Ronel Velasquez looks back on his early coaching days and cringes.
“I was coaching eight group classes a day and it was painful,” said Velasquez, a native of Venezuela currently living in Colombia, referring to his days coaching group classes when he owned the first CrossFit affiliate in Venezuela.
He knew the tedious lifestyle of coaching the same generic workout over and over to a group of people with all different kinds of wants and needs was not a long-term plan, not for him or his clients. And he quickly learned it wasn’t the path to becoming a professional career coach.
The moment he discovered OPEX back in 2014 was a hopeful one for him, he explained. He immediately resonated with OPEX’s concepts, especially the assessment pieces.
“At the time I don’t think I (knew) what assessment even (meant),” said the 34-year-old. But when he learned about it, “the concept of assessment emerged as the answer to my problems,” he added.
It was enough to get Velasquez to commit to learning as much as he could about Founder James FitzGerald and the OPEX method.
“Back then, they didn’t provide as much information like now, so I just tried to search the Internet looking for more information and listened to podcasts of people who were already involved,” he said.
When 2016 arrived, he knew he wanted to take the OPEX Coach Certificate Program (CCP), but couldn’t afford it, so he took the Programming: Principles course and soon the Programming: Mixed Modal course instead.
At the same time, he abandoned coaching group classes and started to grow his own business, made up of remote individual program design clients.
Then finally, last year, Velasquez was able to sign up for and complete the CCP, which he said was “life changing.”
“I learned so much about business and about the consulting portion of coaching. I had so many questions in my head about things I didn’t know much about, and everything I learned has helped me grow the business I love in the last year,” he said.
In fact, when he began the CCP, Velasquez had 15 clients. Today, he has 36, 28 of which are remote programming clients, and eight of which he trains out of a CrossFit gym near his house.
Not only has the CCP helped him establish himself as a knowledgeable coach, which has helped him bring in more clients, he said he’s much more capable of helping his clients now. In fact, he is adamant that OPEX education is unmatched.
“They provide their coaches with the best education, and provide coaches with principles and tools to help them build a real career and a business,” he said.
One of the biggest things Velasquez said sets him apart from other personal trainers and fitness coaches also comes from something he learned from OPEX: Be humble and never stop learning and growing as a coach.
“My difference (to other coaches) in South America is that I know what I don’t know,” he said.
Though he wants to continue to build his business—his ultimate goal is to become a Big Dawgs coach and to open a licensed OPEX gym one day—he already feels like he’s living the life he has always wanted: The life of a professional coach.
“Of course, I have a goal to keep growing, but I feel like I’m living (my ideal life). I grew my business a lot last year, and I feel proud,” he said.
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