Sofia Rizzo had all but given up ever being able to make a true living as a full-time professional coach.
And who could blame her?
Rizzo began personal training, and dabbling in coaching group classes, in 2017 and found it challenging to build her client book big enough and charge enough money without burning out from working way too many hours a week. As a result, she kept coaching on a part-time basis and continued working a full-time job.
“I didn’t have enough clientele and it was such a saturated market,” said Rizzo, who lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
“And it almost felt like a catch-22. I was preaching healthy living, meanwhile I was working 50 hours a week, and I was never comfortable quitting my full-time job for a job I only seemed to be able to make a part-time one,” she added.
Then the pandemic rolled around in 2020 and gyms across the province shut down “for the longest time,” Rizzo said. This left her with a decision to make: Should she continue coaching, or move on from the fitness industry altogether?
She looked into becoming a firefighter, and she looked into going into policing, but something told her to give coaching one more shot. So she signed up for the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP).
Two years later and Rizzo is a full-time, professional coach with 28 clients—9 of whom are personal training clients while the rest are individual design ones—who pay between $250 and $800 a month each.
“OPEX helped me to increase my revenue by 75 percent, something I never truly thought was possible,” said Rizzo, who quit her other full-time job to be a full-time coach in April 2021.
Not only that, OPEX helped Sofia “find my purpose again,” she explained, by helping her turn a passion and part-time job into a career.
“I learned so many incredible lessons from CCP—programming concepts, understanding systems, etc.—but my favorite was the business component. I learned how to make this something I can sustain for life, as opposed to living paycheck to paycheck,” Rizzo said.
“Just little things, like the way I was charging people, were so unsustainable. I had to keep track of all their sessions and send them emails after each session, but OPEX got me to switch to sending a monthly invoice and get rid of the hourly rate, which has helped increase my client retention as it holds people accountable automatically,” she explained.
Today, Rizzo spends Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays in the gym coaching clients, while Tuesdays and Thursdays are dedicated to programming for her individual design clients.
“It really has made me realize how frickin' exhausting personal training was. I was just like grinding it out every hour of the day, and you had to be in the gym so much. Now I’m only in the gym 15 hours a week,” she said.
As a result, Rizzo urges all coaches looking to turn their passion into a full-time career to invest in CCP.
“I just think it’s the most well-balanced education because it’s so much more than just learning about programming. You wear so many hats when you work as a coach, and so many people aren’t good at the business aspect, and I just really appreciated how that was a focus in CCP. We talked about the importance of client retention and how to advertise and how to find the right clients, and it wasn’t something I gave any thought to before,” she said.
Rizzo added: “This way of coaching is so much more sustainable. I’m a healthier person. I’m a happier coach.”
If you’re a fitness professional or want to become one, you need an education grounded in principles. One that prepares you for a career in the ever-changing landscape of the fitness industry. Enter the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP), the gold standard of education for individualized coaching and program design.
CCP not only bridges the gap between the classroom and the gym floor but also gives you the opportunity to develop your own creative style under the mentorship of our founder and expert instructors. Apply to join our next cohort today and become the coach you’ve always imagined.
Download our free curriculum guide today and learn how you can grow as a fitness coach with our Coaching Certificate Program (CCP).