I started working at Equinox Greenwich Avenue on June 1st of this year. After a few weeks of training and corporate policy, I got cleared to do fitness analyses and complimentary personal training sessions.

Ramping up a personal training business isn’t exactly easy. One starts from scratch, basically, in a new gym. The first few weeks are spent less meeting members than meeting colleagues, after which one becomes more comfortable and can start talking to more people. Offering to do sessions, bringing people in to establish fitness foundations and help them reach their goals.

I didn’t train my first actual client until mid-July, but after that I started to gain more traction, and just about two months later, I’ve had nearly a dozen clients. Several have come twice a week pretty consistently, even with vacation time off, and already we’re getting great results.

Training is nice that way. It is, in ways, similar to teaching, at least in that there is education involved, and designing a fitness program to help people meet their goals is not entirely different from designing a curriculum to instill in students basic skills. When I designed my literature curriculum this past spring, I did so with the intention not only of giving my students a broad swath of experience with fiction and prose but also teaching them about things like plot and structure every bit as much as style and voice.

I bring a similar approach to training. I tell prospective clients right away that if they’re interested in power-lifting or whathaveyou, I’m probably not the right trainer for them. I’m best at a dynamic, functional, full-body workout; I don’t believe in splitting exercises across a couple of days, like doing chest and shoulders one day and arms the day following. Mainly because there are really no chest exercises that don’t require the use of your arms, but all that’s neither here nor there.

I like a lot about training. It’s obviously all one-on-one relating, as opposed to standing in front of a classroom.

When teaching, I can’t be certain all the students are keeping up. Even with regular quizzes and testing and discussion, I can ensure only that they have done the reading, never make them do it. When I train, you can damn well rest assured that if I tell you we’re doing twenty squats with medicine ball raises combined with trunk rotation, that’s exactly what we’re going to do, and by we I of course mean you.

What’s best about that is the confidence that comes with seeing designed programs work. People come in with different goals: better health, lower body fat, fewer inches around the hips or more around the arms.

I tend to find clients can begin to get results from a well designed program within a few weeks, but I’ve also tended to find that clients who get those results get excited and realize that good living and a healthy, fit lifestyle is just that: a style of life.

What’s rewarding is that, as a professor, it’s tough to gauge when my students have benefited from my instruction; as a personal trainer, it’s a lot more obvious. There are few greater moments than when a client reports a friend told him he’d gotten noticeably bigger, that his biceps are better defined.


All of which is to say that’s pretty much what happened to August 2010. Which is great, in a way–because hey work I enjoy!–but less great in terms of writing and publishing. I’m still aiming at the holiday season for Meets Girl, but I also want to aim at a bigger ramp-up. Taking a month off from posting isn’t exactly great for visibility.

What’s happening with Meets Girl: I got it back from my editor a few days ago. I’m polishing it up with a final galley and just about to submit the final files. I’m still torn between Lulu and Lightning Source at the moment. I may save Lightning Source for The Prodigal Hour.

Which I suppose I can tell you now I’m planning for next September.

I’m not sure I’m going to manage a book per year, but I think I’d like to try.

Especially now that August is done. Not that I’ll have more time, but I’d love to try to make better use of what time I do have.