Shanna Guzman: California Dreaming

Shanna Guzman: California Dreaming

Shanna Guzman: A Professional Coach Living the Dream in California

Shanna Guzman is basically living the coach’s dream.

She has 50 individual program design clients, who pay between US$235 and $300 a month, from which she earns 50 percent of their gross revenue.

So, you do the math…

Guzman is a professional coach pursuing a lifelong career, as opposed to a part-time job making $30 an hour in the fitness industry.

Oh, and she doesn’t have to spend 30 on-floor coaching hours for this. Guzman spends somewhere between 9 and 11.5 on-floor hours each week at OPEX Revival in San Rafael, California, a gym owned by CrossFit Games star Marcus Filly.

The rest of her time is spent programming, which accounts for another 9 hours a week, she said, and doing consults, which take up another 8 to 9 hours. 

All of this means Guzman has created a sustainable career for herself as a coach.

But for Guzman, it’s not really about the money, per se.

“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 PT client, so no income was coming in,” said Guzman, who has been working with Filly since 2012.

She added: “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.”

Not only does she credit working in an OPEX Gym with providing her a great life, she also credits what she learned during the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) for helping her with her clients on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s really all about relationship-building. I learned that through CCP: That was probably the biggest thing, because if I have a good relationship with them, it will help me retain them for a really long time and they’ll refer other people to me, so as long as I’m giving them something appropriate (programming-wise), it’s really the relationship stuff that’s the most valuable part,” she said. 

Guzman added: “I used to think it was all about getting the programming perfect, but I realized it’s just a small piece of the bigger picture, and now I’m like, ‘How can I be a sounding board to my clients?’ You know, like really listen to them and what they’re going through.”

That being said, the programming part is still important, she reiterated, and with the individual program design model, she’s way better able to help serve her clients’ unique needs. 

“Especially because we’re in a very suburban area, which means we have an older clientele, so we’re able to give clients programs that are better suited for them. Before, when it was CrossFit, it was like, ‘Hey come to our class. You’re doing Helen today,’ and that probably wasn’t what they needed,” she said.

As a result, Guzman said she would recommend CCP and working under the OPEX model to anyone looking to pursue a lifelong career in the fitness industry. 

“Why it’s really valuable is because there’s a language and a culture associated with OPEX now—a real system. The coaches all speak the same language and it provides a high level of coaching, where clients really get a high value,” she said.

And from the coach end, it provides a real chance to having a sustainable career as a professional coach. Take the first step to building your own career as a professional coach and sign up for 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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