Health & Fitness Tips from Australia's Personal Training Professionals
Holistic Health

Holistic Health

Andrew Simmons

“Actions speak louder than words. Appreciate that small, lifestyle changes are the secret to long-term results.”

Holistic health is a diverse field of fitness training in which the "whole person" is focused on, not just a single part, or a single desired outcome. Andrew Simmons is the founder of Vision Personal Training, a massive Australian business helping people to transform their lives.

This trainer doesn’t just provide quick fixes, but takes a much more holistic approach, through education, motivation and inspiration, changing your way of life to achieve long-term results. This goes much deeper than just focusing on exercise and works on your mind, body and emotions to achieve a level of complete fitness.

Andrew has led his business to become one of Australia’s largest personal training franchises, with 50 studios spread across Australia and New Zealand. It has even gone on to win awards and was voted ‘Emerging Franchise System of the Year’ in 2008 and ‘National Personal Training Business of the Year’ in 2003 and 2010.

If that’s not enough, Andrew is the proud author of two best-selling books, Fat Loss Take Control and Ready Set Go – 3 steps to Better Health.

1 What inspired you to start a personal training business?

I have had a love for health and fitness since I was about ten years old. However, while I was studying exercise science, I worked for three years in a big health club, as a group fitness instructor and a gym floor programmer.

I was frustrated that clients were not getting the results they wanted by simply following a program and so once I had completed my degree, I started as a personal trainer. Back in 1995, personal trainers were few and far between, so it was a role I naturally fell into. In 2000 I received the push that was needed to grow the business, which resulted in our first studio.

2 What did you study and how has your career path evolved?

After I left school I studied accountancy and worked for two years in a chartered accounting firm. I found that being in an office really wasn’t for me and so I then decided to study sports science. I majored in exercise science and did a number of other short health related courses.

Since then, my career has evolved significantly. First I put my exercise science skills to work, then my knowledge in nutrition and then focused on psychology. However, running a franchise company requires a whole new skill set and so I went from being a technician, to focusing on sales, marketing and leadership as the business has grown.

Ironically, I’m now occasionally back behind the desk, but I love getting out to the studios to see our systems in action and people reaping the rewards.

3 What's your number one tip for getting a job in the fitness industry?

Actions speak louder than words, so be prepared to spend time in a facility learning and shadowing trainers. I have often employed people who are less qualified but prepared to turn up at 5.30AM to shadow sessions, over those who may appear to be more knowledgeable.

4 What's the secret to keeping your clients focused on their weight loss goals?

Ensure that they have realistic short-term goals. Most people get frustrated and it becomes 'all too hard' because they get disappointed if they don’t see results quickly. Allow people to make mistakes and appreciate that small, lifestyle changes are the secret to long-term results.

I have a saying that ‘fast is slow and slow is fast’. If you try to go fast with people by telling them what to do and expect changes, they will get slow results, but if you go slow with people and establish their readiness to change and work with them, they will get faster and more sustainable results.

5 What are the top 3 characteristics you look for when hiring a fitness professional?

1. They have to be a role model, living and breathing health and fitness every day.

2. They should have a passion for helping other people achieve their goals.

3. They need a willingness to work hard and embrace the concept of delayed gratification, rather than instant gratification.

6 How do you integrate emotions, education, eating and exercise into your personal training programs?

I believe in taking a holistic approach focusing on all of these elements. When you do this, you will make key lifestyle changes which will help you achieve long-term and sustainable results.

Emotions – It’s important for people to be emotionally ready to make a change. To determine this, we use online readiness questionnaires taken from my book "Ready Set Go - 3 Steps to Better Health", Weekly Reporting, regular goal sessions, online SOS support videos, as well as ‘before and after’ pictures to help keep motivation up throughout their journey.

Education – Clients should not only achieve their goals, but should learn how to reach their weight or fitness target and to stay that way for life. We use a number of educational tools, from going on regular shopping tours of the local supermarket and holding educational seminars on various topics such as nutrition and weight loss. We also have online resources including cooking demonstrations, to provide additional support.

Eating – Losing weight isn’t just about exercise. It’s also about what you put into your body. Because of this, we offer one of the most comprehensive eating programs available. We have one-on-one nutrition sessions upon commencement, which includes an evaluation of the client’s daily macronutrient requirements, a food diary planner, education on how to use their diary, as well as providing our online menus, recipes, meal plans and much more.

Exercise – Each client is given a personalised plan which includes a one-to-one session each week with their personal trainer, with tracking so that you can see the progress of fitness and strength. It also includes a weekly group training session and access to the studio where equipment can be used in your own time.

Are you interested in getting into the fitness industry? Hear more real life stories from industry professionals here.

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