Every so often, we love to feature coaches from this great PTDC community that are striving for great things and changing lives within their world, and ask them to share cool training, business, and productivity tips and practices.

Andy Zagami, this month’s featured personal trainer, comes to us from the land of Vegemite. Andy has been running his personal training business for 10 years, though in the early days, he had been diagnosed with cancer when he was 21. The whole experience with battling cancer has transformed his perspective on self-care. Specifically, food can play a powerful role in nourishing or harming the body. This has reshaped his approach to training and educating his clients to find their own version of healthy.

He kindly took some time out of writing his book detailing his heroic story of overcoming cancer and finishing our Online Trainer Academy course to share his thoughts and answers with us. Take it away, Andy!

Location (city, country): Melbourne, Australia

Current position / professional title: Director

Certifications: Certificate 3 & 4 in Fitness from Holmesglen Tafe, NLP, Nutritional Therapy, Certified Online Personal Trainer

# of years in the industry: 10

What’s the one word that describes how you approach your personal training/coaching?


What is your main training focus? For yourself and your clients?

Being able to move and live pain free. I was a gymnast for 14 years so I know what it's like having injuries and how to recover from them. I'm able to apply this knowledge with most of my clients and help them do activities they couldn't do before, such as cleaning out the shed or gardening.

Outside of training, I'm a big believer in nutrition and natural healing. I turned to nutrition during my chemo treatments to help me recover faster and feel better. I eventually became a nutritional therapist to mix my own experience with science to tailor nutrition for my clients.

What’s your morning routine like?

I'm always up at least 90 minutes before my first session so I have time for myself. I'll start by drinking 1/2 a liter of water, then jump on my foam roller for 5-10 minutes. During that time, I'm going through my important tasks for the day to make sure I give them priority.

I rarely eat breakfast because I find that I function better without food until mid morning. I'll either drink a peppermint and orange tea or just go for the apple cider vinegar.

Once my morning routine is done, I’m off to train!

What’s your favorite aspect about being a personal trainer?

Empowering my clients to take control of their own life. I love sharing my knowledge, especially about nutrition. Nutrition, I believe, truly has the ability to change someone's life in ways they never knew possible.

What is your best time-saving shortcut to do better work?

Don't work at home! I'm terrible at this; I do it too much. Want to save time? Sit in a café or a park. When I do this, I'd get 10x more work done in one of these places compared to being at home.

What are some of your favorite technological tools to help you stay on top of everything?

I live by my calendar. It’s not just for my training sessions, but it also reminds me to do things that I need to take care of throughout the day, such as calls I need to make. I’ll be able to remember it if it's all on a schedule.

Excel is becoming a new favorite for me as well. I'm finding it to be a simple way to keep all my clients’ data together, and it’s easy to share with them when I need to.

I use Outlook for email, but really any email system is fine. WordPress & Optimize Press have saved me hours of mucking around on my website because they are so easy to use. (Of course, I had a great web designer as well.) Currently, I use Aweber for my email marketing, which is more than capable for what I need.

What’s your client screening process like? How do you decide how to start writing a program or working with a client?

I'll usually have the first session in person, as I like to see how we get along face to face. Most of the time I'll get them to fill out my questionnaire at the end of our chat. Then they fill out my nutritional survey which helps me identify what their body needs and tailor a nutritional program for them.

How do you organize all of your clients and schedules?

Excel spreadsheets for all their workouts and the Calendar on my iPhone. I like to  keep it simple!

What are you currently reading?

And is there a book you recommend that all coaches read (doesn’t have to be fitness related)?

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss.

The PTDC has a great list of the best books for personal trainers, too.

What other activities or hobbies do you engage in to step away from “just being a coach?”

I love cooking. I may not be very creative in the kitchen, but I enjoy the process of trying to create something out of random food in the fridge. I also like being outdoors, in particular going on hikes. I find that being outside just does wonders for my mind.

Oh, and I definitely watch too many movies (is there really such a thing as “too many” though?)

Your favorite quote:

My own favorite saying is:

Push when necessary, ask for help when needed, and enjoy life.

What was the best lesson you learned when you first started that now helps you out a lot?

Plan everything! I’ve found it important to plan since my first ever business plan and I try to incorporate some level of planning into every aspect of my life.

What have you learned recently that you wished you learned on Day One?

Get out of my own way. I'm still working on this one, but definitely I put myself out there a lot more these past 6-12 months, which has paid off massively.

Basically, get over your own B.S. and your future self will thank you for it. This is what made me write my book, which changed my life in ways nothing else has. It’s changed how I felt about myself, my beliefs around health, and how powerful and valuable my own experience have been to help me help others.

The other advice is: go at your own pace. If you need to have another job to keep the bills coming in first, then do that and slowly build your personal training career until it reaches the same income as your job. Beyond that, put yourself out there as much as you can, talk to people, you'd be surprised at how meaningful saying hi to someone can be. (Thanks, Jon!)

What are your future aspirations?

I’d love to be able to train clients online from all around the world and make an impact that goes beyond my own gym walls. Online training is the first step toward achieving that.

You can follow Andy on Facebook and check out his website at http://www.andrewzagami.com.au.