There are very few personalities in the Australian fitness industry that gain the same respect and admiration as Andrew Simmons.
Starting as a personal trainer in 1995, Simmons went on to create Vision Personal Training the nationally recognized personal training franchise with 50 studios spread across Australia and New Zealand in 2000. Vision has won multiple awards and was voted ‘Emerging Franchise System of the Year’ in 2008 and ‘National Personal Training Business of the Year’ in 2003 and 2010.
Simmons claims his “love for health and fitness since [he] was about ten years old” is what drives the success of his franchise. Starting in a job in accounting and finance, Simmons shared that he joined the fitness industry after discovering that an office job “really wasn’t for [him]”. After studying exercise science, nutrition and psychology, Simmons began to build his franchise.
The core value that distinguishes Vision from any other personal training studio is its focus on what Simmons calls “Holistic health”. He defines holistic health as “…a diverse field of fitness training in which the “whole person” is focused on, not just a single part, or a single desired outcome”. Simmons added that holistic training “goes much deeper than just focusing on exercise … work[ing] on your mind, body and emotions to achieve a level of complete fitness”.
After working in a large health club for 3 years as a group fitness instructor and gym floor programmer, Simmons claims the idea of holistic training came to him; “I was frustrated that clients were not getting the results they wanted by simply following a program and so once I had completed my degree, I started as a personal trainer” he shared.
Simmons believes that benchmark personal training “doesn’t just provide quick fixes, but takes a much more holistic approach, through education, motivation and inspiration, changing [ones] way of life to achieve long-term results” he said.
Simmons shared that holistic training requires the personal trainer and client to focus on emotions, education, eating and exercise. “When you do this, you will make key lifestyle changes which will help you achieve long-term and sustainable results” he said.
Expounding further, Simmons added that it was important for people to be “emotionally ready to make a change”. It is for this reason, he shared that Vision uses online readiness questionnaires, weekly reporting, regular goal setting sessions, online ‘SOS support videos’, as well as ‘before and after’ pictures to “help keep motivation up throughout their journey” he shared.
Simmons believes that education is a powerful tool in effecting change: “clients should not only achieve their goals, but should learn how to reach their weight or fitness target and to stay that way for life. We use a number of educational tools, from going on regular shopping tours of the local supermarket and holding educational seminars on various topics such as nutrition and weight loss” he shared. Vision also provides online resources including cooking demonstrations for additional support.
When it comes to weight loss, Simmons was quick to share the knowledge that many have gained after years of training- “Losing weight isn’t just about exercise. It’s also about what you put into your body,” he said. Simmons added that Vision created a comprehensive eating program, with one-on-one nutrition sessions upon commencement as well as providing online menus, recipes and meal plans for this reason.
Simmons believes that personal training and performance tracking are crucial when undertaking exercise. He shared that Vision gives each of their clients a personalized plan, including a one-to-one session each week with their personal trainer, as well as tracking metrics to view their progress. Vision also offers weekly group training sessions and access to the studio where equipment can be used in a clients’ own time.
Simmons was generous with his advice for those personal trainers looking to make a success in the fitness industry- “Actions speak louder than words, so be prepared to spend time in a facility learning and shadowing trainers. I have often employed people who are less qualified but prepared to turn up at 5.30AM to shadow sessions, over those who may appear to be more knowledgeable” he shared. Simmons added that his top three criteria for fitness professionals are:
1. “They have to be a role model, living and breathing health and fitness every day”.
2. “They should have a passion for helping other people achieve their goals”.
3. “They need a willingness to work hard and embrace the concept of delayed gratification, rather than instant gratification”.
Simmons believes the key to keeping clients motivated is to ensure that they have realistic short-term goals. “Most people get frustrated and it becomes ‘all too hard’ because they get disappointed if they don’t see results quickly” he said. Simmons added that it is crucial to “Allow people to make mistakes and appreciate that small, lifestyle changes are the secret to long-term results”.
With regards to progressing, Simmons shared his view that slow and consistent progress triumphs over quick fixes: “I have a saying that ‘fast is slow and slow is fast’. If you try to go fast with people by telling them what to do and expect changes, they will get slow results, but if you go slow with people and establish their readiness to change and work with them, they will get faster and more sustainable results” he said.
Moving from discussing personal training, Simmons shared some insights into his new found role as a franchise operator: “running a franchise company requires a whole new skill set and so I went from being a technician, to focusing on sales, marketing and leadership as the business has grown. Ironically, I’m now occasionally back behind the desk, but I love getting out to the studios to see our systems in action and people reaping the rewards” he shared.
Andrew Simmons is the proud author of two best-selling books, ‘Fat Loss- Take Control’ and ‘Ready Set Go – 3 steps to Better Health’.
This article was edited and reproduced by OneFitStop from an interview conducted by Open Colleges. See the original article here: https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/careers/fitness-advice/health-fitness-magazine
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