I AM inerTRAIN: Client Number Zero

Two years ago, I was dreaming of a way that I could take my personal trainer and my customized workout program with me wherever I went so I could keep working toward my fitness goals even when I was on the go. Today, with inerTRAIN, this dream has become a reality. Anyone can now benefit from the expertise and motivation that a personal trainer provides without the limitations of time or place.

But, I don’t want you to take it just from me. Today we have a guest blog post from Rob Armstrong, who jokingly refers to himself as “inerTRAIN Client Number Zero”. (When he heard about inerTRAIN, he made me promise that I would let him know the minute we went live so he could be “Client Number One”. However, we recruited him early to be one of our beta test clients, so he became “Client Number Zero”.)

Rob is a young corporate professional who travels frequently for his job. After working with one of our trainers over a very hectic month, he successfully kept up his fitness program and made progress toward his goals. Now he plans to keep his workouts going with the help of inerTRAIN.

I am looking forward to many more stories like Rob’s in the future.

Growing Up is Hard to Do

Remember when we were kids, and all we wanted to do was grow up, with the promises of freedom, autonomy, doing whatever we wanted, going wherever we wanted, eating whatever we wanted, staying up as late as we wanted? And now we find our adult lives full of busy careers with constant travel, limited healthy dining options while entertaining clients at business dinners, the joys of jetlag, and the occasional 18-hour workday. At least back then, we were young and our bodies could absorb as many calories and as much physical punishment as we could dole out. But now that we’re older, our bodies can no longer “roll with the punches” as well as they used to, stress takes a toll, and we begin to slow down, wear down, and soften up.

Growing up sure turned out different than I thought it would be…

Don’t get me wrong, there are many great things about it – happy marriages, good careers, the opportunity to see the world and experience things you never even imagined you’d have the chance to enjoy when you were younger — all things that I am so lucky to enjoy today as a (relatively) young, happily married, successful professional. But in all of this growing up and building a family and a career, I really lost sight of what got me here – namely, me.

Over the last 4 years, I’ve traveled 70% of the time, with a large portion of that time spent internationally in Asia and Europe. I’ve transformed from what used to be a relatively fit and athletic guy to a much softer and rounder version of myself than I ever thought probable, or even possible. Improper work-life balance, regular 70-hour weeks, nearly 30 pounds of extra weight, and the first warning signs of high cholesterol – is this really who I wanted to be when I “grew up”?

I’ve done some thinking recently about priorities and about taking better care of myself. I’ve spoken to my wife multiple times over the last two years about wanting and needing to make a change, and though I would see some limited successes, it was only until the next fire drill at work, or long international business trip, or holiday celebration that I would lose focus, falter, and fall back into my bad habits. If I really was going to be successful, if I really was going to be who I imagined and hoped I would be when I was younger, something was going to have to change.

I needed something to keep me accountable and motivated, something to keep me focused on myself and my health among all of the other demands of adulthood. Luckily enough, through a close business colleague and personal friend, I had the opportunity to be what I jokingly refer to as “Client Number Zero” for inerTRAIN as a pre-launch test user, and I jumped at the opportunity. It’s worth a shot, right?

I never could have a personal trainer with all my business travel, and I’m relatively frugal, so I wasn’t sure if I could afford one anyway, so I figured this was a good way to try out something new and different. I got setup in the system, answered some questions about my current health, my workout preferences, and my future goals, and I got matched with my trainer, Kevin. Kevin sent me a note that very same day, asked a few questions to clarify what I wanted to accomplish, and I had my first workout within days of signing up. I was ready to give this “healthy lifestyle thing” a shot with renewed energy.

Within the first two weeks of working with Kevin virtually, I was able to shed 4 pounds and start to feel a difference in terms of functional strength and overall energy. He had me using equipment (or not any equipment at all) in ways I had never used it before. If I had questions about a particular exercise or if I found that the suggested weight was too much or too light, I adjusted my routine, documented how things felt, and sent Kevin a note after the routine so he could help coach me and adjust things for the next time.

The first two weeks went by very quickly and smoothly… but I wasn’t worried about the first two weeks, I was worried about the two-week long marathon business trip to Asia for which I was preparing. Sure, inerTRAIN could work at home at my regular gym during my regular hectic schedule, but could it work as I traveled across 8 cities in 5 countries halfway around the world to attend 38 meetings in the course of 12 days? This was the ultimate test – for me and for inerTRAIN.

I am not easily impressed, but when I touched down in Australia and had my first workout waiting for me designed specifically for the fitness equipment available at my hotel in Brisbane, I was. And then when I had similar experiences in Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou – all different and unique based on where I was staying and what progress and gains I showed in my last workout – I was sold.

I was exhausted and tired, I had hundreds of unread emails in my inbox piling up every night , but just having Kevin there with my next workout in the queue, asking how things were going really helped me make my fitness a priority when my regular travel routine (and general inertia) would have had me prioritize work instead. That level of customization, paired with the level of accountability that I felt, was what made the difference for me. It wasn’t me deciding whether I had the energy or the willpower to go down to the gym for a single workout – it was more than that. This was part of an overall customized fitness plan that I needed to stick to and was being held accountable to by someone else.

It was a pretty cool experience (and needless to say much more enjoyable) to be able to travel halfway around the world and have a very successful business trip without sacrificing my health. How many people can say they took their personal trainer with them on a business trip? Now I can. It is not something I would have ever imagined as a kid, but now as an adult with a busy career, and someone who appreciates what technology can do to improve lives, it really is something awesome and unique that hasn’t even been an option in the market… until now.

I didn’t know that I was a potential user for this type of service – and was skeptical of the likelihood of my success pursuing it. But I put myself up to the test – and put inerTRAIN to the test – and both came out the other side for the better. Because of that, I can say…

I am inerTRAIN.

我是 inerTRAIN.

Saya inerTRAIN.

मैं हूँ। inerTRAIN.

… and I’m not done yet! Next up is Belgium in October and Brazil in November. I’ll guess I’ll need to brush up on my German and Portuguese…

(I had hoped and planned to do a video recording in each of my international destinations during my trip, but technical difficulties prevented me from successfully recording any – except for my first attempt in the airplane while here in the States. Check it out here.)