Connect
To Top

Meet South Bay Fitness Trainer: Josh Sola

Today we’d like to introduce you to Josh Sola.  Below you’ll find edited excerpts of our interview with Josh.

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.

I decided to open South Bay Trainer after training in big box gyms and then independently for 7 years, I saw a big problem with the industry, I never felt right charging people $100+ per hour to help them get healthy. I went through a 80lb weight loss myself before becoming a trainer, I understood how difficult and daunting it could be for people, and the simple truth is that a regular person either cant afford to pay a trainer, or doesn’t want to throw away that kind of money for it. I developed a system, of giving people their own individual workouts, in a private facility with their own trainer, except for a fraction of the cost. This system also gave way to the most flexible scheduling (essentially no scheduling) and no late fees or lost sessions for cancellations. Most importantly it allows people to train for a longer period of time because it is affordable. Over the years we have gone from just myself and another trainer to having 5 full time trainers, and being open 7 days a week and an average of 17 hours a day. We have expanded twice from 1000 square feet o 3000, and have an average of 250 active clients at any given time. I have even brought my wife in to handle all back-end procedures and consultations. We are a family business who cares about our clients, our employees and our community.

Has it been a smooth road?

No business owner has a completely smooth road, I opened South Bay Trainer on my own dime, with no help aside from my wife. I always try to do as much myself as I can, from hand picking our equipment, to doing as much of the construction myself both for our opening, and two expansions afterwards. I have had former trainers try to steal clients and our concept, as well as teaching myself everything from advertising, to continually educating myself about new training techniques and keeping my employees and their families well paid. My wife and I work a combined 100 hours a week, we both know each and every client’s name and usually their goals, their careers, their kids or pets name. We love this gym and our clients, and are thankful every day for being able to work so hard for it. All of the struggles have been completely worth it.

What are your plans for the future?

Our plans for the future aren’t 100% clear. We have already expanded our business twice since opening, growing from 1,000sq ft to 2,000sq ft to our current size of 3,000sq ft. We also have had to hire a new trainer every year we’ve been in business and also a full time general manager to run our office. At the current rate, we may be at capacity in 1-2 years. Although we love the idea of opening another facility, it may spread my wife and I, the owner and general manager, too thin and we wouldn’t be able to ensure the high quality and standard of service that make us special. We would almost rather just take care and maintain our staff and clients rather than risk destroying the concept and service we’ve spent so many years creating. We aren’t greedy and would rather run a business right than try to exploit people for profit.

That being said, we are training some of our staff to begin managing. Within the next year or two it may prove that one of them may want to open their own location. If that were the case and they embodied our philosophy, we would allow it and partner with them to help spread affordable personal training to more people in need. We have already been offered opportunities to franchise, but there would be no guarantee that a buyer would recognize that we put people before profits unless that partner had worked under us and in our gym, so we see promoting from within as the only option that would preserve our ideals.

Let’s dig a little deeper into your story.  What was the hardest time you’ve had?

Having gone through a massive weight loss (80lbs) I had a lot of people asking me to help them lose weight as well. At first I did it voluntarily, but pretty soon I realized that I loved helping people and wanted to work as a trainer full time. The problem was that trainers in corporate facilities overcharge, $65-$85/hr and always under-deliver. This happens because the corporate gyms only pay their trainers about 20% of what is being charged, so they are under-motivated. As an independent trainer you have lots of expenses and it is very difficult to build and maintain a client base that can provide a decent living. As a result, I worked in both environments, but primarily as an independent trainer while working at least one other job to pay my bills.

As an independent trainer the paradigm had always been that as you become more experienced, you charge more. A new trainer may charge $20/hr but an experienced one-on-one private trainer will charge anywhere from $65-$120/hr. The hardest time in my career was after several years of working with people that I cared for that couldn’t afford to pay more than $20/hr. Whenever I would begin charging more, I would close myself off to people who deserved and needed the help of a private trainer. That’s when I decided that no matter what, I would only ever offer affordable personal training. It didn’t matter if I was 3xnationally certified or voted south bay’s best trainer, people deserve health and happiness. I lowered my rates and decided that even if I didn’t make as much, it was the right thing to do. Shockingly, as a result, I had such a large influx of clients that within a year of dropping my rates back down to where people could afford I was so busy that I had to open my own gym and hire another trainer to help me! Ever since then I have been more successful than I ever was charging more. It was about taking care of others first and trusting that I would be taken care of as a result. When I opened 5 years ago we had 40 clients, we now have 250 and growing rapidly. People love and appreciate what we do and we love and appreciate our clients!

Do you ever just stop and think WOW – I’ve made it?

Our growth year over year, hiring a new trainer every year, and winning South Bay’s Best 7 times have all been moments that told me I was doing something right, but honestly, being able to be financially secure for my wife and I is what really makes me feel successful.

Pricing:

  • We are the only personal training studio to offer month to month, no contract or hidden fees pricing, we don’t even require our clients to keep their credit card on file.
  • Our 60 minute sessions range between $18 and $40 per session depending on how many days a week someone is coming in.

Our pricing is as follows:

  • 5 days a week $360,
  • 4 days a week $310,
  • 3 days a week $260,
  • 2 days a week $210,
  • 1x a week $160 per month.
  • We also offer 30 minute sessions for $50 less per month as well.
  • Another thing we are unique in is that we also provide nutritional counseling at no extra cost, we are big believers in sustainable dieting, not just helping people lose weight or gain muscle, but giving them the knowledge so they can implement themselves in a few months or a few years if necessary. 

Contact Info:

  • Website: SouthBayTrainer.com
  • Phone: 310-341-8559
  • Email: info@southbaytrainer.com
  • Facebook: facebook.com/SouthBayTrainer/
  • Instagram: instagram.com/southbaytrainer
  • Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/south-bay-trainer-torrance-3

Check out his work below:

10001-File_000 10000-IMG_2682 9999-File_001 9998-IMG_2525 9994-IMG_3470 9996-IMG_3539 9995-IMG_2991 untitled15 9993-IMG_2458 10002-IMG_2871

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in