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Alumni-Turned-Employer Spotlight: Ryan Heffernan

by Meaghan posted October 4, 2016

Today, we have an interview with FPTI alum and Focus Integrated Fitness Personal Training Manager, Ryan Heffernan.


When did you graduate from FPTI?

I graduated in December 2012 and was immediately hired by Focus Integrated Fitness.


What exactly are you doing now in the fitness industry?

I am currently the Personal Training Manager for Focus. I manage 13 trainers, three of which operate in Los Angeles. Additionally, I still train a handful of clients. This helps me to stay current in the industry, as well as better relate to the daily rigors of being an in-home trainer in NYC.


What are the benefits and drawbacks of your work?

The main benefit of my position is that I get to help mentor and develop up-and-coming trainers. A lot of my success as a trainer, and now as a PTM, can be accredited to the mentors who I’ve had the privilege to work with throughout my career. Another benefit of my role is that I am now involved in the pairing of new clients with trainers. As it can be a very delicate process of matching the right trainer with a new client, I believe that my years of training clients with all different types of personalities, goals, contraindications, etc. allows me to make for better pairings when it comes to new clients.

One drawback of my position now is that I spend more time at a desk than I ever anticipated. While I initially liked the switch from commuting all over the city, I now find it difficult to sit with good posture, which is something that I have always preached to my clients. I does help me empathize with them, however. I also miss some of the clients that I have had to transition to other trainers. But this is a positive in the sense that I am surrounded by a strong team and was confident transitioning my clients over to them.


How did your FPTI education prepare you for being successful at the job?

My FPTI education helped me immensely, especially in the beginning of my career as a trainer. The knowledge that I gained and the attention to detail that I developed in the course prepared me to immediately begin taking clients and to be successful with them. I had come from a background in construction and I was able to completely shift my career path for the better.

Beyond this, the morals that FPTI instilled in me still guide me in my newer role as PTM. The importance they put on doing things the right way and taking care in all that you do is something that has stayed with me to this day and allows me to continue to hold myself and my trainers to the highest of standards.


What advice do you have for current FPTI students who would like to walk a similar path after graduation?

If management is a goal of yours, I suggest training clients for a few years first. Get as much practical experience as you can. This will give you insight into the trials and tribulations associated with being a trainer and make you more successful as a manager because you’ll be better able to relate to your trainers. This, in turn, will help you coach them on how to be better with their clients.

As well, find a company whose goals and principles are in line with your own. One that places a high value on employees. Then, work to uphold, enforce and help improve upon those values. This is what will make your job truly rewarding.

Filed under: alumni spotlight, employment, tips for trainers

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