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Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: Bridging the Gap Between the Physical And Mental Personal trainers are part of a growing industry. But with increased competition, what prevents you from becoming an also-ran? Personal trainer and life coach Alessandro Cassano believes he has the answer

By Bao-Tran Nguyen DMD

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Tran Nguyen DMD

According to industry research specialists, the personal trainer market in the US is worth over $10.5 billion per annum. Furthermore, in an economic environment that has proven difficult for most sectors, the personal trainer industry has expanded faster than the economy.

As the COVID-19 pandemic writes a new norm for the global economy, an offshoot of the personal trainer industry finds itself in an enviable position. It is estimated that online workouts with streamed exercise sessions worldwide will generate over $6 billion in revenue.

Extending existing figures and with no end in sight to lockdowns and gym closures, analysts predict this segment of the fitness industry will grow by an incredible 33 per cent over the next seven years.

This booming fitness phenomenon is not without a certain irony, though, as the personal trainer ethos is based on one-to-one, hands-on training.

Competitive Industry

Rising to the top in this competitive industry means establishing a personal brand built on results and reputation over many years. For those elite personal trainers in this enviable position, these new conditions may see them expanding their brand further and faster than they ever imagined.

Born in the southern Italian town of Taranto, Alessandro Cassano discovered an outlet for his limitless teenage energy in the martial art of karate. When his instructor told him he possessed the skill and passion to become a coach, he took those words to heart.

This advice led him down a path that would eventually see him becoming one of the top personal trainers throughout Italy.

Moving north to Italy's industrial heartland in 2000, Cassano continued with his martial arts studies, eventually offering one-to-one sessions in self-defense. Around this time, Cassano's strict fitness regime and ability to instruct others evolved into him becoming a personal trainer.

Knowledge is crucial

Having natural ability is one thing, but being able to back it up on an academic level is another. Entrepreneurship is learning firsthand every aspect of your business.

He was eager to improve in any way he could. "I took business and sales courses, which was important. Having goals is great, but you have to equip yourself with the right tools if you ever hope to achieve them," he says. "The additional commercial knowledge helped me to create a solid business plan and expand my sphere of contacts. It made me sit down and examine where I wanted to go and how I was going to get there."

Advance and Evolve

"In any number of large Italian cities, there are many good personal trainers, and to distinguish yourself isn't easy. Have a plan and establish goals by all means, but you should never stop looking for opportunities to advance and strategies to evolve," Cassano believes.

During one of his regular self-assessment sessions, he realized it was time to step up a gear. "I've always believed that physical wellness and mental well-being were inextricably tied," he explains, "but you can't just make this stuff up, so it was time to return to the classroom."

Taking courses in neuro-linguistic programming and life coaching gave his one-on-one training a new dimension. "For me, "personal trainer' and "life coach' are both sides to the same coin," he explains.

This 360-degree holistic approach allows Cassano to stand by his clients in both the physical and mental realms. And it is this that has led him to create TRIVO (Intensive and Definitive Training of Objectives). This coaching strategy sees clients go through several sessions on mental goal-setting and strengthening before they even break into a sweat.

Lessons for the future

As for the future, if anything, COVID-19 has helped him realize that no one can afford to waste time. Once again, not one to let an opportunity pass him by, Cassano has used the enforced downtime wisely.

"I've consolidated my online presence, created new content, and found new clients and markets to expand into," he says enthusiastically. Being able to coach people online has also seen him take on new clients throughout Italy. He also has plans to expand his online presence to the Spanish market. The latest technologies are shaping new trends in the fitness industry which is making fitness more accessible to people from different walks of life.

"Despite COVID, I will still open a fitness center in Parma that will combine training, nutrition, and wellness specialists under one roof," he asserts. "Apart from launching my own range of fitness equipment, the pandemic has made me widen my vision, and so I will also set aside a room from which to stream online courses."

Being a one-person brand, like any avenue of entrepreneurialism, is not always the easiest path in life, he concludes, "But I learned from an early age never to sit still, and believe me, it works."

Dr Bao-Tran Ngyen is a medical entrepreneur and multi-practice owner. Having built and grown half a dozen professional practices from the ground up, Bao-Tran mentors business-owner professionals and provides strategic growth advice
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