If you’re part of the millennial generation, this concept was drilled into us back in grade school, and perpetuated once we graduated high school and had to start considering career options.
The idea makes sense on paper: Find a career we’re passionate about and we’ll automatically be more successful. And we’ll have fun in the process, so it won’t even feel like work.
Turns out, our grade school teachers were wrong. All this concept did was create a delusional world for us, where we falsely believed doing what we love will automatically lead to a lucrative career.
Never is this more true than when it comes to pursuing a career in the fitness industry, an industry where most coaches are working in a broken business model. The reality: It’s next to impossible to earn a decent living, let alone earn a professional wage, without burning out.
Hence OPEX Founder James FitzGerald’s recent social media post: ‘Coach Tip: Do what you love, the money will follow; the first part is true.’
Countless personal trainers and group class instructors have learned this lesson the hard way: They don’t see long-term, career potential, so they quickly leave the industry to find a career where they can make a better living.
Others, however, recognize the problem isn’t with their passion per se, and they seek a more effective business model that will, indeed, let them do what they love and earn a respectable living pursuing a lifelong career as a coach.
Each of them used to be personal trainers or group class coaches, who burned the candle at both ends, and soon found themselves doing what they loved, but ironically they no longer loved what they were doing.
Eventually, each of them turned to OPEX, completed their Coaching Certificate Programs (CCP) and have turned the ship around.
Today, each of them is now able to work a manageable number of on-floor hours, can take paid vacations, is fulfilled because their clients see better results, is earning a better living, and sees long-term career growth potential as professional coaches. (each is singular)
Vaghayenegar explained: “I found personal training was more babysitting than anything else.”
Enter OPEX: “From the way you assess the client to the program design, it just made sense. Coming from the group model, where everyone was just doing the same thing, I always knew there was a better way.”
Guzman added: “One of the biggest things is I can go on a two-week vacation and I still get paid, whereas when I was coaching at a CrossFit gym, if I left for two weeks, I wasn’t getting paid because I wasn’t teaching a class or (wasn’t) on the floor with a personal training client, so no income was coming in,” said Guzman.
“The other big thing is I’m 42. I mean, I’m still young, but being on the floor coaching classes 24/7 wouldn’t be sustainable for me. I’m not an ageist, but if you’re a 22 or 23 year-old, sure, coach 20 classes a week with all the energy in the world. But that’s just not sustainable long-term. So yeah, it’s great that I make more money this way, too, but what’s of even more value to me is that I can still be doing this job at 55 years old.”
Scott Brewer, who used to manage a CrossFit facility, explained it this way: “I realized I didn’t believe in what I was doing anymore,” he said.
“Coaches weren’t able to make a good living so coach turnover was absolutely ridiculous. One day I could actually do my job and the next day I had to cover five classes because we just lost coaches,” added Brewer. He now owns an OPEX-licensed gym.
Smith’s story: “I was so over babysitting adults,” she said.
“(The group class) system doesn’t set the coaches up to win, so there’s so much turnover because it’s just not sustainable for them as a career. It’s fine as a part-part-time job or maybe for a college student just starting out, but there’s no long-term win,” she added.
Stuart had a similar experience.
“I had a long conversation with my wife about what our future looked like. I could have kept running the gym in my sleep, but it wasn’t challenging me, and it wasn’t providing me anything more than just being a cheerleader for my clients,” said Stuart, another OPEX-licensed gym owner and coach.
As an OPEX coach, Stuart said he’s much better able to help his clients, by educating them to recognize where they’re at, where they want to go, and what they’re willing to do to get there. It’s a more responsible and long-term approach to fitness, he explained.
“Before, we were fast-tracking people, but (health and fitness) is actually the opposite,” he said. Long-term change is slow and steady.
Today, Stuart explained, he has a business and a “life that is worth living,” he said.
Doing what he loves.
Considering this, maybe our teachers weren’t totally wrong after all when they told us to do what we love. It was just an incomplete thought.
They should have prefaced with: Do some research. Seek a system that works. And then do what you love.
Want to make a sustainable career out of your love for health and fitness? Learn how our professional system of coaching can help you do just that. Sign up for our free course today.
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