“We are only as strong as the people we surround ourselves with and it is always a good idea to learn from those around us. I have received advice and motivation from my support system that I never could have acquired on my own!”
– Tommy Rozycki
Tommy is a personal trainer and coach with his own business, ZyckFit®. He loves to combine his 3 passions: teaching, psychology, and fitness. In this interview we chat about online personal training, breathing, questions to ask new clients, and writing a children’s book on fitness…Enjoy!
Tommy Rozycki – Owner of ZyckFit® – Jupiter, Florida
Hi Tommy, thanks for taking the time for this interview on What’s New Coach?
What excites you right now?
I find all of the options people have to choose from in today’s world very exciting. We have so much access to a number of different training styles that are constantly changing and being improved upon.
Technology, apps, and online training have taken accessibility and convenience to a new level. It seems like more people are finally understanding the importance of nutrition, exercise, and taking care of their mind and body.
What would you say is more challenging about training online than in person? Whats a roadblock that you had to overcome and what advice would you give to a trainer thinking about venturing out into the online space?
Most of my success as a trainer, I feel, comes from the intimate rapport I create with each of my clients. With online training, most of that rapport is out the window. Technology is great for trainers because we can reach a wider audience and stay in contact with clients easier, but unfortunately, it is much less personal than having that face-to-face interaction.
With online training, it is up to the client to work out on their own with the proper form, intensity, and so on. You are not there to correct them or monitor them.
For this reason, I take photos of myself performing each exercise in the workout programs and send them along with written cues for each exercise. When possible, I make myself available to communicate with the client as well to make sure he or she is happy with the program, the workouts are challenging enough, etc.
If you are considering online training, make sure you have enough face-to-face experience first. I think this is important before moving on to training people across the country/globe.
Great advice, I agree with face-to-face experience first. What was the point in your career where you decided to be a coach?
Sports and working out have always been a big part of my life. I graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2011 with my B.S. in Psychology. After working in the Mental Health field for a couple of years, I decided I wanted to move back home and change career paths. As a trainer/coach, I get to combine my 3 passions: teaching, psychology, and fitness!
I became certified through NASM in 2014 and created my own training company/lifestyle brand, ZyckFit®, shortly after.
What is something in the fitness industry that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
Not every client is the same. Being a trainer/coach is completely different than working out with your friends that are of similar age and fitness level. You are going to encounter people of different age, experience, capabilities, and so on.
It’s ok to not know how to handle someone with a specific condition right away. This allows you to do research and improve as a trainer, so that you are able to fit the needs of anyone who walks through your door.
In the past 2 years, I have trained two individuals who suffered from traumatic brain injuries. To say I was nervous when I started training them would be an understatement. I never expected to work with clients at that level. But, with time and experience, I have been able to make a lasting impact in both of their lives!
As trainers, we must constantly adapt and evolve if we are to provide our clients with the best service possible.
As trainers, we must constantly adapt and evolve if we are to provide our clients with the best service possible.
Can you tell us one way your psychology degree has helped you in the world of training?
I would say my degree allows me to better understand the motivational and behavioral aspects of our profession. You can be the best trainer in the world, but if you can’t get inside your client’s head and find out what makes him or her tick, then you will most likely either lose that client sooner than expected or be unable to impact their life with more than just a physical transformation.
If you can understand your clients’ “Why?”, (Why they are working out. Why they coming to a trainer. Why they haven’t succeeded with their goals in the past.) then you can take the necessary steps to have a life-changing impact over and over again with multiple clients.
Is there a book that changed the way you do things?
“Fit2Fat2Fit” by Drew Manning had a big impact on my mindset as a trainer. The idea that a coach/trainer would risk his physical (and mental) well-being in order to better understand his clients’ point of view is amazing to me.
This book taught me to always put myself in my client’s shoes to understand why they are unsure of themselves, why they don’t workout on their own, why they can’t get their eating habits under control, etc.
What are you reading right now?
I usually stick to entrepreneurial books and classic literature, but I have recently taken a break from reading. Instead, I am currently looking for a publisher for a children’s fitness book that I recently wrote.
I really want to know more about your children’s book, that sounds exciting. How did you come up with the idea, Who is your target audience, what do you hope to accomplish with it, and when do you think it’ll be released?
When I created my company, I knew I wanted to impact the lives of individuals of all ages. I have always loved working with kids. Originally, when I entered college, I wanted to be an elementary school teacher.
For the past 3 years, I have run a seasonal fitness boot camp for kids in my hometown. With the rise in childhood obesity and diabetes that we have seen in recent years, it is important that we begin teaching kids the importance of taking care of their bodies before they learn unhealthy habits that will be harder to break later in life.
I have already self-published a motivational, self-improvement book, “Be Better Today Than You Were Yesterday!”, which targets an older audience, so I decided to write a book for kids as well.
Without going into too much detail, my new book is an interactive, fitness-oriented story where a young boy must learn a different lesson each chapter about taking care of his mind and body if he is going to survive the situation he has found himself in.
Some of the interactive lessons include Yoga, Meditation, and Calisthenics. The target audience is mainly elementary-school level children. I hope that children, and hopefully the parents/teachers reading along with them, will find it as a fun way to make exercise a part of their daily routine!
I am currently hoping to be picked up by a literary agent, but if that fails, I will self-publish again.
Either way, the book will be available for purchase sometime in 2018!
That sounds amazing, keep us updated! If you were to recommend one entrepreneurial book to a personal trainer right now, what would it be?
I would recommend “Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferriss to not only personal trainers, but to anyone looking to expand their knowledge on a variety of topics.
The book is a compilation of advice from a panel of experts and successful individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Definitely one of the most worthwhile books I have ever read.
What are your top 3 questions you ask when you first meet a potential new client? What are 2-3 other questions you get a lot of info from?
The first question I always ask potential clients is “What is your past workout experience?” This tells me what intensity or style of exercise they are used to, how hard I can push them (or not push them), and find out if they have worked with a trainer before.
Of course, “What restrictions/injuries do you have?” is a must when meeting any potential new client. You need to know what he or she is and is not capable of doing or how to modify any problem exercises.
“How are your current exercise, nutrition, hydration, and sleeping habits?” Hopefully, the potential client will be honest with you so you are able to gauge their current lifestyle habits and how you can improve upon them.
How has your programming changed since last year?
In the past year, I switched from training clients at your typical “big box” gym to a smaller personal training studio. With less equipment and more open space, I focus more on functional training and free weights instead of relying on a wide variety of machines.
In addition to switching locations, I have participated in my first sprint triathlon and powerlifting competition this year, so I took what I learned while training myself for both activities and transferred it into my training style with my clients.
Sprint triathlons and powerlifting can be seen as opposite ends of the spectrum… Whats one big thing that you learned about managing these different sports that helped your clients get better?
Believe me, I felt the same exact way. They really do require completely different styles of training! One main lesson that I can now apply to my training style, is that a client’s workout program is always evolving. It is up to us to accommodate a client’s lifestyle and help him or her achieve the current goals they seek.
When you meet a new client, they may want to lose weight, then the focus may switch to gaining muscle, and along the way they may want to train for a race or a particular sport. Not every client wants to achieve the same goals and goals can change at any time, so we must tailor each workout program for the individual.
Is there any recent continuing education that you really enjoyed?
Besides my continuing education with NASM, I enjoy picking up new exercises and training styles from co-workers, friends, and fellow athletes.
Whats one really good exercise cue you picked up form your co-workers, friends, and fellow athletes. that you use a lot.
“You are capable of more than you think.”
This could refer to pushing yourself for those last few reps during an exercise, trying a sport you never thought you could handle, or achieving goals that seem impossible.
We are only as strong as the people we surround ourselves with and it is always a good idea to learn from those around us. I have received advice and motivation from my support system that I never could have acquired on my own!
What’s one thing that you think is really easy, but works well with many of your clients?
Many clients/athletes neglect the importance of proper breathing while exercising. Through my experience with weightlifting, Yoga, and martial arts, I constantly reinforce proper breathing during my time with clients. Not only have I received feedback from clients about how much it helps while in the gym, but outside in their daily lives as well!
Do you assign homework for breathing, if so what do you normally recommend?
I recommend trying Yoga to all of my clients. Yoga will not only help with controlling your breathing, but also help improve strength, balance, mindfulness, and flexibility.
In addition, I also suggest taking at least one short break each day to clear your mind, take a few deep breaths, and be aware of what is going on around you. Mindfulness and breathing techniques are powerful tools for overall wellness.
Thanks so much Tommy this has been great! Any parting advice for us?
Never stop learning, never stop growing, never stop improving!
Each day is a new opportunity to improve ourselves and where we are at in life. At night, when you lay your head on your pillow, you should feel that you are a little bit smarter, stronger, and/or better than you were when you woke up that day.
Keep this in mind for yourself and pass it on to each of your clients!
How do we get in contact with you?
Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat: @ZyckFit
For personal or online training/other inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Books to read: