Elite Trainer | KoR Integrated Fitness
"I am a personal trainer because of the obstacles I have faced - and overcome."
I have been an athlete my whole life. But the reason I am now a personal trainer is because of the difficult physical obstacles that I have faced - and overcome. In my early 20s, I suffered a hip injury and participated in almost two years of therapy. An orthopedic surgeon diagnosed me with a dysfunctional right SI joint and I was about 20% disabled. The surgeon gave me prescriptions for pain and anti-inflammatory medications and told me I would have to take these pills for the rest of my life. He also informed me that I would probably develop arthritis in my hips by my late 20s and would be a candidate for hip replacements in my 30s. His suggestion? To find a sedentary job, avoid playing active sports, and no more workouts. This was completely unacceptable to me. At that moment, I decided to set out on a journey to learn more about the human body and proper training. I achieved this goal through self-studies and guidance from a number of chiropractors.
I never did fill those prescriptions the doctor told me to take. In fact, both my hips are arthritis free and at age 39, I am in the best shape of my life. I seem to keep getting stronger and healthier with each passing year. It has been a long and challenging road, but it was an experience that has been the foundation for building my style of training. I have now been in the fitness industry for nearly 14 years and have a broad range of training experience, first in a corporate gym setting, and now in a private training studio KoR Integrated Fitness, which I own.
Through the years, I have worked with clients of all ages and levels, from high school athletes to fitness competitors, to average clients who just want to get into and stay in shape. In 2008 & 2009, I was hired as the official trainer for the St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders. I also worked with the Rams football team during 2008, 2009 & 2010 spring training camps, including working with several players one-on-one.
I specialize in posture correction, functional & core training, and performance enhancement. After a thorough evaluation process I design programs around balancing the body's strengths with emphasis on the client's goals. I strive to help every client discover their highest fitness potential by giving them the motivation and tools to do so.
MY "AHA" MOMENT
Because of my hip injury my final "job" I had was working as an inside sales rep and customer service technical advisor for a product identification company called Diagraph Corporation. Over the 3+ years I worked at Diagraph I excelled in the company and was working on progressing into an outside sales position when the company started to struggle financially and had to downsize. I was informed that I was going to be laid off because they couldn't afford to pay me what I was making and they thought it was a waste for me to take a salary cut and work for a lesser position in the company. After 2 months in searching for another sales job I ended up going through a 3-interview process for a software company.
As I was waiting to see if I was to be hired I had a night out with my family and my older brother and I had a deep conversation over a few beers on our life goals and dreams. He encouraged me to start the journey to fulfill my dream of wanting to open my own gym to help people like I helped myself. It was always something we talked about growing up because we both started working out when I was 15 and he was 17. We were very interested in bodybuilding and we made working out a hobby turning our parents basement into a gym. I already had certification through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) because it was something I did as part of my self-studies. I knew I couldn't just open a gym because I had no experience in the industry and I had no clientele, so I interviewed for a trainer position for the newly to open 24 Hour Fitness in St. Charles in 2001. I was immediately offered a training position during my first interview, so I had a choice to make, pursue my dreams of working in the health and fitness industry or possibly take a sales job selling software, in which I had no interest in at all.
I remember driving home that early evening with a beautiful sunset in my view and had an overwhelming and decisive feeling of living my dream - it was my "aha" moment. The next morning I received a call that I was chosen for the software sales position. $50k base salary with a St. Louis territory and the opportunity to bonus into a six figure annual income. Though it sounded tempting financially, I didn't hesitate to decline the offer.
MY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION
My late father - James Desmond O'Neill - who passed away from cancer, and my older brother who inspired me to follow my passion for helping people live healthier and less stressful lives.
THE NEVER SETTLE ATTITUDE
Age is just a number and though I get older I "never settle" for getting older and slowing down. I try to step up my training every year to challenge myself and to keep growing as a trainer and an athlete.
Regarding my business and education it refers to "never settling" for completion of growth. I want to develop an exercise playground for fitness enthusiast and athletes. As I evolve so does my gym.
Opening up my own gym by the time I was 30 years old.
THE THING THAT KEEPS ME GOING
Knowing that I'm the only one that's going to get it done, so if I don't step it up my business and dreams will end.
I always push my training limits because I don't want to ever have someone walk through my doors and feel I cannot train them efficiently, especially if they train or compete at an elite level. I feel it's unethical as a trainer to make clients do something you can't do.
THE END GOAL
I'm not really sure yet. Every year I seem to get new opportunities.
I do hope to have a successful gym with 4-5 awesome trainers working for me. I would like to continue to grow my knowledge and experience as a fitness enthusiast and to continue my relationship with 1st Phorm as their Elite Trainer and travel to work with athletes across the globe.