Derek Martin, 2013 Personal Fitness Trainer Graduate
Personal Fitness Trainer, Team Leader and Group Exercise Director
at NRG LAB in Mansfield, MA
"Derek came on board with a deep understanding of the many aspects of fitness. He is well-rounded and adaptable. He has taken the tools he learned at MTTI and along with his commitment and passion has become an invaluable, vital part of our team."— Regina Podesta,
Director at NRG LAB
My experience in the military inspired my desire to pursue fitness training as a career.
I was a trainer in the US Army for deploying units, getting Soldiers ready for military action. I always had to be in shape in the army—especially because I was in a leadership position, coaching and mentoring military personnel.
I took to heart my responsibility to evaluate each individual’s readiness for combat.
I wouldn’t check the box indicating they were ready to deploy, until they met the Army’s expectations on everything from managing stress relief and map reading, to how they should react when attacked in a convoy or coming across an IED.
I learned in the Army that I really enjoy fitness.
Returning to civilian life after two tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, I knew I could really apply myself to make fitness my career.
I started looking for a school program that would prepare me to be a Fitness Trainer.
I recognized that it is the quality of training—not just counting reps—that makes someone fit. I wanted an in-depth hands-on education that went beyond what I would get from an on-line course or weekend workshop.
MTTI was just starting a new Personal Fitness Trainer program.
I learned about MTTI at the Taunton, MA Career Center. I enrolled in the first class.
I wanted to be able to design programs for all ages and fitness levels.
I knew I could put together a program to train military personnel. Training isn’t cookie cutter—designing a program for a 60 year old guy with bad knees is very different compared with training a 20-year old Soldier. Learning Anatomy & Physiology at MTTI taught me how to work with a more diverse clientele.
MTTI taught me business building skills.
I learned to listen to people, and to have the knowledge to answer what they are asking about. From there I found I was able to bridge into selling my services.
NRG LAB has been a perfect place for me to land.
I started out by just offering personal training services. Six months later I began teaching classes—TRX and Strength Training. I currently teach about 4-5 classes a week: “muscles”, “move it”, “surge” and “cardio sport”. I also lead group exercises and continue to provide personal training about 25 hours a week.
We don’t compete against one another at NRG LAB; we help each other out.
We will pass clients to one another if we feel a different trainer is a better fit. I no longer need to do the ‘hard sell’ to convince someone to pay for personal training. I am constantly in front of people when I teach classes—so they get to know me. By talking to all the members, building relations and trust, people tend to ask to be trained.
At NRG LAB we encourage a team atmosphere.
In the military we enjoy camaraderie–we’ll do anything for anyone. It’s the same at NRG LAB. If something has to get done, we all pitch in and do it. When we were short-staffed for maintenance personnel, staff shared the responsibility to clean the facility. As a Team Leader, my team spirit rubs off on the other trainers.
As we get more NRG LAB club locations, I’ll likely be one of the managers.
We are not just a gym—staff and members are all part of a community we are building. My work ethic, plus just being the type of person NRG LAB is looking for, gives me the opportunity to grow with the organization.
MTTI helped me go beyond being a fitness trainer to becoming a Team Leader and Group Exercise Director.
MTTI’s seven-month program set me up for success. Learning exercise physiology, program design, business building—and practicing hands on in a well-equipped health club—gave me knowledge and skills to confidently coach clients at NRG Lab.
It has taken me more than 40 years to find a job I actually love doing.
Working as a Personal Fitness Trainer and Team Leader is more than just a job to me. In just over three years since graduating from MTTI, I have become a team leader and group exercise director. I wouldn’t be where I am today without MTTI.