The Lounge Q+A: Bret Smith, Fitness Trainer

Interview with Bret Smith

Bret Smith turned his love for sport and fitness into a full-time career in San Diego. PocketSuite Interviews Bret about Coaching, Sports Medicine, finding a demographic that fits his expertise and making a hard pivot to turn adversity into triumph, all while keeping a positive outlook on life.

What is the relationship with your clients like?

“The Testament of this kind of business, it becomes much more than just the blood, sweat and tears that we put into the workouts. There’s a deeper connection that comes along a lot of the time and we do make a difference in people’s lives beyond just our sessions and the time that we spend together.”


“It might not necessarily be obvious when we first take on a client, but over time you do become, that therapist, that friend, that coach, that somebody they lean on, that’s outside of their kind of tight friends and family circle. We’re an outside voice and an outside ear that they can share pretty much anything they want with. As a coach and somebody who has developed an ability to really listen when my clients are talking, you get a lot from them, they share so much with you and you have to be respectful of that.”


“You also have to honor it because they are really trusting you with their lives in that way. And it’s a beautiful thing. I mean that’s what makes it, it puts the personal in personal training.” 


How did you get started in this business?

“I thought that it would be really cool to work with teams and to help teams, stay healthy and rehab from injury and get stronger just to be better athletes overall. That led to me actually becoming a teacher and I taught health and PE for about six years at the elementary school level. I started doing training as a side hustle during the summers because I had, eight to 10 weeks off with really not a whole lot going on.” 


It might not necessarily be obvious when we first take on a client, but over time you do become, that therapist, that friend, that coach, that somebody they lean on, that’s outside of their kind of tight friends and family circle.

What makes your business unique?

“A lot of my clients, they’re elderly and they’ve got some issues. I’ve one client, my oldest client’s ninety and going to be 91 next month. He’s got two artificial hips and an artificial knee, three of the big four. He’s just feisty enough and contentious enough that he just wants to stick with it. I picked him up and I’ve had him ever since and that was probably seven, eight years ago now. My background lent itself to this because I had that kind of rehabilitation and exercise medicines, exercise science and a sports medicine background that lends itself to me being able to work with these people effectively.”


How are things changing?

“Once this whole situation starts to settle down and we start to moderate, the economy starts to pick up a little bit. I think we’ll get back to pretty close to what we were doing before all this. But I think there’s going to be some additional products and modeling of different types of training to go along with that, with online and also a hybrid model of online and in-person training.” 


What was your challenge and biggest accomplishment?

“I had my brick and mortar, I had to let it go. The next hurdle was, Oh, what’s next? And again, this was another kind of opportunistic model where I just started telling my clients, listen, I know you can’t come to me anymore, but how about if I come to you? And they jumped on it and they were just like, heck yeah, come on in. And I started building up my base of equipment. I got an SUV the whole back of, it’s just filled with, you know, equipment that I bring with me. So literally I am mobile and you know, at your door type service and if they don’t have it, I can bring it. I think that in itself was probably a combination of my biggest hurdle to getting over. And also the, the proudest moment that I’ve had in this business. I was able to redirect and kind of pivot on a moment’s notice into something that was completely unknown to me, but has ultimately become the most success that I’ve been able to manage in this business.”


Fitness Trainer Resources

Check out our comprehensive Fitness Resources for everything you’ll  want to know about becoming a fitness pro including  options training, certifications, associations, licensing, and more!

How does PocketSuite help you?

“So it’s really about meeting their clients where they’re at. The best way to do that is just keep communicating with them. Keep those lines of communication open. PocketSuite makes it very convenient and easy because you can do a group message, you can do individual messages, you can keep them, keep that contact flowing any way they are comfortable with, whether it’s a phone call, text, email, whatever works for them. Find what they’re most comfortable with and what they respond to.”


Tips for up-and-coming trainers?

“Come at it with the most positive energy possible. And just take that lead. See where that client will lead you, your client will tell you where they are whether it’s verbal, whether it’s body language, whether it’s your intuition, they’ll let you know and you just gotta meet them there and be able to hold their hand and take them to the next step.” 
“I always just look at my clients and they are gonna lead me to where they need to be led. Because if you’re, if you’re open and honest enough with them and you’re intuitive enough and you pay attention, they’ll give you all the information you need.” 



Featured In eBook

Bret Smith lends his training tips from an extensive background  in our latest eBook on How to Become a Fitness Trainer. 

Fitness Trainer Resources

Check out our detailed resource guide for everything you want to know about becoming a fitness pro.

Get the rundown on training, certifications, associations, licensing, and more!

Visit Fitness Trainer Resources

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Training Tips for Fitness Pros from Bret Smith

 1. Starting back on a workout routine after the shutdown? If you have been mostly inactive since the pandemic started then you should use the early stages to acclimate your body to new routines. Try not to rush back at a super intense level, think low to moderate intensity to help get your legs under you.


2. If you have found yourself eating more comfort foods and/or eating more in general…let it go!! Just start fresh by making an easy choice for you by choosing only 1 new healthy eating choice. Think about adding one healthy addition to your eating regimen rather than taking something out. If you can do this regularly over a period of time it will become a habit and it will be a welcome addition. Now you are on your way!