Born and raised in Gold Coast, Australia, S&C student, Daniel, grew up in with a love for strength training and bodybuilding. In just a few short years, he has gone from qualifying as a pilot to becoming an S&C and nutrition coach. In our latest blog, Daniel chats to us about his online business, starting an online business, Recalibrated Bodies, with his partner, Amanda, why he became a coach and why he feels education is important.
Q1: Daniel, you’ve led quite the journey over the past few years. Can you bring us back to the start and tell us what made you change career from pilot to coach?
It has been a rollercoaster, that’s for sure! I earned my Bachelor of Aviation and graduated as a commercial pilot from an airline trainee program in Australia in 2012. Following graduating, the airline market took a dip and the airline I was trained under could not afford to hire us. After spending some time (and money) trying to maintain my ratings and licences to remain eligible for employment, I realised my heart wasn’t in it anymore.
From when I started training at the age of 15, I become obsessed with learning more about training methodologies, nutrition, and human physiology so that I could apply it to my own training and diet. I would spend most of my spare time reading anything I could get my hands. About a year-and-a-half after graduating from my degree and pilot trainee program, I decided to follow what had turned into my passion and retrained as a personal trainer and nutritionist. The rest is history.
Q2: From Australia to Portugal with a few stops in between, can you tell us how you prepared yourself and your business to essentially move from country to country?
After personal training for a while, I realised that I could get most of my clients (who were general population looking to improve body composition) better results and in a more cost-effective manner by coaching them online. Most of my clients needed a structured plan with frequent progress reviews and accountability more than they needed me to be there with them in every training session. It was at this point that we set up Recalibrated Bodies and started full-time online coaching. This enabled us to work from anywhere in the world. Moving to and travelling around different countries had absolutely no impact on our business – most of our clients didn’t even know where we were located most of the time!
Q3: Can you give some insights into running an online business. What are the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Sure. Running an online business has so many positives and advantages, but it certainly has its challenges also. One of the greatest is simply getting clients. Unlike personal training in a gym where club members are going to learn who the trainers are pretty fast, there is no direct way to network or get leads in an online setting – no one knows you even exist! You have to get pretty creative and good at marketing yourself online to become known to people. Also, unlike in a gym where potential clients have only a handful of trainers to choose from, those familiar with trainers online have thousands to choose from around the world. Developing enough trust and desire for that client to choose YOU as their coach can take some serious work!
Q4: You’ve had an interesting journey to choose coaching as your career. Who has influenced you? Who are/were your mentors?
Funnily enough, I got into the industry because I believed people wasted money on trainers who didn’t really care about their clients – I didn’t really have anyone influence me. I’m from the Gold Coast – it’s the Australian equivalent of Venice Beach. Over there, trainers are in abundance and everyone hires a trainer at some point. Unfortunately, many of these trainers don’t take their job too seriously and most clients don’t make the progress they hoped for. I wanted to change that.
Some of the people I look up to include:
- Dr John Berardi
- Dr Eric Helms
- Dr Liam Hennessy
- Dr Mike Israetel
- Brad Schoenfield
- Alan Aragon
Q5: No doubt you’ve been exposed to many different coaching styles and techniques throughout your coaching career. Can you describe some of the values that you feel are important as a coach?
I sure have. My number one value in coaching is putting your client’s needs and best interest before your own. It sounds obvious but it’s incredible how many trainers fail at this, especially in the online coaching community where everyone is trying to get noticed, have the newest trend, and become the most popular.
Many are too willing to force a certain training method/modality, nutritional protocol, etc., onto a client, even though it may not be what they necessarily need, want or can adhere to. I feel it’s not just ethical to put your clients’ needs before your own, but it’s also the best way to help them succeed and get amazing results – you know, that thing they’re paying you for!
Q6: When dealing with a variety of clients, I’m sure you’ve seen many different trends within the fitness industry. Are there any trends that you feel are worth paying attention to and that the general public could benefit from/or trends that they should be wary of?
The trends never stop! I really don’t like getting caught up in them and don’t pay much attention to them, so I’m not the most clued up on what trends are current. However, I’m a massive fan of all things promoting strength training; CrossFit, powerlifting, strongman/woman, bodybuilding etc. I also advocate anything evidence-based but, unfortunately, I feel that trend is being diluted by people that don’t fully understand what being evidence-based means.
Some trends I can’t stand and would be wary of are the cult type trends such as extreme dietary beliefs (e.g. carnivore and keto diets at the moment); basically anything that promotes black and white thinking and “ours is better than yours” types of mentality.
Q7: What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?
I love problem-solving. I love planning, executing, monitoring and revising my clients’ programs and progress to help them reach their goals in the most efficient and effective manner.
Q8: Liam often says, “Don’t let your knowledge lead to learning only, let it lead to action”. As a coach, how important do you feel education is?
Extremely! No one can possibly have all of the knowledge needed to coach just from experience. I started studying with Setanta College because I knew that I didn’t know anywhere near enough to help a diversified range of clients, especially the more athletic clientele. It’s simply impossible to learn enough just by working in the field! I believe furthering your education is the only way you can gather a significant amount of information to help improve your understanding in a timely manner to help get your clients better results.
Q9: Along with running a successful business, you are also a busy Dad. Do you have any tips for other busy parents on time-management and keeping motivated?
Time-management is a tricky one – I often feel like I’m just trying to control a runaway train at times! Learning to prioritise has been most helpful though. I like to think of it like periodisation; you have to learn how to organise what you’re going to give your energy and focus to over a macrocycle, mesocycle and microcycle – you can’t work on everything all at once.
My motivation rarely dwindles as it’s intrinsic – everything I do is because I truly love doing it. I’m always extremely eager to learn, to help my clients, to improve our business and its systems, motivate others, educate where I can, etc. When you’re intrinsically motivated, it’s harder not to manage everything as you’re so keen to improve everything.
Q10: With a busy year ahead, what does the future hold for Recalibrated Bodies?
We always have a few projects going on in the background – we like to stay busy! We plan to publish some books/eBooks, improve our online coaching platform, release an app, and are in talks about opening a gym in the near future.
Q11: It’s been great to talk to you Daniel and see the success you have had. Have you any advice for an aspiring S&C coach who can learn from your journey?
Thank you, it’s been a pleasure. My advice is to continue your education for as long as you can, start coaching as soon as you can so you can apply what you’re learning as soon as possible, be prepared to work as hard as you can, and to become obsessed with the process.