Starting a career in any industry can be both exciting and confusing. Starting your own fitness business can be even perplexing and overwhelming without the proper focus and direction.
Today, we’re talking to Breanne Celiberti who is a personal trainer and educator, who is passionate about teaching her students and clients to focus and to implement practical activities to achieve their respective goals. Her brand of empathetic and educational exercise training is helping to develop the successful fitness entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.
Meet Breanne Celiberti, Educator and Personal Trainer
Schimri Yoyo: Welcome back. This is Schimri Yoyo with exercise.com and we are continuing our series of interviews with fitness experts and today we have the pleasure of having Breanne Celiberti, who is an educator at the University of Tampa. She teaches courses in human performance and she’s also a personal trainer in the Tampa, Florida area. So thank you, Breanne, for joining us.
Breanne Celiberti: Thank you for having me.
Schimri Yoyo: Alright, let’s jump into it. How did you become passionate about fitness training?
Breanne Celiberti: Sports and fitness were always a part of my life growing up as probably a lot of people in the fitness industry have. And as I learned through my own experiences how exercise and fitness and nutrition can change your body, I wanted to be able to help others with that as well.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. And now you mentioned playing sports growing up. Which sports did you play growing up and do you play any sports now?
Breanne Celiberti: Yeah, growing up I played soccer and cheerleading—those were probably my two main sports. In college, I played intramural soccer. But now, I just stick to the gym.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s alright. Got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them. Right? Know when to walk away.
Breanne Celiberti: Exactly.
Schimri Yoyo: Haha. Just kidding. In what ways do you prepare yourself for competitions or physical activity when you’re going after them?
Breanne Celiberti: Sorry, do you mean in what way?
Schimri Yoyo: In what ways as far as preparing yourself for any of the training or physical activities that you take part with your clients, is there anything that you do physically for yourself before you engage in training with your clients?
Breanne Celiberti: I got you. No, I don’t think there’s anything specifically. But being able to replicate the programs that you’re giving your clients or being able to walk the talk yourself is very important I think in the fitness industry. So I’d never do something for my clients that I wouldn’t program for myself.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. Now, you’re a professor, an adjunct professor at the University of Tampa and I believe you have a Masters of Science in Exercise Kinesiology from the University of Central Florida?
Breanne Celiberti: Correct.
Schimri Yoyo: Go, Golden Knights, right? So why did you choose to pursue formal education and advanced degrees in exercise?
Breanne Celiberti: So, originally I thought I’d go to school for journalism, and then I realized health and fitness are really my passion. So then, I changed my major in undergrad to Exercise Science. Then, I enjoyed that so much and I thought I wanted to go into the research route of things. So that’s why I continued with my Master’s. And I had looked into my Ph.D. for a little bit, but I decided don’t need to go that far.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s that. Now when you’re not exercising and when you’re not training your clients, what are some things you’d like to do for fun?
Breanne Celiberti: For fun? I know it’s always like what do I do outside of the gym? But I love live music, so I love going to concerts. Luckily, here in Tampa, we’re very close to the beach, so I love taking advantage of that too. Just any type of outdoor activity.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. What was the last live concert that you went to?
Breanne Celiberti: Actually, this past Friday (September 13, 2019), I was at a country one. It was Chris Young.
Pedagogy Promoting Practical Experience
Schimri Yoyo: Nice, alright. Now let’s get into a little bit on some of your teaching and coaching philosophy and practice. Tell us about what courses do you teach now?
Breanne Celiberti: Sure. Right now I am teaching, it’s Personal and Family Wellness and so it’s kind of a general class that covers all topics of wellness for freshmen and sophomores. And then I also teach an adult fitness course, which is basically just kind of the basics of running a fitness business.
Schimri Yoyo: Now what are some of your favorite projects that you’d like to assign?
Breanne Celiberti: Ooh, that’s a good one. This past couple of semesters I’ve had my students creating their own type of fitness facility— whether it’s a yoga studio or maybe a strength and conditioning gym. So each lesson is a different factor of the fitness business. So, they build their facility alongside that. And I think it’s a cool project. I don’t know what they think.
Schimri Yoyo: No, that sounds pretty unique. Pretty good. And it gives them a good perspective of all the different aspects of running a business that they may not think about or be exposed to.
Breanne Celiberti: Right.
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Schimri Yoyo: Now, how do you keep your students motivated about the course content?
Breanne Celiberti: Honestly, I think the best way to keep them motivated and engaged and interested is trying to relate it to their lives, especially as an undergrad. Maybe they don’t have a lot of career experience, but I do what I can to relate—whether it’s bosses or leaders they’ve had on sports teams or coaches—just trying to reflect back to them and get them to think about how something might relate to their personal life so that they can relate better to it.
Schimri Yoyo: Alright. Would your students describe you as a hard grader or an easy grader?
Breanne Celiberti: I’m definitely an easy grader. I’ve got to say. I expect participation, but I’ll grade easily.
Schimri Yoyo: Alright. What’s the relationship between injury prevention, recovery, and rehabilitation? And how do you incorporate that both in your coursework and in your personal training?
Breanne Celiberti: So, as we know, everything comes from prevention. But with a lot of clients that are coming to you, they’re usually past that prevention part and they’ve probably already had some type of injury.
So I always am just looking what surgeries or injuries have they had in the past and what are some things that we can work on to help continue to strengthen their recoveries or what we can do to prevent injuries similar to that in the future. Especially with a lot of the middle-aged women I train, scoliosis is a big factor. I’m always working on things that’ll help keep balance and keep their posture straight. So I guess that all ties in together.
Schimri Yoyo: So, you talked a little bit about working with undergrads and they’re not necessarily career minded yet. But how are some ways that you prepare them to keep their mindset on future careers in the health and fitness industry or at least expose them to that?
Breanne Celiberti: So, this is actually a really important subject to me because I did change paths a lot within the fitness industry myself. I like to lay it out there my first day of class in any course. We might be going over course content that’s specific to that course, but I also want to provide any help I can with internships or jobs or job shadowing.
Because throughout the semester, I try to make it clear to students that it’s really important for them to get that experience in undergrad, so once they’re graduating or looking for grad school, they have a better idea of what areas of the industry do interest them.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s amazing. That’s pretty good that you keep that focus for them.
Breanne Celiberti: I try to keep a job board actually on my students, like a Blackboard page just so that they can see anything that come up that might be applicable to them.
Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s a unique take. I wish I would’ve had more teachers like you. That would have been helpful. To point you in the right direction.
What’s your favorite part of being an educator?
Breanne Celiberti: My favorite part is along those lines of being able to help students and knowing that was me ten years ago or so and trying to help them focus on what they want to do and make the most out of their education. Because I think I definitely could have taken advantage of some more resources that I had back in college.
Schimri Yoyo: Now what’s more difficult to read? A poor review from a personal training client or the end of semester course evaluations?
Breanne Celiberti: It’s definitely harder to read a bad review from a personal training client. With students, you get so many mixed reviews. About 50 percent will say great things. Twenty-five percent won’t answer anything. Twenty-five percent that—are usually the ones that don’t really come to class—are the ones that are going to leave a bad review. So, I always take those [reviews] with a grain of salt unless there’s something really specific that stands out.
Schimri Yoyo: I’m sure you don’t get many bad personal trainer reviews, but I tried to keep the light—
Breanne Celiberti: Knock on wood, I haven’t yet.
Schimri Yoyo: I know this. I was a former educator myself. I taught in high school and some adjunct faculty, so I always got a kick out of the course evaluations at the end of the semester.
Breanne Celiberti: Yeah, you know exactly how it looks.
Empathetic and Educational Personal Training
Schimri Yoyo: Alright. Now, thinking about your business and your personal training clients, what one word would best describe your approach to training them?
Breanne Celiberti: I would have to say empathetic. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but I like to always when they come into the gym like, “Oh, how are you today? How are you feeling? Are you sore?”
Maybe they’ve just had a long day at work and they have very low energy, so of course, I’m not going to be too tough on them. I’m just going to go through the basics and just try to be empathetic of their situations and their personal life and still try to push them to reach their goals.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. Now, take some time to brag a little bit about the work that you do with Peerfit and what you and your colleagues were able to accomplish with your clients.
Breanne Celiberti: Sure. So with Peerfit, that’s basically a wellness platform that we work with corporate wellness benefits, and I think it’s really awesome because we’re giving the opportunity to different employees with being able to come and choose their own workouts.
So they’re able to have a yoga class or a spin class. It’s not narrow, right? It’s very specific to the user, which, I think, translates over very well at personal training as well because everyone has unique and specific goals and fitness shouldn’t be a cookie-cutter thing.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. Now, what kinds of people have had the most success under your training? What are some common traits?
Breanne Celiberti: I think that the most common traits would be that they’re very mindful of themselves. Self-aware, I guess. Knowing what’s going to keep them from getting to their goals.
They might know the specific schedules they need to train on. Just being aware like, “Okay, I need to go to the gym every Tuesday and Thursday and get my training session in.” Where people who are more lackadaisical, they probably aren’t going to have as much success because they might be coming to me to train, they might be canceling, sometimes be late and it’s going to hinder your progress.
Schimri Yoyo: Now, how can you encourage your clients to maximize their physical potential towards making progress with their goals without having them succumb to burnout or injury?
Breanne Celiberti: Sure. So, most of my clients train with me twice a week, and I kind of limit the cardio that we do during our sessions because, obviously, it’s going to be easier for them on their own time to go to the gym and just get a quick cardio session in or go out for a walk. So, I’d rather them spend their time that way than doing that with me.
And then a lot of times if they’re going to go the gym to lift weights on their own, and they don’t have the motivation or they might not know what to do. So, I just encourage them to get out on the weekends and try to stay active, take their dog for a walk, be mindful of what they’re eating and drinking. I wouldn’t want them to have a super rigorous lifestyle that prevents them from having fun. But just trying to be a little bit more mindful about increasing activity.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. What’s the best way for us to be proactive with our daily fitness?
Breanne Celiberti: I think, especially with how busy everyone is today, I think the best way to be proactive is to schedule it out on Sunday night. Schedule out your workouts for the week. That way they’re in your calendar and you can plan around them and you know when you’re going to be working out rather than leaving it up to guess or chance.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. What ways do you utilize social media and technology to promote your business?
Breanne Celiberti: That’s definitely become more popular, right? I think using Instagram has definitely been my biggest form of doing that because you can have videos that you share. I like to share small workouts that people can do on their own in like 20 minutes or less.
And I think it just helps get the message across to more people. Obviously, it’s free so it’s free advertising for us as business professionals and then it’s free workouts for them. So I think it’s super helpful as a tool for everyone.
The other forms of social media I’m not too big on because I don’t think they’re as useful. But Instagram I think is really big for the fitness industry.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. And again, thank you for your time, Breanne. Just a couple more questions. What’s next for you as an entrepreneur? Where do you see yourself going in the world of fitness?
Breanne Celiberti: I’ve tried a few routes, but I really enjoy teaching, so I hope to maybe try to pursue a full-time teaching position or something along those lines. Because I feel like that’s where I could give back the most.
Schimri Yoyo: So continuing education. That’s good. So, that actually leads to my final question.
What resources would you recommend for our audience? It could be books, podcasts, magazines, and it doesn’t have to necessarily be strictly about fitness. But what are some resources that you think would be helpful for our audience to know about?
Breanne Celiberti: So I am a big podcast person. I like to listen to them while I’m driving and working out sometimes. So one of my favorites, that I know is a really popular one, is How I Built This. Sometimes it features fitness entrepreneurs like SoulCycle or Peloton.
But just in general, how hearing the stories behind these entrepreneurs it really leaves you feeling motivated and ready to make progress in your own life or to just do something bigger. So I think that’s a great podcast.
And then there’s obviously a few fitness business podcasts that are out there that are really helpful. I think everyone just needs to find whatever helps motivate them, whatever genre that is.
Schimri Yoyo: Yeah. Well, thank you again, Breanne. This has been a great conversation. I thank you for all the work that you’re putting into educating the young minds there in Tampa, Florida. And hopefully, I think that the future of the fitness world will be better for it with more students who have actual practical experience in undergrad before they actually go out into the workforce. That’ll be great.
Breanne Celiberti: Yeah, I hope so.
If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.
Schimri Yoyo is a writer for Exercise.com and a financial advisor with active life and health insurance licenses. In a past life, he covered Villanova Men’s Basketball and Big East Football for Examiner.com. Schimri has also produced freelance copywriting, editing, and proofreading for various websites and online publications for over a decade. He is an avid sports fan, possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and San Francisco 49ers. Schimri is an educator and a storyteller who is eager to assist individuals and families to stay financially and physically fit.