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Changing Lives Around the World as an Online Fitness Trainer
Nathan DeMetz was a 21-year-old student in 2001 working toward a business degree when he made a connection that would change his life.
A friend left behind a set of weights at DeMetz’s apartment when he moved out, leaving DeMetz with two choices. Get rid of the weights or put them to use. He opted for the latter, and a workout warrior was born.
Today, the 38-year-old DeMetz runs an online personal training and wellness business with his wife, Grace, from home in Indiana. DeMetz, who became an ISSA certified personal trainer in 2012, has clients around the world, including the U.S., Korea, Kuwait, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Germany.
The following is an edited version of an interview with DeMetz on how he found success.
Tell us about your business background.
Along with my exercise science degree and 12 fitness and nutrition certifications, I also hold degrees in business management and business information systems.
Right before entering the health and fitness industry full time, I worked in online content management and also, for four years with eBay. Here I helped vet new hires, manage projects, and provide overall support services for projects internationally.
Why did you start your own personal training business?
Before entering the professional training world, I helped people for free, because I wanted to see them become happier, healthier versions of themselves. Things changed in 2012. To expand my personal knowledge, I decided to take a personal training course and went with the ISSA program. When I finished, someone asked me to train them, so my official training career and business started then.
I continue to expand my knowledge. For example, I just completed a run coach certification and I’m preparing to enter a collegiate nutrition program.
Are you a former athlete?
I'm not an athlete, but I competed in small bodybuilding contests, lifting contests, and the CrossFit Open. I won one bodybuilding contest and placed in the top five a few other times. I finished similarly in lifting contests. However, my CrossFit Open result wasn’t noteworthy, and the process was for immersion into the training methodology and culture, not for competition success.
Over the course of 20 years, I've done bodybuilding, powerlifting, running, jujitsu, Muay Thai, kickboxing, CrossFit, gymnastics and calisthenics, and other training methodologies. Today I use all these training styles into one comprehensive approach. It's why I'm as fit as I am at almost 40.
Why is mind and body training important?
To me, it is not enough to take someone through workouts or hand them meal plans— I have a responsibility to educate people so they can continue the process on their own once their training time with me is complete. To do this, I have to train the mind, while also training the body.
Transitioning from an unhealthy, unfit lifestyle to a fit and healthy lifestyle requires serious change for people. I help them develop habits and behaviors that will allow them to be successful 40, 50, 60 years into the future — ideally until death. Only by training the mind and the body can I help them learn and engrain the habits they need to be successful.
How are you different from other online fitness trainers?
Many, though not all, of our top online competitors focus exclusively on weight loss or aesthetics and offer cookie-cutter programs. We focus on a comprehensive approach, helping people improve fitness and aesthetics, and learn how to incorporate fitness as a life-long priority. Everything we do is custom and client-based.
What are the keys to expanding your business internationally?
There is no one key to success, but this question starts the conversation about international exposure. It goes something like this:
- Offer the right products and services.
- Get in front of the audience.
- Understand time zone differences, language barriers, and cultural differences.
- Make adjustments to help international clients efficiently.
- Assess success.
Every morning, I review the solo workouts completed by clients the day before. I need to be aware of time differences because it affects when a client completes the workout and therefore my review. This means I need to be flexible with scheduling and the process to make services adaptable to all clients.
Language barriers can be problematic. Our vernacular can prove odd to foreign clients, and the reverse is true as well. We often have to read between the lines, explain in different ways, and have more patience (which clients do too).
Cultural differences come into play in many areas, but we see it often in food and communication. In these situations and others, I have to make adjustments to help international clients be successful.
What are you most proud of as a personal trainer?
I've helped changed lives. That’s what matters most.
Certified Personal Trainer
The Certified Fitness Trainer program is designed to equip graduates with the practical day-to-day skills necessary, as well as the theoretical knowledge needed to excel as a personal trainer serving the general public. Along with the necessary exercise science foundation, the distance education program covers client assessment, program design, basic nutrition, and sports medicine along with business and marketing skills.