Written by Simone Maglassis, CPT, ACSM, ACE
Hi! Thanks for stopping by :)
Let's start at the beginning.
I was known as shy, timid. My parents never fail to remind me of the picture of me hiding behind my mom's leg and how much I've grown yet remain my true self. I did all sorts of recreational activities from tap dance, ballet, jazz, acrobats, yoga, you name it! I only ever focused on one for 1 year and then moved onto something new. My mom didn't want me to "quit" the recreational activities as much, but I just wanted to try all the other cool things that were out there!
Childhood to Teen
In high school I always loved gym class. But I didn't know what to do with that.
How could I turn it into a career? I didn't want to be a gym teacher, didn't want to be a physiotherapist and my high school friends would discourage me from pursuing personal training since it wasn't seen as a successful career.
"You get straight As," they would say, "Go to university not college."
Truth was, I had no idea what to do. Looking back, I listened too much to others and not myself.
Regardless, I received a scholarship, I got offers to every University I applied to and got accepted into the University of Toronto to study Sociology because I thought it was the right thing to do.
I dropped out after three months.
Figuring it out
I felt awful about dropping out of university but I didn't regret the decision. I regretted the wasted money my parents had paid for and the scholarship I had accepted and essentially wasted.
I promised my parents I would pay them back and that I would give back to the organization that provided me with the scholarship.
I gave myself a couple months to work and think about what I wanted to do. I took careers test, quizzes, answered so many questions that I started questioning myself until I landed on a Fitness & Health Promotion program.
I still remember sharing it with my aunt and she looked over the program details and said, "This looks like the right program for you!"
I couldn't help but crack a bright smile. She was right and this time I was sure of it myself.
I applied to the program and got accepted. I couldn't have been happier. I felt like I had real purpose, a real desire to do something I wanted to do. It certainly aligned with everything else I loved.
I told myself I'd graduate get my diploma, work and then go back to school to find a more "stable" and "steady" job and have personal training as my side job that I'd do on the weekends and have my full time career in said field (which I had no idea what that was at the time).
College was a great learning experience for me, and also very eye opening. Looking back, it taught me to differentiate who true friends were (there is such a thing as a toxic friend), made me reflect on who I was and wanted to be, and taught me that it's what you do after you graduate and enter the real world that truly matters.
I graduated with a diploma in Fitness & Health Promotion, got my ACSM certificate and made a group of friends who I'm still in contact with to this day.
Soon after graduating I met my then boyfriend and now husband and no longer had to worry about studying for 8 exams in a week. Yes, you read that right.
After graduating I got my first job working at a gym (I won't say which...but hint, it's known as 'the Walmart of gyms'), I worked countless unpaid hours, was passionate about it and got fired within a month because I didn't secure any clients. It was the first time I had ever been fired in my life.
The person who fired me read from a script the entire time.
I felt humiliated. Embarrassed. I thought that I had done it: worked hard, got my diploma, get a job and work my way up. Boy was I wrong.
I tried looking for another fitness job but very few were hiring and the ones that were were not a good fit.
I gave up.
I stopped applying for fitness job and started applying to regular jobs to make ends meet while still living at my parents.
I got a job as a waitress and would go home crying what seemed like every other shift. It was a tough job and I was already sensitive to my first failure and reminder that I wasn't doing the job I wanted to do while messing up a customers order or getting yelled at by the manager.
I then worked at a factory job from an agency boxing pens and pencils and various stationary items. I turned my focus into learning Japanese and taking up other hobbies to keep myself distracted.
Once work at the factory slowed down, I looked for work elsewhere and found a job at an in-home cleaning company. I knew it was temporary But each day was a reminder that my diploma was not being used. At this point it had been almost a year if not more that I did not find work in my field.
I remember cleaning a house with one of my coworkers and the coworker ripped the vacuum out of my hand and did the work for me. "You're going too slow!” She said, “We have to get to the next house!" I was yet again, not good at my job. I felt like such a burden and in a negative miserable environment. Well, I was. No one was happy to do the work, they just had to do it to make ends meet.
My husband sat me down one day and talked to me about not letting my diploma go to waste. He had seen it happen to one of his family members and didn't want the same thing to happen to me. He encouraged me to get back out there and search for a job that was right for me.
I knew he was right despite how negative I was about it, I thought it was a lost cause but still dragged myself to try again.
That's when I had my first interview with Mike Tangreda at inhometrainer. The intimal interview was shaky. My brain was rusty on some of the personal training questions and it wasn't my best interview but he said, "I'll give you a chance."
And I'm so glad he did!
My Definition of Success
At first work was slow. I got one client here, then another there and I was going to quit, but I knew just like he took a chance on me, I should take a chance on him and be patient.
I worked other jobs to fill up my hours and eventually personal training was my full time job and I'd have another fitness job (I worked at a few gyms, and then another in-home training company, a yoga studio and then another gym) on the weekend to give me some extra cash.
I was officially working in my field, loving it, making income and now also happily married. Along the way my husband and I bought a condo as well.
While I haven't accomplished everything I've wanted to, this to me was my success. At the age of 22 I was (am!) happily married, a home owner, working in my field and a whole new person, a better, happier, more positive, version of myself.
Now at 26 years old I do personal training full time, teach virtual classes on the side, have my own (very) small business, and work as an executive assistant to the CEO of the company inhometrainer.ca. The same boss who said he'd give me a chance. I've now been at that company for over 6 years and plan to stay for the long term. And the best thing is? No more side jobs!
Even if things change, that one chance, that one opportunity, opened up so many doors for me.
I didn't think the job I have and the position I'm in would ever be possible. Many made it seem like an impossible dream or too hard to achieve. Everyone said there was no money in personal training or that it's too hard a profession to succeed in. While that may be true for some, its not for all.
I'm still thinking of going back to university, and this time I have a more specific plan to study ESL to teach English to immigrants, but I'm taking my time. Volunteering, learning and not rushing into it. I'm happy where I am and adding more is a bonus.
My husband encouraging me to reevaluate and me shoving down my self-doubt and negativity made me take a step in the direction I wanted to go, without even realizing how many doors I'd open up along the way.
The moral of my story is (as cliché as it is): don't give up.
Listen to others and also to yourself. Life teaches you so many lessons and as long as you try to listen, put in an effort and work on improving yourself, pathways will eventually open up for you if you don't already make them for yourself.
Thanks for reading my story :) Are you a personal trainer? If so, what was it like getting into your field?
Simone is a certified in-home & virtual personal trainer, precision nutrition coach and ACE functional training specialist. Her mission is to help people on their fitness & health journey.
When she's not figure skating, reading or writing, Simone loves to relax and watch Netflix with her little family.
All information provided by Simone (Guishard) Maglassis and simonesfitfunlife.com is of a general nature and is furnished only for educational/entertainment purposes only. No information is to be taken as legal, medical or other health advice pertaining to any individual specific health or medical condition. You agree that use of this information is at your own risk and hold Simone Maglassis and/or simonesfitfunlife.com harmless from any and all losses, liabilities, injuries or damages resulting from any and all claims.