For the first 21 years of my life I was chubby. Always getting picked LAST for the soccer games, and since I grew up in Amsterdam, those daily soccer games pretty much prevented me from being morbidly obese. That’s how bad I ate. Everything was great growing up in Holland, but I felt there were more opportunities in America, so I always had the desire to move to USA: with the palm trees, Corvettes, and girls on the beach. But first I had to finish my Aerospace Engineering degree in Amsterdam.
During this study I started reading fitness magazines and became totally enthralled by working out. My dream had always been to have a 6-pack, but in my quest for one I made all the mistakes in the world. It wasn’t until I started doing more interval training, eating often, limiting carbs at night, among others, that I saw results. In fact, I remember when I saw my abs for the first time in my life, vowing to ”never go back to my old ways.” To make a long story short, after graduating from Amsterdam I moved to USA, hoping to land a job where I could work on the Space Shuttle.. and preferably a job close to the beach where the palm trees, girls and Corvettes were. Little did I know I would totally HATE my first job. I wound up in a cubicle, 9 hours a day, working for an obese boss who made fun of how I made my protein shakes (I did it with a little funnel in a water bottle at the time). After 4 months I was laid off from this job.. for some reason.. but in the end this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It had always been a deep, dark, secret fantasy of mine to become a personal trainer.. I always loved helping people.. but was afraid to tell anyone of this as I put so much work into my Aerospace Engineering…. STILL, the next day I applied at a dozen health clubs, wearing a suit & tie.. and after being rejected 13 times (in 1 day), the 14th club hired me because they needed trainers. (like, bad..) That same day I was given my red shirt, a name-tag, and was told to go “sell some personal training”.. I had no idea what I was doing, and the first 2 hours I hid myself in the restroom.. totally afraid to talk to people..
The first 3 months I failed miserably at everything I did. But I wanted it SO BAD that I knew I had to make this work FAST..
It wasn’t until I got certified and started reading the right books that things started working out. Soon enough I started training 10 clients/day, and I made it ‘work’.. but I still wasn’t happy. The whole gym thing was high pressure, all about selling, treating people like numbers.. so much that it felt like one big dead-end job that wasn’t about helping people at all.. Plus, even though I was extremely busy, I still was only helping 15 people/month..
What’s the point of being a trainer if you can’t help TONS of people?.. That’s why, in the winter of 2008.. I quit the gym. I started my own thing… with dumbbells in the trunk of my car, and a ball with a footpump.. My first session was in a park, outside on a hill, in wet grass & dog poo, and my exercise ball kept rolling down the hill. The session only lasted 11 minutes, because the park ranger said “I needed a permit”.. So for the first 18 months I failed miserably at everything (again).. This was until the summer of 2009. I scrambled all my savings together and rented this run-down gymnastics place in Bell Gardens. I started doing ‘bootcamps’ there, and even though there were holes in the floor, it smelled like feet, and we shared the place with little kids… THIS is where it all started…
I just KNEW that if I could make SUF’s training a unique experience based on Appreciation, Passion, and Enthusiasm.. that I might just get some referrals here and there. And that’s exactly what happened.. all the way till this very day, to this very spot where you’re reading this.. My vision is that SUF helps 1,000 people get in shape every single year, all while being treated like family and only doing the workouts that WORK. I personally am living my dream every day, and I pinch myself every other hour.. that’s how lucky I feel to be surrounded by the most awesome clients ever!