Follow Jeff at @skjwong.
What do you do?
I work for Goodlife Fitness as a personal trainer.
How long have you been in this field for?
I’ve been there since March so just approaching 9 months.
What inspired you to pursue this career?
I’ve always had a passion for fitness. It started way way back in my late teens and it just slowly grew. I’ve had many hobbies, but fitness – weight training specifically – was one that stuck around after many other hobbies had fallen to the wayside.
Previously, I was an automotive technician. My body wasn’t built, compared to others, to sustain the constant damage I was causing my body – slowly I became more conscious of my health. I also realized I enjoy helping people and teaching, and I’m particularly good at it. (Not to toot my own horn or anything!)
What was the biggest hurdle in attaining your career goals?
The biggest hurdle was when I was still employed as an automotive technician. I had a decent and stable income. I was “comfortable” so to speak, but also very depressed going to work. I knew I wanted a career change, but I was too scared to let go of a stable income. There was a lot of uncertainty, from paying for expenses to keeping my quality of lifestyle. I was also unsure exactly what career in the health field I wanted to go into. Without a solid backup plan and inability to quit my automotive career, I was stuck. I was stuck for 2 years just thinking about what I needed to do, until the decision was finally made for me. The company I worked for finally let me go, recognizing my focus just wasn’t there in my work. This forced me to take action to help myself pursue something I liked to do.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love watching people progress in whatever it is I am attempting to teach or coach. Watching someone do their first pull up, reach their 2x bodyweight deadlift, or accomplish their first push up. That’s what I find the most rewarding is seeing the results and the joy it brings to others when they achieve it.
What do you find most challenging about your work?
People aren’t built the same – we all have different physiologies. Some lose weight faster, while others slower. Some build muscle or strength easier than others. Although knowing that, when results are slow, I’m still hard on myself for not meeting the client’s expectation as a trainer.
Clients also have very different personalities. Some clients are enthusiastic and will come to every session, while others seem to look at it like a chore and will miss many sessions. For the latter, I have to find ways to motivate them to exercise. As I do not have a drill sergeant style of training, I have trouble with constantly nagging them to workout. I do not like nagging people, but sometimes it’s necessary. So that is something I have to work on.
If you weren’t a personal trainer, what would you be?
Easy – I’d be an actor for a sitcom. I love making people happy – I am somewhat of a people pleaser! It makes me happy to see people around me who I care about be happy as well. There is so much sadness and tragedy in the world I want to bring joy and laughter and positive vibes to others.
Name one hobby you have that’s not related to your work.
Name one? That’s hard. I have many. I’m basically a Jack of all trades, but master of none. I dabble in almost everything, but to name a few: snowboarding and practicing tricks in the terrain park, freestyle ice skating, singing, and max deadlifts.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
I go straight to the washroom to brush my teeth, then to the kitchen for a big bowl of maple brown sugar Mini-Wheats. Then I make myself a cup of coffee, or buy one from Tim Hortons.
And last thing you do at night?
I’ll scroll through my phone before bed and check out social media.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you enjoy your work.
10/10. I love helping others reach their goals and watch them grow. Though later down the road it may not necessarily be personal training, it’ll always be something in the health and fitness field helping others reach their fitness goals.
This interview has been edited and condensed.