Hey, welcome to our fifth Meet the Expert blog.
In this blog, we interview expert coaches and athletes, delving into what makes them tick, what drives them to keep going, and what they believe to be the pitfalls and keys to success.
Let’s get to it!
Question 1: What is your name, age and where are you from?
Mike Mason, 30 years old from Macclesfield.
Question 2: What is your occupation? Is it what you are known for or completely separate? What jobs have you done in the past?
I’m the manager of Silk Fitness Therapy, a small group personal training facility based in Macclesfield, and co-owner of Strong Foundations Online Coaching which is a 2-1 training and nutrition service.
I’ve worked in the fitness industry since just before my 16th Birthday. Starting off as a cleaner/general assistant at JJB sports, before becoming a fitness instructor and then on to becoming a personal trainer and moving on to Fitness4All in Bollington where I feel I really grew as a coach.
While there I trained as a Sports Massage Therapist before getting the opportunity to run my own facility (SFT) with my friends/clients at the time Katie and Fabio which we set up in 2019.
Earlier this year (2020) I wanted to branch out and help more people so I and my business partner Jo combined our areas of expertise (Jo is an MNU Certified Nutritionist) to set up Strong Foundations Online Coaching where we help people remotely with their training and nutrition goals.
Question 3: What is your primary area of expertise and why are you passionate about it?
While I’m extremely passionate about strength training, I’d say my main area of expertise would be my people skills which I feel is an underrated skill as a coach.
You can have all the qualifications under the sun but that doesn’t mean anything if you can’t speak to people.
If you’re not a “people” person you won’t be able to relay all that knowledge and get the best out of your clients/members. You have to be able to deal with different personalities, ages, goals, etc and tap into what motivates them.
I’ve been called a “chameleon” before by clients through being able to change my colours and adapt my coaching style to get the best out of the person I’m coaching.
Question 4: How did you get started doing what you do?
Because of my mum wanting me out of the house haha. I think my mother had got sick of me going out and playing football with my mates and realized I wasn’t going to make any money that way – not like I was going to get snapped up by United or anything, so she had started setting up interviews for me.
The first one I got was at JJB to be a general assistant and they would put me through an apprenticeship to become a fitness instructor. I went down, got the job… and the rest is history.
Question 5: What are your weaknesses? What hurdles did you face and how did you overcome these barriers?
My biggest weaknesses in the past have been getting out of my comfort zone. There have been times in the past where I’ve just cruised and probably would’ve stayed that way if it hadn’t been for people pushing me to be better.
First one was my mum pushing me to get the apprenticeship, then Nick Smith pushing me to become a PT when I was quite happy to stay as a fitness instructor.
At Fitness4All it was Chris pushing me to further my education and also making me do classes with a lot of people in – something that at the time I really didn’t want to do.
And lastly Kate and Fabio pushing me to take the biggest leap and my career so far. I won’t repeat the talk Fabio gave me (too many swear words haha)but let’s just say it certainly lit a fire under my ass.
I guess the take away from that would be to surround yourself with people that will push you and want the best for you. Create an environment that breeds success.
Question 6: What are your biggest strengths, both as a coach and an individual? What do you believe to be the primary reasons for your success? What do you consider to be your biggest success so far?
Same as mentioned above really, I’d say my people skills.
That and maybe the fact that I am a little bit of a control freak haha which is possibly the reason I’ve been asked to be best man 3 times – I do like organizing people.
The biggest success so far business-wise is 100% SFT. We’ve built something really special, and as cheesy as it sounds, we are one big family.
Outside of business, my biggest success would be my two kids. I’ve got Freddie who is 5 and Lily who is 2 and a half. Both are such happy (cheeky) kids with amazing personalities, and I couldn’t be prouder of how they are growing up.
Question 7: Where do you think a lot of people go wrong and what general pieces of advice would you give to those looking to excel in areas similar to yours?
From a personal training perspective, I think people get into it for the wrong reasons, they hear the £30/£40ph, think they’ll only have to work a few hours a day and be rolling in it. When in reality that isn’t the case. The hours can be very long, building a client base will take time, you work unsociable hours.
To be a success in the fitness industry you have to truly love what you do. Forgot about the money, and instead strive to help as many people as possible, provide as much free and useful content as possible, and show genuine care for your clients. You have to almost want them to achieve their goals more than they do.
Fall in love with helping people and show genuine care and money will follow suit.
Question 8: Are there any rules or quotes that you live by?
Two Joe De’franco sayings spring to mind “always over-deliver” and “have a white belt mentality”.
Always over-deliver for your clients, make sure they are getting the best possible service.
Have a white belt mentality. Never think you’ve got it all figured out. I’ve been in the industry for 15 years and there’s so much more to learn.
Question 9: What are your plans for the near future? What goals do you currently have?
In the next year I’d like to become a level 4 S&C coach through the Strength and Conditioning Course and after that continue on and become an MNU Certified Nutritionist and with that provide an even better service for my clients and members.
Personal goals: I’m hoping to compete in another powerlifting competition next year but overall I just want to be fit, healthy and strong.
Question 10: Where do you see yourself in 5 Years? What is your ultimate goal?
Have a couple more facilities under the SFT brand/model and become renowned as THE place for Small Group Personal Training and have a group of excellent coaches working under myself and Jo for Strong Foundations Online Coaching.
And I think that’s the ultimate goal, I just want to help as many people as I possibly can and see where that takes me.
CHECK OUT MIKE’S CONTENT
A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR
Both myself and Mike own gyms in the same town, and although the fitness industry is extremely competitive, we share ideas and discuss the fitness industry openly.
Mike is one of the friendliest PTs I have met and is clearly passionate about providing his clients with the best possible service, hence why he runs such a successful facility.
In my eyes, Mike is the epitome of what a good PT should be and I am looking forward to seeing how far he can take both of his businesses.
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