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Corporate Training

Meet three trainers who know Hawaii's executives from the inside out

KALANI PA (RIGHT) was the personal trainer for executive Chip Doyle, who ranks No. 2 in the Fittest CEO contest. Pa was promoted to fitness manager of 24 Hour Fitness in Kapiolani. photo: Rae Huo
Chip Doyle, president and chief executive officer of Group Pacific (Hawaii) Inc., feels as if he’s “just been beaten up” every time he meets with trainer Kalani Pa at the 24 Hour Fitness in downtown Honolulu.

Pa has a reputation for kicking executives’ butts. The former college gymnast has worked with managers from Cox Radio, Honolulu Builders and Gentry Pacific, and at his peak, was doing 120 sessions a month, six days a week. This summer, Pa was promoted to fitness manager and transferred to the Kapiolani branch – but not before his client, Doyle, finished No. 2 in the Fittest CEO competition.

“Training is worth every cent,” says Doyle, who now has a different trainer downtown. “I wasn’t getting results on my own.”

A decade ago, most fitness workers were part-timers or independent contractors, but today, about 75 percent of fitness professionals are employees, and almost two-thirds are salaried, according to the IDEA Health and Fitness Compensation Survey released last June. The U.S. Department of Labor says the fitness industry’s rapid growth will generate more employment opportunities than the average for all occupations through 2014.

In Hawaii, trainers charge between $45 and $80 per hour, depending on their reputation and level of experience. The reputable ones typically are certified by one of three national groups, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Some trainers cater to niches such as post-injury rehab, or golf and marathon clinics.

Li Si Yang, owner of Journey to Fitness LLC in Kapahulu and a competitive bodybuilder, lists the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation among her corporate clients. She met with Weinberg employees three times a week, assisting them with everything from diet to exercise. “With executives, their job is No. 1,” she says. “You can’t tell them what their priorities are; you have to work at their level.” She holds private classes in her studio blending yoga, Pilates and weight training with outdoor cardio.

Fitness industry wages are above the U.S. hourly standard. Instructors earn an average of $20.25 per hour, while wages for instructors specialized in yoga and Pilates, group fitness and personal training range between $23.75 and $30.50 per hour.

source: idea health and fitness compensation survey, june 2007

Mike Hann, a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym, meets three times a week for resistance training and boxing with Sharon Serene, owner of Sharon Serene Creative and a participant in the “above 50” category of Hawaii’s Fittest CEOs. “My clients are so accomplished in the business world, but there’s one aspect in their life that’s out of balance, and that’s their health,” Hann says. Serene lost 60 pounds in two years under Hann’s tutelage.

These three trainers are familiar with job burnout. In fact, that is why they left their previous careers for the fitness industry. Both Pa and Hann were graphic artists. Yang worked more than 60 hours a week at her parents’ Asian grocery store in Kaneohe.

“I got tired of sitting at a desk all day, plus I was also bartending and coaching gymnastics at the same time,” Pa recalls. Hann says: “I didn’t want to sit in the office doing a 9-to-5 job anymore.” Yang earlier this year helped her parents sell their store, freeing up time for her business.

To be successful, Pa says trainers must offer excellent customer service and educate clients without making them feel inferior. “I tell my staff that you have to provide them with something they need,” Pa says. “If they don’t need you, they’re going to walk away.”

MIKE HANN of Gold’s Gym trains Sharon Serene, who participated in the “above 50” category of Hawaii’s Fittest CEO contest. She lost 60 pounds in two years.
LI SI YANG, a competitive bodybuilder and owner of Journey to Fitness LLC, recently introduced private, group classes blending yoga, Pilates strength and cardio training.

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