From Clock Starter to Professional Fitness Coach

From Clock Starter to Professional Fitness Coach

Brandon Burchfield: From clock starter to professional fitness coach

Brandon Burchfield was tired of being “a clock starter.”

“Coaching was so time-consuming, and it didn’t seem necessary for me to be there every second to hold my clients’ hand along the way,” said the 28-year-old Burchfield.

He added: “It got to the point that I was so unfulfilled. I felt like a clock starter. You know, ‘3, 2, 1 Go.’ I wasn’t really making a difference in people’s lives.”

Burchfield wanted to find a way where he could do two things more effectively:

  1. Develop more independent clients who didn’t rely on him to hold their hand and babysit them through a workout
  2. Make a real difference in his client’s lives

OPEX Fitness provided the answer for Burchfield, who opened OPEX CDA in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in January 2019.

Prior to taking the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) and opening his OPEX licensed gym, Burchfield had gained experience in various avenues in the fitness industry. He started personal training in 2011, spent some time coaching small group classes, and then ran a CrossFit gym in North Carolina. While running that gym, Burchfield took CCP and realized, “this is what I want to do long-term,” he explained. 

First and foremost, Burchfield said CCP helped him discover his deeper purpose as a coach.

“It really helped me figure out what I wanted and why I coach,” he said, adding that he also got a lot out of learning about the OPEX assessment process. Get an introduction to our assessment process in this free course.

“It really opened my eyes to the idea that the assessment process doesn’t just happen at the beginning when someone new comes in,” he said.

“It’s a constant assessment—and then repeat and analyze—not just their physical capabilities and training metrics, but assessing them as a whole: work, stress, family, life balance, how they’re sleeping. Figure out their deeper purpose,” he said. 

As a result, Burchfield was convinced this was a better way to deliver fitness to clients and truly affect their lives beyond just starting a clock and watching them workout.

“I think it creates the most sustainable fitness in people’s lives. I also like that it helps create an independence in their fitness, so there isn’t this reliance, almost co-dependency, on a coach being there every moment,” he said.

This isn’t to say Burchfield doesn’t want to spend time with his clients. He connects with each of them monthly via a lifestyle consult, where he gets a chance to really dig into their lives. 

Because of this, Burchfield said his relationships with his clients are stronger than when he was a personal trainer or group class instructor.

Not only are his relationships with his clients stronger, but the individual program design model is a more effective way to deliver the physical aspect of fitness than the group class model, he explained.

“I see it as a lot healthier environment because there is this removed element of comparison with others in the group. In that model, people would push themselves beyond their limits and injure themselves. In this model, everyone is following a program designed for their personal capacity,” he said. 

After nine years in the industry, Burchfield said he finally feels like he’s a professional with an opportunity to have a lifelong career in the industry—someone who is doing so much more than just providing a hard workout.

“I can’t ever go back to counting reps again. Ever. This is the way forward,” he said. 

Get an introduction to the same method of coaching that allowed Burchfield to create that healthier environment in his gym and a lifelong career in fitness with the Free Coach’s Toolkit.


CrossFit® is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. OPEX Fitness’s uses of the CrossFit® mark are not endorsed by nor approved by CrossFit, Inc., and OPEX Fitness is in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by CrossFit, Inc.

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