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Meet the personal trainer: Jerico Wiggins

Jerico Wiggins

How did you arrive at this career choice? Was it a deliberate decision or a gradual and natural evolution?
Being an athlete in high school in a small rural town in south Georgia. I was always health, nutritious and weight conscious. As I moved into young adulthood and beyond, it was evident that many of our children, our youth are not eating nutritiously, not getting the proper amount of rest, and not exercising to maximize their body potential. As I began to research and study these issues, my interest grew substantially. This interest prompted me to write my first book Fit Freddy. This book deals with nutrition and physical fitness and how the lack of these can lead to students being bullied.

From that point until now, every decision that I have made has been very deliberate. I am targeting the health, nutrition and wellness of young athletes and children in general. My primary goal is to impact the lifestyle of children so this change will perhaps, follow them into adulthood. The result of such a change can be major in terms of diminishing health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure, especially in minority people.

What separates you from others in your field? What is unique to the experience that you create?
I am not just a fitness coach; I am a lifestyle changer. I motivate my clients to want to exercise, to push themselves even when I’m not there, and to eat proper meals and snacks. I live and breathe this work. I am constantly researching both fitness and medical research to find new and better ways to assist my clients. I use this knowledge to keep the routines for my clients new, fresh and exciting. When I see a great need, I volunteer my time and talent to help people in need. The “Rico” experience, as some of my clients refer to it, is new, fresh and different. One of my greatest assets is that I am a people person; a great communicator with a big personality and a heart to serve.

For those considering entering this arena, what skill sets do you recommend mastering? What traits are most conducive to success?
There are many skill sets that are paramount to success in this arena: Mastering the skills of training and understanding the many different ways machines and equipment can be used to target different areas of the body is a basic skill. There are some skill sets that are just as critical to success like understanding the physical body, changes that might occur with age, size, and body type and health issues. This knowledge is critical in understanding how much to push your clients toward meeting their personal goals. Building great relationships with the clients help them trust you and how much you care about them and their success. These relationships should be genuine and authentic for success to occur. Communication and personality are also crucial to success in this field. This business is all about building relationships and trust.

How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
My belief is that my greatest marketing tool will always be my clients. When clients tell their friends, and their friends tell their friends, the chain continues about how successful your program is and how much help it has provided for people. When clients reach their goals and look and feel better, they become a walking billboard for the trainer. My goal is to always be the best at what I do and I spend a lot of time, researching, studying, and taking classes to make sure that the information I have is the most recent, cutting edge, and result proven. This is one of the major reasons I can remain on the leading edge of fitness when there are so many competitors.

Do you think that there are any widely held misconceptions about what you do? If so, what are they and how do you work to dispel them? There are a lot of misconceptions about this business. However, the one that concerns me the most is that this business is all fun and no real work. It has been said that when your work is your passion, it is no longer work, it becomes fun. Whereas, that is true for me, it doesn’t mean that it is not difficult and requires many hours of your time. I love this work. I love working with people. I love seeing results of my clients when they have worked hard to reach milestones. I love finding new ways of doing the same old thing so routines are not boring. I love the research and learning all that I need to know to make my clients better people and more results oriented. This is my passion, it is what I do. I live and breathe this career. Regardless of the difficulty of the work, the unsteady financial status of the career choice, or the misconceptions of many, I remain committed to do the work, to do it well, and to get results for my clients.

How do you map out your goals? How do you measure your success?
I have developed short and long term goals for myself. Some of my short term goals are to build my clientele, to retain the clients that I have, to target clients that might have discretionary funds to maintain this program, and to develop individualized programs for success for each of them. The success of these short term goals can be measured by numbers; keeping track of the number of clients I have and how many I am adding monthly, to monitor the retention rate of existing clients, and to work with my marketing director to target the groups that can consistently afford my services. My major long term goal is to open my own studio. I am presently working on a business plan for this goal. I have given myself five years to make this happen. Another long term goal is to become a state and eventually national expert in the area of health and fitness. I am spending a lot of time connecting with people, marketing my program, and studying to make sure this dream is accomplished.

Who do you consider to be your peers in your field? Who do you see or use as examples to emulate?
There are many people that I consider peers and I work with them on the local level at gyms, symposiums, schools, etc. However, the people I want to emulate are those who are working more on the state and national levels. I would love to be one of the trainers on “The Biggest Loser,” to be on a state panel to discuss obesity, nutrition and fitness, or to meet first lady Michelle Obama and be a part of her “Let’s Move” program.

Why do you consider continued learning important?
It is my belief that learning is and should be a continuous process from birth to death. I always believe that as much as I think I know there are so many things that I can still learn. It is for that reason that I continue to read, continue to research, continue to take classes, continue to test my own theories, and continue to want to know more about what produces the best results in my field. There are so many new and different ideas that are being developed daily; many proven and others unproven. Therefore, my learning must be continuous.

What affirmations do you repeat to yourself that contribute to your success?

I get up every morning and go to a job that I am not really happy with so that I can be in a financial position to be able to do this. I tell myself many things to be able to get through a day. Some of which are:

  • It is only a matter of time
  • This too shall pass
  • Today I am closer to reaching my short-term goals
  • I am getting there
  • I can see it, I can feel it, I can taste it
  • Today is my day
  • My clients are the greatest