Christopher Lee, originally from the great city of Buffalo, New York, is a certified personal trainer who specializes in helping clients cultivate muscle and increase their overall fitness. Mr. Lee supports clients as they rejuvenate their health and fitness routines, improve their metabolism, and become stronger. His diverse exercise programs and training sessions are designed to the individual’s needs. For years, Lee’s passion and expertise have helped clients build core strength while incorporating athleticism and agility so that clients can enjoy everyday activities and their favorite recreational pastime pain and injury-free.
While attending the State University of New York at Buffalo, Christopher Lee studied Exercise Science with an Emphasis in Sports Performance. After graduation, Mr. Lee’s fervor for living a healthy and active lifestyle heightened. Though his formal academic career is behind him, Lee places significant value on academics and reputable research within the health and fitness community. This mindset ultimately encouraged him to educate his clients on the value of learning the fundamentals of regular exercise and science-based nutrition.
When Christopher Lee is not supporting his clients to become more physically fit and active, he can be found spending quality time with his friends and family in Buffalo.
How did you get started in this business?
It’s a cliche at this point, but fitness is 100% a lifestyle. I’m a firm believer that anyone can pursue physical fitness and thrive—even those who have tried and perhaps became discouraged. In my experience, if a person struggles to maintain a workout routine or nutritious diet and ultimately succumb to “there’s always next year,” then they just haven’t found the appropriate motivators and exercise programs.
Don’t get me wrong; habits that lead to a healthy way of living demand focus and drive, but it doesn’t have to be demoralizing or painful. At an early age, I was fortunate enough to discover martial arts and an internal fire for that style of fitness training, especially Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As I became more engrossed in the competitive fitness world, I decided to make exercise science and sports performance the crux of my higher education.
While working as a personal trainer at a local gym in Buffalo, it soon dawned on me that large enterprises don’t necessarily place the client’s needs first. Instead of tailoring sessions to the needs of an individual, meetings often felt rushed and allowed minimal time for feedback and post-workout care.
Consequently, I leaped and started my training business to elevate client care and experience while simultaneously building confidence, strength, and endurance. It’s been a rewarding experience thus far.
How do you make money?
Before 2020, the bulk of my revenue came from one-on-one meetings with clients; however, this year forced me to diversify my business. At the onset of the pandemic, as states enforced “stay at home” protocols, the financial outlook for fitness professionals like myself and gyms looked volatile.
Though I’ve always enjoyed a good challenge, it took a few weeks to find solid footing again as I transitioned my business to virtual personal training. Thankfully, I’ve built and maintained excellent relationships with my clients, and the majority of them were on board with the new format. It’s been a learning experience on both sides, but now my digital platform accounts for a significant portion of my overall revenue.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
I kept several clients from my previous training experience, and thankfully many operated in well-connected communities with a passion for fitness. Word of mouth spread fast, and things were well on their way in just a couple of months. I’m very humbled by this experience and consider myself very lucky.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Stumbles in business are like workout or sports injuries: you do your best to avoid them, but ultimately they will happen. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, you need to take proper measures to ensure you heal, and part of swallowing that pill is allowing time to do its thing.
Like anyone, I have my bad and good days, but I choose to persevere through the rough moments because I know the situation is only temporary.
How did you get your first customer?
If my barber chose to leave his employment one day and open his own shop, I would follow. The trust and rapport we’ve built over the years are priceless. I’ve found the same mentality applies to fitness trainers and their clients. Once my gym base learned that I was venturing out on my own, several signed up for my services immediately and have been with me ever since.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Social media is an asset to any business if used correctly, especially if integrated into direct community involvement. In general, Buffalo and greater New York have terrific communities that emphasize events focused on shaping a better neighborhood. For example, local 5Ks, whether you’re there as a volunteer or sponsor, are tremendous opportunities to interact with prospective clients.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Unexpectedly transforming my business in a short amount of time to safely meet the needs of my clients.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
My combination of years of accumulated knowledge and sincere desire to help people improve their overall lives through physical activity and mindful choices. That desire motivates me to keep improving myself and my business.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Hands down, building confidence in people on a continual basis.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
After this year, nothing is certain, but as a very social person, I look forward to increasing one-on-one sessions with my clients and improving digital fitness plans with annual outlooks.
In general, I’m most excited about in-person community outreach picking up where I have the opportunity to educate and encourage others to pursue an active lifestyle, especially the youth who may have yet to discover the benefits and joy of taking up a martial art.
What business books have inspired you?
“The Greatest: My Own Story” by Muhammad Ali and Richard Durham
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Slow things down; enjoy the journey, the company, and the lessons to be learned.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
As I said before, don’t be discouraged by failed attempts to get healthy. I understand that not everyone can afford personal training, but that shouldn’t be a barrier to entry. If you have questions about starting your fitness journey, please reach out to a fitness professional in your community. Fitness trainers advocate for better lives, and I think you’ll find that most are open to sharing their knowledge with whoever seeks it.