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Rahman “Ray” Grayson is the founder of Athletes and Entertainers In Motion (A.E.I.M.). The full service personal fitness training organization features fitness training, nutrition counseling, massage therapy, and a recently implemented life coaching division. Grayson was born in Plainfield , New Jersey, and raised in the northern Chicago suburbs. Grayson’s unique and innovative training techniques have attracted notable clients including platinum-selling, singing sensation Ciara, NFL Pro Bowler Edgerrin James, Super Bowl champion James Butler and many others including cast members of Broadway musicals and one of the original Destiny’s Child members-turned-solo artist, LeToya Luckett. Grayson works with both famous and non-famous clientele, young and old, as he states, “everyone is welcome.”
Grayson’s accomplishments include giving back to the community by partnering with non profit organizations to raise money. He’s collaborated with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Boobie Boot Camp, Community Life Concepts for a 5K to fight childhood obesity, as well as with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Additionally, he’s helped a client lose 150 pounds, been highlighted as a featured expert in national magazines, and has been recognized by the Apex Society, who nominated him as one of the Top 30 Business Owners under the age of 30 in Atlanta.
What separates A.E.I.M. from your typical fitness club or facility? What differentiates you?
AEIM isn’t a club. AEIM isn’t a gym. AEIM is a health & wellness movement. We have group training, one on one training, bootcamps, nutritional counseling, spin & palates classes and now our new life coaching division.
What differentiates AEIM & the Shut Up & Train movement from others is that this is really our lifestyle. We demand a commitment of excellence from our instructors. Retention and results are two of our main goals. We strive to get the results to make the client happy. And through our customer service, we do our best to keep the clients happy.
The “Shut Up and Train” program, judging by its name and the video clips I’ve seen, sounds pretty hardcore. Tell me about that program. Where did the name come from? What can clients that sign up for that program expect?
A typical Shut up & Train session is a cardio intensive session aimed at getting the heart rate elevated, shocking the muscles and challenging not only the body but the mind. We like to say that it’s not only a workout but an experience.
The Shut Up & Train motto came about years ago. While working out in the gym, I would always hear people complain about working out but not getting the results that they want. A trainer/client relationship is just that–a relationship. And relationships require effort on both ends to work. You have to be in tune to one another to make it work. The trainer is really there for guidance and motivation.
Shut Up & Train means, “When you’re in the gym, stop making excuses and get to work. Stay focused on the goal at hand– that finish line of a great workout—and stay focused until you make it happen.”
Tell me about the life coaching service you have recently implemented. Why did you decide to implement it? What are your clients gaining from this? How does it complement the suite of fitness services you’re providing?
As a child, my mother always told me to stay positive and to speak positive things into my life. Her influence and words have stayed with me on my journey through life. I shared her works with friends and clients, and it’s also made a difference in their lives. So much so, that clients suggested that I get into motivational speaking and life coaching, which led to me realizing that AEIM was ready to implement a life coaching division. And there you have it.
My younger clients are gaining a positive role model that’s keeping them focused and showing them an example of someone who is making things happen.
You have attracted quite a few well know personalities and celebrities. How were you able to do that?
I’ve compiled my marketing background with my lifestyle and that’s allowed me to bring a different level of professionalism and a solid business model to the training world. Additionally, I think offering the same training across the board to everyone regardless of celebrity, income bracket and walk of life has aided in my success. And again my focus on results and retention. I do my best & everything in my power to get results.
Was it difficult to start a business shortly after college? What were some of the difficulties you experienced? Did your degree in Business Administration prepare you well for what you were up against?
I’ve always lived by one rule–the only cure for fear is action. Stepping out on faith to start my own business was scary, but I did it and am seeing small successes each day. It may be a new client or the fact that a client is 5 lbs away from their weight loss goal, but it’s a success. These successes make me happy and glad that I stepped out on my own.
Some difficulties that I’ve experienced include growing pains, the challenge of getting good clients, getting people to take their fitness seriously, getting commitment from clients and establishing a clientele that I could call a career and not just a job.
Personal training and fitness is a very competitive market and you have to do things to set yourself apart. I decided that I’m not going talk about what I can do, I’m just going to Shut Up and Train and let that speak for me.
My degree did help prepare me. The FAMU SBI program definitely prepared me, especially in the areas of marketing and professionalism. I take that same professionalism into this somewhat unprofessional world and make it work.
How has staying in great shape aided you as a businessman and entrepreneur? Do you find that it helps you manage the stress of everyday work life?
Health is wealth. Health really is wealth! When you’re in shape, you are that much more alert and have more energy. It’s helped with my demanding schedule. I rarely get sick. It keeps health care costs down. It give me more energy and time to apply towards my family and business after long work days.
As far as stress goes, I’m too blessed to be stressed. I don’t know what stress is. I don’t claim stress, so that’s not and never has been an issue for me.
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