Kerry Keane, our April 2019 Trainer of the Month award winner and owner of Fit Happens in Muskogee, Oklahoma, is bringing a fitness option to her community in a way they have not yet seen. Working her way from a full-time career, to part-time trainer, to full-time trainer and now studio owner, Kerry is impacting her community with her spirit and commitment to community and connection.
Here is a look at how Kerry is raising the bar…
Certifications/qualifications: BA Psychology from NSU; NASM CPT; Senior Fitness & Nutrition, ACE Health Coach; FAI Functional Aging Certification
Studio Name: FitHappens Fitness Studio
Year started in business: Personal trainer in 2012; Opened studio in 2018
Recognition & awards:
2019 Elite Insider VIP – Idea World
What inspired you to start your business?
Looking back at my experience in fitness, it’s easy to see that what started as a fascination with using fitness as a way to change the aesthetics of my body continued, step-by-step to the place I am today. Initially, I had found a healthy passion with something that made me feel and look better as a young 20-something. Coming with the next decade of my life was the realization that I could also be successful in leading group fitness classes, so I “raised the bar” for myself, became certified to teach and found my fitness passion partnered perfectly with my love of helping other people (and loud music). Through the experience of leading groups in my 30s, I eventually found that more and more people looked to me as a leader and an expert in fitness in which I did not feel completely adequate, so it led to my decision to become a certified personal trainer in my early 40s. Fast forward to 2018 – my 50th birthday, now again raising the bar for myself to open my own studio and reach even more people in my community with my passion for fitness and living healthy.
What is one hard lesson you’ve learned in business you believe has been most valuable?
Opening your own business from scratch comes with many lessons, but the BEST lesson I learned came from lessons long ago from my dad. My biggest cheerleader through my life of (sometimes less than great) decisions, my dad instilled in me a faith in myself that I could trust my intuition and know that when I was determined to make something happen, there would be no stopping me. I lost my dad, 69 years old, just 6 months before opening my studio. I was excited to share my plans about the studio with him before he passed and, as expected, received the verbal “pats on the back” from him, and the familiar, but heart felt, “You are amazing!” that he always encouraged me with. Even though I haven’t been able to share with him how well we have done since we opened, I know without a doubt that without his, “You are amazing and have the determination it takes to make anything happen” lessons, I would never have had the faith to strike out on this scary adventure on my own.
If I asked one of your clients why they choose you over other places/gyms/trainers, what would they likely say?
This is easy because they’ve been telling me this since even before I officially started training….because they know I care. I almost put off starting my training career because although in great shape, I felt I did not measure up to the pictures in the Muscle and Fitness magazines I poured over every month. But fortunately, I did not let that false preconceived notion get in my way. I knew I had something special to offer my clients, genuine care for them, their goals, their lives, their happiness and wellbeing, an unrelenting determination to learn everything I needed to in order to be an effective trainer, to see qualities in themselves that they might not see, and most importantly, that they needed me. My studio embraces those qualities as well, to provide the same care and professional service to all of our members and create an environment that is welcoming to every person regardless of where they are in their fitness journey. They feel like this is home and we are their family.
Name one or two ways you are trying to raise the bar in the industry:
In the same way that I continued to raise the bar in my education and certification process, I am keeping the standards of our gym high in that area (as well as the caring service I expect out of every trainer or contractor that works in our studio). The bar I set for myself with this studio was to create that environment that I mentioned, but also to succeed in reaching people who had previously felt too intimidated or scared to come to the gym. I know that for many people, that first step into the gym to “check us out” has come with great contemplation, doubt, embarrassment, and fear, and when they finally make that step, I want them to feel the opposite of fear and doubt and know we are here to walk alongside them to make a difference in their lives, which in-turn affects the people around them even outside the gym. I feel this industry is too full of egos, especially in this new social media society. Knowing that we are creating a caring environment for people to break down those barriers that keep them away and see them continuing to come to the gym, fitting perfectly into our community and succeeding because of it is what makes me feel ,that we are doing all the right things.