Having been in Fitness and Wellness for over 11 years, Meredith O’Brien, an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, started FitNicePT outside of Philadelphia in 2008 and relocated to Virginia Beach, Virginia in 2010. She has since created a dynamic business by working with management teams in the private club industry to create successful youth fitness and employee wellness initiatives and developing an online training interface to enhance the interaction between FitNicePT clients and their trainers.
FitNicePT provides premiere fitness and wellness solutions to individuals, groups and businesses. Dedicated to helping every person with a dream reach their fitness goals, FitNicePT will guide you from the couch to cross any finish line you can imagine. As a small business, FitNicePT is driven to provide valuable results in a budget conscious manner that makes getting fit and being healthy accessible to everyone.
BusinessInterviews.com: When did you know the time was right to start your business?
Meredith: I didn’t! It all came about very organically. I was an employee at a big box, national chain gym and miserable when I moved into contracting with smaller, specialty fitness studios. Not only were the smaller outfits offering opportunities to learn about different modalities, I had more freedom, more support and was able to offer clients better services. When I relocated to Virginia Beach, I wanted to avoid large, impersonal fitness settings, stay in small studios and pursue my Master’s degree in Sports Management at Old Dominion University. Incorporating and working for myself while contracting with numerous small fitness outfits gave me the ability to expand my knowledge and provide superior results for my clients.
BusinessInterviews.com: What would you say to someone who has taken a long break from fitness but is ready to get back into a routine?
Meredith: Take it slow, you can always add more at a later time. People who are starting to get back into fitness usually come in with lots of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is a wonderful thing, but diving in head first can result in injuries that will end up derailing efforts and eliminating that excitement. Meet with a fitness professional to set modest starting goals, ensure safety and help prevent injury. One of the most important things to know is not everything is good for everybody. Trying lots of different modalities (running, spinning, swimming, aerobics, kick-boxing, TRX, Crossfit, etc) will help you determine what you enjoy, are most likely to stick with and therefore is most likely to deliver positive results.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s one marketing strategy that’s worked really well for you?
Meredith: Partnerships. After leaving the private club industry, I entered a marketplace where my business was one of 1000 and I needed to find a way to develop a presence without a big budget. Working with other local businesses, including the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and boutique fitness studios, and participating in local fitness related events have been great ways to meet people in a new area and expand FitNicePT’s visibility.
BusinessInterviews.com: What advice would you give to a company that is contemplating offering employee wellness initiatives?
Meredith: Do it! Research has shown that the ROI of employee wellness programs is staggering. Every business has different employees and a different budget. Find a provider who will develop a customized plan for your company based on what the staff wants to spend, see, participate in and be rewarded with. FitNicePT begins creating an EWP by determining a company’s needs through staff surveys and meet and greets. Make sure program users are involved in developing the EWP by getting feedback from surveys, suggestion boxes or information forms. This is the best way to provide pertinent programs without wasting valuable healthcare dollars.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share a bit about the program you’re developing that is dedicated to mothers who want to get fit and develop more family conscious healthy lifestyles?
Meredith: Developing a community where mothers can work together to support one another, set and reach fitness goals and live a healthier lifestyle are the ultimate goals of the Virginia Beach Mother Runners program. Having worked with brand new mothers and mothers who have older children, I’ve seen how difficult it can be to fit a good workout in and how easily frustrated women can become with losing ‘baby weight’, getting back in shape or staying fit. A stroller friendly program, mothers can bring kids with them rather than struggling to find childcare and while moms are making friends, children can, too. With three levels of participation, walk, run/walk and run, there is a plan for every mother runner regardless of past experience or current fitness level. Including group runs, boot camp style fitness classes, monthly social outings, healthy cooking class series and health education elements, the Virginia Beach Mother Runners program will improve physical and mental health as well as build team spirit, a support group and camaraderie for all participants.
BusinessInterviews.com: A lot of our readers will be setting some fitness goals for 2014. What are some ways that they can plan to ensure that they accomplish their New Year resolutions instead of giving up before they’ve even started to see any results?
Meredith: Make it easy and be realistic. Find something that fits easily into your schedule. If working towards a goal is a total inconvenience, odds are you won’t stick with it. If you set difficult goals at the beginning of a program, it can be very discouraging when you don’t reach them. Rather than setting a goal to shed 50 pounds in 2014, set incremental goals, like losing 6 pounds in January. This makes the goals more achievable and having small successes every month will add up much faster. Another great New Year option is to find a challenge. Lots of gyms, trainers and online programs offer programs that create the accountability that helps people stick with a program the most.
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