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So you want to be a trainer?...


I get asked questions about breaking into the industry so often that I decided to write a blog about it. In the blog I'll be covering everything from the basics like how to get started to co branding a partnerships. I will continue to update the blog throughout the year so make sure you check back every few weeks.

Thanks for your support.

Ryan Lauderdale

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So you want to be a trainer/strength coach/performance coach/health & wellness professional? Well, you've come to the right place. Before I get int o the knitty gritty let me tell you a little about me.

I started in the industry in 2003 as a trainer at Ballys Total Fitness as a summer job. Honestly, I didn't take it seriously (typical college freshmen). My main focus at the time was school and football. However, I hit a point in life where I needed (was demanded by my father) to make my own money. So, I had a friend who also played on the team (Rest in peace Mike G) who got me hired at the gym. At that point in my life I was very so optimistic about my athletic potential and athletic pursuits that I never took that first job seriously. I thought I knew it all because I already had at least 4 training years under my belt through sports. Insert eye roll here. High school sports and Junior college sports (yes, I transferred into a D-1 to play football) at that time were somewhat the dark ages as a whole. There were a few elite programs with educated strength & conditioning coaches but the majority of us did anecdotal workouts that our coaches did as athletes in the 60's and 70's. All that to say I was extremely unqualified and undeserving. It actually reflected in my bi-weekly paycheck. It wasn't zero but I definitely couldn't support myself on it. I eventually had to quit to focus on the season and getting out to a D-1 program.

Through those college years I coached at QBR (Quarterback Receiver) camp, trained hard under a few great coaches (Fa'asamala Tagaloa, Chris Holder and Coach E), did extra workouts with friends after practice, received trophies for school wide bench max competitions, was an all-conference WR, transferred to a D-1 after a lot of hard work, got injured a few times, had 4 surgeries, rehabbed with top physical therapist (Stephania Bell of ESPN), competed in track & field and made it to state twice and placed 5th and after all that decided that I was moving back home to LA from the Bay Area. After failing at a few things including getting back on the field (had NFL and CFL tryouts and got injured before or during at both) I decided (because of my mom screaming at me everyday to get a job) to get a job at a gym. After working at 24 Hour Fitness Sport for less than a year a friend suggested that I join him at Equinox. At that point I finally started to take things seriously and went and got my NASM. Almost as soon as I passed my test I was hired. I learned a lot working for the company and knew going into it that I would get everything out of them that I could. While working for Equinox I also took an internship at Velocity sports performance that quickly turned into a full time coaching position.

The duality of sports and fitness really fit my interest and personality well. Maybe a year after taking on the position at velocity I heard about an opportunity to work for Nike through a co-worker. I didn't take it seriously at first because it seemed too movie like. I mean c'mon, who has the opportunity to work for a company they grew up loving and never thought such a thing was possible? After she initially told me there was a two month gap of silence. One day I asked her about the opportunity again and she got on the phone with her friend who worked for an agency who worked directly with Nike and she wanted to hop on the phone. She had me email her my resume, CVV, Film reel, headshots etc. Mind you I was a coach and trainer, not a model (at the time) but somehow just weeks before I went with a friend to do a sports modeling shoot. She didn't want to go by herself because I think she found the guy through craigslist. It was an unpaid job but we were able to keep the final selects. He was an underwater photographer but wanted to build up his sports portfolio to expand his brand. I immediately sent everything I had over to the agency and was asked to come into the Nike office in LA the next week. I didn't know what I was walking into but definitely didn't know it was going to be a 7 person panel interview. Instead of being nervous I was invigorated. It was the best interview I had ever done. I thought I'd get a call the next week saying I was hired. It didn't happen that way. I didn't hear anything from them. At first I thought I did something wrong. I confided in best friend and he gave me some advice that changed my life. he told me that if I wanted it then I would have to show them. So, that exactly what I did. I updated my website (back then people really didn't have sites or good ones for that matter), resubmitted projects I was involved with and more. One day six moths later I received a call asking what I was doing on a Tuesday to which I responded, whatever you tell me I'm doing.

That moment was about 7 years ago and since being with Nike I have traveled the world, led thousands through workouts, been featured in many sports modeling ads, worked as trainer tech on tier 1 shoots with top sports talent, rubbed shoulders with nike elite athletes and executives, contributed to online and digital content, worked with footwear/apparel development teams, pitched many ideas, and have been involved in many high dollar amount projects and much more.

Now when people ask me how to get involved with Nike, they don't know the story. The aforementioned is only just a fragment of what it took for me to get to this point. There were many hours of self doubt but doing regardless. There were many hours of studying and multiple 5 hours test. Many failures but doing it anyway because somewhere inside me I believed in something. I honestly didn't realize until recently that what I was believing in was myself the whole time.

If you're going to start a path in the sports performance/health & fitness industries I'd highly recommend you know your why and believe in yourself even when everything seems its darkest.

Ok, enough about me, lets bring it back to you. Below I'm going to post bullet points that will act as chapters. In each bullet point I will expand upon it as throughly as I can so that you have as much information you need to decide for yourself. I'm not your guru! Meaning, I'm not telling you what to do. I'm merely providing you with anecdotal and factual evidence that may create a clearer picture in your mind as to your career choices in this industry. That being said I hope you find this helpful. If you have further questions, click the contact us link and send them through. I will respond to them here in this blog so that everyone can see and hopefully it can help someone else as well.

>Know your why?

>Make it about others

>Education

>Certifications

>What should I do next?

>I don't want to be a trainer but I love learning


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