Shai Lariviere, 2014 Personal Fitness Trainer Graduate
Strength and Conditioning Coach at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Woburn, MA
“I wasn’t the top student in my class at MTTI, but I could tell my Instructors saw the potential in me. In the four years since I left school, I’ve been working my butt off. I wanted to show my instructors that their work paid off; I wanted to make MTTI proud. After several years of discipline, learning and hard work, I feel like I am going to my dream job every day. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”
I wrestled for years during and after High School.
Twice I was the State Champ; at one time I was 13th in the country. Wrestling was my entire life; it was all I wanted to do or be. I didn’t want to work at an office job.
I had been a terrible student in High School.
When I enrolled in a Community College, I was the heaviest I had been—out of shape and unmotivated. I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career.
My mom asked me if I wanted to go to school to become a Personal Trainer.
She encouraged me to enroll at MTTI. I loved the Personal Fitness Trainer program from the first day of class.
I wasn’t the top student in the class.
MTTI gave me a solid base. I didn’t always follow up on what my instructors talked about in class or ask enough questions. I could tell they saw the potential in me; I felt like I wasn’t always living up to that potential. But I got a lot out of it and had a lot of fun.
In the four years since I was at MTTI, it’s been a grind; I’ve been working my butt off.
I had just turned 21 as I graduated from the Personal Fitness Trainer program. I needed to find my own training philosophy.
Working as a Fitness Trainer shortly after graduation, I often felt I was doing things wrong.
I was doing 30 minute trainings with no warm-up, which I’ll never do again. People, particularly older adults need to move around before working out. People were paying, and they were not getting the best from me.
I was getting tired of what I was doing.
Over time, I realized what kind of trainer I wanted to be and recognized that I was not yet that trainer. I began to ask myself, ‘what would get me there’?
I listened to top trainers.
I began to appreciate how important it is to continuously learn and to fix my weaknesses and bad behaviors. I stopped killing time with things that weren’t paying off for me.
I needed to become more disciplined.
I began writing down things I should change, goals I could set and things I could implement. I set goals to study every day, do one Certification every month, look up questions and send emails to fitness pros. Learning comes from implementation—you have to write it down and study it to make it happen.
Small disciplines practiced daily add up.
You don’t realize you are getting there until one day you have a break-through—you look back and recognize what you have accomplished. If you are giving your best every day and at every opportunity, you’ll be a success. Disciplines don’t take that much time – it can be 50 minutes out of a day.
Each day I spend about:
1% of the day reading something related to fitness
1% practicing what I will show my clients
1% reflecting on my day
1% planning something for tomorrow; I have an organizer now to help me plan ahead
This year I certified as a Functional Strength Coach at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning.
In addition to listening to lectures, passing a 50-question multiple choice written exam, attending their On-Site Training, I also had to pass a live practical exam. I thought it might be too high level, but I aced it.
As I completed the Certification, they asked me to intern.
During the internship, I worked with healthy, hard-working, high school and middle school athletes. These young athletes say they want to be an intern like me some day! We are working to make these kids better people—maybe even give them a career to go into.
All of the coaches at MBSC feel fortunate to work here.
They feel appreciated and their work ethic shows it. I’m around great people doing great work—never settling for less again!
When you intern with Mike Boyle’s team, you can’t ‘just get by’.
Every day during my internship, I was the first into the gym and the last one out. I jumped in to help with classes. Every day I cleaned the door, wiped the benches and took out the trash. How many other interns do that?
Three times each day, I went to the Front Desk.
I would ask if they needed help with files or getting signatures on papers. I was the only intern whose name, during the first week, everyone at the Front Desk knew.
During internship, I showed the coaches that I was interested in what they do.
I asked what they expected of me. I questioned them about what they would do in specific situations. I asked for feedback—what am I doing wrong? What can I do better?
My advice to anyone interning is to always find something to ask.
Have things you want to learn. Ask if you don’t know why something works. Find someone who helps you so that you can have a program at the end of the internship where people get better and progress.
At the end of internship, I was hired to work for MBSC.
People don’t thank people enough. I gave out 8 thank you cards to the coaches I interned under after internship—that’s how I got my job.
As a Trainer and a Coach, I’ve learned to focus on people’s strengths—not their weaknesses.
Someone may have a knee that’s hurting, but I will tell him or her, ‘you have you whole upper body to work with’. What works for one person may be different for another. You need to give people options, find ways to make them feel strong.
You have to show clients you care.
Show them you can get them to where they want to go. Help them see their results and praise them for those results.
Have meaningful conversations every day.
Ask clients about their job, what they do for sports, hobbies, ask about their kids. Make goals every day. Who did I not say ‘hi’ to? Who was I awkward with today? Stay after and clean up.
When you coach clients, correct one or two things they are doing at a time.
Look for something you can help them make better. I give one correction and ask one thing about them, for example, ‘what’s your favorite TV show?’ or ‘how are your kids?’
Have a system with variations.
When I meet a new client I assess where they are in relation to a baseline. If they are a returning athlete, I can modify the program to progress them; if the person is out of shape, I can regress them by using a program that is one or two levels down from baseline.
If you are young, don’t worry about your age.
Make yourself knowledgeable. Be prepared and have confidence. Don’t say things that are off-color or unprofessional.
I used to just put things I knew how to do into programs for clients.
Now I have a reason for everything I do in my programs. Don’t be afraid to adapt and change your way of thinking about how you run a session or market yourself. Don’t get married to an exercise—find a better way to do something and do it.
There is tons of opportunity in this industry.
Some trainers complain they don’t have enough clients--that they are not making enough money. If you are in the industry just to make money, it is not going to work.
It’s all about people—helping them to move better and feel better.
If you are not successful, it’s because you are not making yourself presentable to people.
Make sure you have a work place you respect and where you are respected.
Show your respect for others. Say ‘hi’ to everyone first every day—just smile and say ‘hi’. Go up to them and acknowledge them.
It is such a privilege to work for Mike Boyle.
Just to be part of that team means the world to me. I get to learn and up my game every day. I love what I do.
MTTI planted the seeds in me to study and learn.
I needed to get my head out of my butt and learn every day. Going out to work after graduation, I wanted to show my instructors that their work paid off. I wanted to make MTTI proud. I thank Jen and Chris for believing in me.
I also thank the people who supported me.
I am grateful for my parents and my twin, Shoneil; and for my close friends and my clients.
I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
After several years of discipline, learning and hard work, I feel like I am going to my dream job every day.
Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning
MBSC offers the most comprehensive performance enhancement training, reconditioning and personal training in the nation. MBSC's results-driven approach covers every aspect necessary to achieve your goals, whether they involve sports performance, weight loss, or a healthier lifestyle.
29 Draper Street
Woburn, MA 01801
General inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org