6 Lessons from Working in the Fitness Industry 6 Months


If you don’t know me yet, I am Ryan, the Minister of Magic at The Plex.

I came from waiting tables at On the Border to take my position here the end of November 2020.

Since I came into the industry, I have learned a lot and taken a few notes on weight loss, confidence, building muscle and more.

Here are a few of those notes…


If you are anything like me, you have felt the guilt of missing a workout or indulging in a meal that wasn’t part of your plan and fallen off the horse. 

You miss one workout and then miss a week. 

A week becomes two. 

A bad meal turns into a month of crash dieting and you find yourself in worse shape than you started.

This is caused by perfectionism. 

Whether you think you’re a perfectionist or not, we have these tendencies because we didn’t do perfect on our diet and exercise so we skew in the complete opposite direction. 

We feel like we have failed so we continue to self-sabotage. 

Shifting your mind to accept that consistency is more important than perfection is powerful. Just showing up everyday starts to have a compound effect. 

Even if you feel like you had a poor workout, or you ate a little more than you meant to, you are still doing better thanked you not tried. 

So don’t let the tiny set backs turn into a spiral out of control.

No one got fat from one “bad” meal. 

Nobody lost all their gains from one missed or mediocre workout.

Just get back on the horse!

Speaking of self-sabotage…

We are our own worst enemies

I feel like we first start working out with this preconceived notion that everybody is watching and judging us. 

Seeing how weak we are. 

Seeing how bad our form is or how we are using a piece of equipment wrong.

However, all I see in the gym all day is positive reinforcement from other members. 

Complete strangers taking the time to pop an earbud out to congratulate another member on their progress and how much weight they’ve lost or how much muscle they’ve grown.

Quite the opposite from the idea that there is judgement in the gym.

So that leads me to conclude that it must be our own inner voice, our own insecurities, and our own limiting beliefs filling us with these lies.

I’ve complimented guys much bigger and stronger than I am, that I am genuinely impressed by their physiques, only for them to self-deprecate.

 “Yeah, Ryan, but I still have all this belly fat” or “Yeah, I wish”

Which honestly breaks my heart that we beat ourselves up so much. 

To the few people that stumble onto these blogs, I just want to say give yourself credit for your wins. 

Quit beating yourselves up so much. 

Be proud of how far you’ve come. 

Look back on who you used to be and pat yourself on the back for your progress. 

You deserve to feel good about your progress. 

I am guilty every now and again of these pitfalls too, so know we all go through it, but I still wanted to address the issue.

Now with constantly trying to give positive feedback, I learned…

You tell someone something enough and they start to believe it

The flip side of giving encouragement and people not believing you, is it will eventually wear on them over time.

I am speaking from personal experience because I was always one of the weaker people growing up and was discouraged from trying to get stronger feeling like I was already behind everyone else.

This led me to never take the gym seriously.

But working here, I have people commend me all the time on how far I’ve come, or how strong I have gotten and you know what??

I finally believed them.

I finally saw the progress.

I finally became friends with the guy in the mirror.

And I have seen it work for many others as well.

So build people up as much as you can.

They might just need a little nudge to help them believe in themselves.

Focusing on getting strong is more effective than focusing on weight loss

As for my own weight loss experience, I have noticed when I focused on getting stronger, the pounds melted away and I became happy with how I looked much quicker than had I only focused on the scale. 

You must focus on strength training to lose significant weight, which is contrary to the cardio overload most people think you have to do to lose weight. 

Cardio can be used to lose weight but you get much more bang for you buck when putting on muscle.

Higher muscle mass speeds up you metabolism and causes you to burn more calories than with a lower muscle mass.

So there is a compound effect from getting stronger and putting on muscle because not only do you have the new muscle, but you also lose weight easier.

So if you have been burning yourself out on the treadmill, cut your cardio down to no more than 1-2 hours per week and start focusing on strength training.

And ladies that are worried about getting “bulky”…

I promise you, you won’t get ginormous by accident.

It takes incredible discipline to get as big as the ladies you see on the stage or at competitions.

But if you do incorporate some strength training, it will do things for your body that would make a plastic surgeon jealous.

Trust me on this one. 

Go lift some heavy weights

Variety makes fitness fun

I came into working here having only really done some basic strength training, a bit of yoga and coming fresh off a marathon. 

So I had tasted a few flavors, but the Plex offered so much more.

I tried spin, and even teach it from time to time now.

I tried Thunder with Terri, which surprised me the workout I got and how much fun I had.

I got into some powerlifting with Trey and he showed me how strong I was (despite my negative perception of my strength throughout my life).

I worked out with many different people with many different strengths that challenged me to develop my weaknesses.

And what doing all this did for me was show me how much fun changing it up can be.

Breaking up the monotony of fitness and tasting new flavors kept a fire in me to constantly challenge myself and get comfortable with getting out of my comfort zone.

So if you find fitness boring, change it up and try some different things and you will surprise yourself how reinvigorated you will feel.

Happiness is directly related to your focus on other people

And finally, my most important lesson…

This isn’t just a lesson for the workplace but a lesson for life in general.

I have had my best days at work when my full focus is “How can help people today?”

Serving others is the most selfish, selfless thing you can do because your aim is to help them, but they end up filling your soul up even more.

The more you give this world, the more it gives you back in return. 

So if you take anything from this blog…

Give more, serve more, give out a helping hand however you can.

If you find yourself unhappy in life, it is typically when you are too focused on yourself.

Try shifting that focus to others and I can almost guarantee it’ll turn it around for you.

These 6 lessons are just the tip of the iceberg.

The fitness industry is an incredibly rewarding industry.

I deem it ESSENTIAL.

Because I see lives changing everyday.

I see people getting to escape from whatever is troubling them.

This gym is a sanctuary.

It’s a happy place.

If you or someone you know has needed a nudge in taking care of themselves better,

Email me @

I would love to help you feel as good as I get to feel every single day.

Peace out, Plex Fam and Happy Memorial Day!