Getting fit, virtually

WAG fitness columnist Giovanni Roselli speaks with health and fitness coach Eric Pellini about challenges and joys of virtual training.

Eric Pellini has been a close friend and colleague of mine for many years. I am proud to say I have seen Eric rise through the ranks of health and fitness coaching to be recognized as one of the top coaches in our area. As so many in the fitness sector continue to adjust during these unique times, I recently spoke with Eric on his current business model and future plans.

Why do you love to coach? 

“Ten years ago, my decision to become a coach was a life preserver for me. I was a young, aspiring broadcast journalist who had little empathy for himself. Life post college issued a flurry of its hardest punches and my ego was bruised, confidence low and the overall path in life seemed to vanish. 

“Addressing my health brought me back to an earlier version of myself I could love. My evolution as a coach and a person have been parallel journeys. My commitment to growth in both aspects of my life allows me to be a great asset to each person I work with….

“As the years passed, I realized my journey as a coach gave me tools I needed to continue to evolve and help others find their way. Everyone deserves the chance to be happy.”

As someone who has launched an online business, tell us how similar is an in-person training session versus a virtual experience? 

“When transitioning to virtual, it’s important to create a workspace that embodies your energy. When you have a space and a brand that’s authentic to you, your clients can adapt seamlessly to the virtual experience. 

“I invested time and energy into my vision. I moved to a bigger place, renovated the garage into a gym and upgraded my technology to provide top-notch audio and visual.

“My clients really look forward to the experience and in most cases we forget that we are miles apart.” 

What have you learned since shifting to virtual training?

“It’s about empowering the students, which is the focus of my class, Transferable Strength. 

“Guiding students to any health goal depends a lot on helping them find self-awareness (and the) ability to self-adjust and build self-confidence.

“I want my students to gain their independence so our training transfers into daily life.”

What would you say to someone who is hesitant to try virtual training?

“That I understand their hesitation. Many of my clients were skeptical about virtual classes and training, but once they experienced the community feel and attention to detail, they knew they had found something special.”

What’s your favorite thing to coach? 

“I consider myself a human mechanic. I enjoy guiding my students towards better movement with acute attention to execution and the fundamentals of breath work. If the strength isn’t transferrable, what’s the point?”

What lessons and knowledge have you learned over the last year that you want to share?

“Our conscious ability to control and manipulate our breath might be our greatest ability to manage mental and physical strength. With better control of our central nervous system, anything is possible.

“I have increased my baseline strength levels, as well as my clients, with as little as 10 minutes of breathing prior to strength training.” 

Is virtual training the future?

“In-person training isn’t going away, but virtual training adds flexibility and the opportunity for greater reach.”

How have you tried to separate yourself in this competitive environment?

“Curiosity and great communication equals great coaching. The ability to deliver client-centered coaching requires genuine curiosity for each student. First, listen to the person in front of you and you will learn what they need. Active listening builds trust and helps each client understand where they are in their journey and how they can get to where they want to go.”

How do you keep people motivated during a pandemic when there is so much anxiety and mental exhaustion?

“Lead the way. I have found vulnerability to be my super power in 2020. By sharing insecurities and challenges through social media and in my one-on-one sessions, I help create a safe space for others to do the same. 

What advice do you have for someone looking to start an at-home training program via virtual fitness?

“Reach out to me. Nothing beats speaking with someone who can take into account your personal barriers to entry. Find a coach you feel you can relate to and who takes the time to understand your unique needs.” 

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