so. It's always, it's always quite a funny one.
brilliant, brilliant. Well, it's been really delightful to speak to you and I'm so pleased that you are doing well and that is you know, probably because of your great positive mental attitude. And we should catch up very soon.
Fantastic. No, I really appreciate it. Susie, thanks very much for having me on. Thank you for your time. Take care. You too.