An entrepreneur who has carved out a niche in the fitness industry as personal trainer to the stars, Grant DeBacher is responsible for Craig David’s incredible physical transformation, as well as many other things. He tells us about how when your personality is your brand, you can’t underestimate the importance of attitude.
BY ELISSA ROSE
Did you have to overcome any hurdles specific to starting a business in the fitness industry?
Oh wow sure, let me tell you a bit more about my business, it’s an in-home personal training service. Traditionally you have a big gym and everyone works out in one space together whereas I’ve carved a niche out in the opposite, which is personal fitness at home. The people I target, businessmen, actors, singers etc. literally don’t have the time to commute from A to B and need someone to get the job done in an efficient manner. What I guarantee my clients is that the time is well spent and will enrich their lives. Time is the best investment we have.
Were there any pragmatic considerations starting a fitness business?
First and foremost, education will be the driver of whatever it is you want to pursue, you have to have a stable foundation you can grow on. It’s something I’m passionate about. To keep my clients safe is the number 1 priority in health and wellness – you don’t want to advise someone to do something that long term isn’t healthy. It’s not a “get ripped quick approach”, it’s just not how the human body works. What’s healthy is a lifestyle change, which is what I try to advocate.
Did you have a turning point that you can recall when the business started to take off?
I created this position not just from necessity, but I was also doing something I didn’t truly enjoy doing. At the moment I was able to stop doing that and do this full time was the moment that really resonated deeply with me, that I was able to do something I love, and get people healthy. What a dream job it’s been thus far. It’s really special.
What kind of fitness trends are you seeing at the moment?
Group fitness is very popular at the moment and is something I would like to pursue in the near future. It’s big because monetarily its very efficient. As opposed to employing a PT or using a high end boutique-style gym it focuses more on numbers and doesn’t hurt the pocket as much. It’s fantastic. I advocate what I like and enjoy which is anything that proactively pushes people to be a healthier version of themselves. There are so many apps out there right now, with the common denominator being that you use them to make yourself healthier. Fitness is not a one size fits all, and if having multiple apps help you to track your food and makes you more aware then that’s great. You’re able to monitor everything that you’re doing more accurately and it adds knowledge. Also, we don’t have time to run on a treadmill for 60 minutes like we once did. If I can help someone achieve the same results in half the time, what a great opportunity science has given us to achieve more in a more efficient way. Science is at the forefront of all this, I can’t imagine where this will be in the next 5 to 10 years, it’s very exciting.
Have you ever been in a position where you have had to manage a client’s unrealistic expectations?
Oh yes! Very often what we see online, on social feeds etc, can be somewhat of a façade and looking at a platform like Instagram, it’s a one second portrayal of one’s life. It’s one small piece of a much larger equation and it’s what you wish people to perceive you as, which might not be quite accurate. From a consumer perspective we have to be very knowledgeable about what we’re taking in and decipher between true and false. I spoke of education so fondly as a foundation but there’s so much misleading information out there. But at the end of the day anything promoting health is great, and it’s amazing that it’s so accessible these days. We just have to be cautious about how we view everything.
“It’s not a “get ripped quick approach”, it’s just not how the human body works. What’s healthy is a lifestyle change, which is what I try to advocate.”
Is that a way you like being perceived? Trainer to the stars?
It’s absolutely about the individual people. Like I said we leave the ego at the door and just be real because that’s the most beautiful display of oneself. We’re all equal. So act like it and let’s get to our goal together.
Do you have any tips for keeping yourself motivated every day?
What’s so cool is the developmental process I have with my clientele means I can draw inspiration from them. I try to take bits and pieces from each one of my clients and enrich my life with their wisdom and their knowledge. In doing so we develop more than a 60 minute per day relationship, we actually formulate a friendship. And if you think a client and trainer relationship powerful, a friendship is much more powerful. We enrich each other’s lives so much that people speak my name, it’s one of the best ways to do it.
Would you say that much of your brand is built around your personality and how you interact with your clients? What advice would you give someone in that situation?
Yes, and as fast as it comes, you can also lose it with the wrong goals and the wrong attitude. I feel that ego is often attributed to that happening – the fall. So, while yes someone can help me in the same respect I can also hurt myself with the wrong perspective. You can never be too big to fail. Mindset and perspective are things you can’t explain to a person until they’ve learned it and lived it. It’s something so powerful that if you go into a situation with the right one, the world is your oyster.