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Almost everyone is, or has been, a member of a gym at some point in their life. We all want to look and feel our best, but how do we know our personal trainer is really qualified and capable of helping us achieve those goals? Lisa Genovese, Founder of BottomLine Marketing, sat down with Carl Macdonald, owner of CityFit Professional Training, to learn how CityFit has established a higher standard for trainers by precisely matching clients with the trainer best-suited for them.

A Remarkable New Way of Matchmaking Clients with Trainers

Carl transitioned into his new career as a trainer due to cutbacks in the healthcare industry under Ralph Klein’s tenure. There was a program to help people find a new career path, so he started working as a trainer at a variety of small, local gyms. However, this wasn’t very successful: “This […] is typical with fitness. They keep going under. They go out of business because they are opened by fitness people who have no business sense. […] I got to the point where, as a contractor, I kept having to jump to new facilities and I didn’t like any of the facilities that were around.”

Knowing this, Carl combined his remarkable approach to health with his keen business sense and created CityFit. “I’d say it like this: you have a defence lawyer, Johnnie Cochrane, and a public defender. They’re both defence lawyers, but they’re not the same.” This understanding that all professionals are not at the same level led Carl to create the best training facility and bring in the best trainers.

Almost all big box gyms have trainers available for their clients – but how do you know you’re getting the right trainer for you? Most people join a gym, realize they need some additional support to reach their goals, and hire a trainer. They arbitrarily pick one and off they go!

Carl saw this happening over and over again, and realised it contributes to the cycle of failure so many people experience on their fitness journey. He knew his expertise as a therapeutic massage therapist, combined with his extensive personal experience in weightlifting and training, could come together in a remarkable way to help those who want to change not only their training, but their life.

Many big box and small local gyms claim to have certified trainers that “create a custom goal-focused training plan to see results faster than ever.” But do they really? Carl weighs in: “People don’t often know what their needs are. [For example, a] woman comes in, she wants to lose twenty pounds. But she doesn’t want to lose 20 lbs, she wants the life she thinks she’s going to have after losing twenty pounds, and she’s guessed that twenty pounds is the route there.”

Through this understanding of the true motivation of clients, Carl has remarkably changed the way trainers and their clients are partnered. Each new client assessment done by CityFit is unlike any other fitness assessment you may have experienced before. People go to the gym for many reasons, each reason as unique as the person. Nobody is where they want to be when signing up for a gym, so everyone can agree the most uncomfortable part of starting training is the assessment.

“A trainer is going to ask them to take a bunch of clothes off and put a tape measure around them – it’s just a brutal process. It’s embarrassing and it’s also flawed, because then [when] you do it again, you don’t know if you put the tape measure at the same place, and overall it is not a very discrete process.”

Carl understood this can be a barrier for new clients and leveraged technology to make assessments more private and more accurate.

“This scanner allows them to go into the room, they set up their account on the computer, [and then they stand on] a disk that turns their body around while cameras run up a column and take a full 3D image of their body.”

This scanner prevents people from creating false success through expertly angled photographs, changing angles or clothing. It gives you the same image in the same position, which provides more honest feedback to each client. The embarrassment of having a trainer measure your semi-undressed body is also eliminated, giving privacy and power back to the client. Starting the relationship in such a positive way is a remarkable difference from most big box gyms, and contributes to the long-terelationship, and success, of each client at CityFit.

By building a rapport of trust with each new client, Carl is able to begin to understand them better. “We start digging into more about how they ended up calling. What they’re looking for, and start to find out more of the injury history and exactly what they need. During that process, I’m also getting a read on their personality because the trainer has to be matched for personality too.”

By eliminating the guesswork of having clients choose their trainer, Carl provides better service, better training, and better results for everyone that walks through the CityFit doors.

More Than Just Appearances

Not only does Carl have a remarkable approach to the fitness industry, but he aligns CityFit with a greater purpose. Many people have been living unhealthy lives for so long, or living with pain for so long, that they don’t realize it isn’t normal. Carl’s background as a massage therapist has helped him better serve his clients. He also specifically hires top trainers that also have experience in the therapeutic world. This combination aligns with Carl’s higher goal of truly helping people live their best life.

“What we do here is therapy – training is therapy. It’s got to be administered right, it’s not a matter of just going to get a workout or getting a program.” Understanding clients need more than just a quick fix, they need context. By understanding the higher purpose of his clients’ goals, Carl and his training staff are changing the perception of the fitness industry to be something deeper than just losing weight.

Carl also contributes to the greater good of the Calgary community with CityFit by helping survivors of violence. “We have a homicide survivor’s group that work here. These are all people who have lost members of their family to murder and work here together. This is like a therapy centre for them, and so a lot of what we do is try to reach people who really need them.”

By moving the conversation from appearance to the real nitty gritty of our lives, CityFit creates a safe space for people to heal their bodies, minds and souls – while losing weight, feeling empowered, healthy and happy!

Watch the full interview below: