Oct. 14 2010 12:00 AM

I began coaching when I was 15 years old as an assistant for a summer club swim team in Roswell, Georgia. I wrestled in high school in Littleton, Colorado and always had trouble making weight. Those were the days of rubber suits in the shower, salt pills, starvation and spitting to make weigh in. My parents made me stop wrestling after passing out before a meet weigh in. We discussed choosing another sport, and I chose swimming in 10th grade. I was not a great swimmer; however, I was fortunate enough to learn from some excellent coaches that were patient and provided positive feedback that helped me improve. The best coaches I experienced actively taught rather than let me swim mega yard workouts incorrectly, which only would have reinforced bad habits.

I assumed the head coaching position at a large country club in Alpharetta, Georgia at the age of 17. The team grew from 35 kids to over 100 in four years. As a head coach, I learned valuable lessons from interacting with swimmers of all abilities, their parents and club management. We had some year-round swimmers that exhibited great stroke mechanics and were swimming over 5000 yards a day, but I was drawn to the kids that were new to swimming. I encouraged the kids to do other sports, have fun, and work hard while at our practice. Having started late in the sport, I knew I could effect positive changes in this group by teaching the fundamentals rather than just providing mega yard workouts.

I was able to swim in college and walked on a large Division I college team. Swimming provided the foundation for entry into the sport of Triathlon. I have competed in Triathlons since 1981, gained multiple All-American honors and have several top 10 finishes in the USAT Nationals. My 30 plus years of experience have launched a small business of coaching triathletes. I only take on a limited number of clients that I can interact with face to face. I find it difficult to coach someone "on line" only. I want to see athletes during their workouts and how they are responding to that day's workout stress and other variables in their busy lives. I believe it is always better to leave a workout feeling like you can do one more interval and typically stop athletes when I notice decreases in performance or bad mechanics. Experience combined with knowledge and continuing education is very powerful and helps me not only to improve and set PRs but makes me a better coach to give my clients value for their coaching fees.

Knowing I needed more education to be a better coach led me to be certified as a CrossFit instructor. I was under the assumption I was pretty "fit" as a triathlete. CrossFit does a great job defining what is fitness and I soon realized I had many weaknesses. Working on my weaknesses has made me a better athlete today at 50 then I was at 30. I completed ISSA certification at 50 years of age and began working with additional clients outside of triathlon. Obtaining the ISSA personal training certifications was rewarding and not easy. I recognize that we all have physical weaknesses as well as knowledge weaknesses -- my weakness is physiology and I aim to improve that this year with continuing education classes and internet based study.

My personal training recently led me to a new business, myFitnessStore.com. myFitnessStore.com was started by PFP (Personal Fitness Professional). PFP had a vision of providing trainers and gym owners a method to affordably host their own custom eStore. myFitnessStores are fully stocked with leading brand name health, rehab and wellness products from national distributors. Trainers do not have to inventory, pull, pack or ship product. Product is shipped directly from our participating vendors right to the trainers' customers. The software, eStoreXpress, from Commerce Science Corporation, takes care of credit card authorizations/charges, vendor payments, sales tax reporting and all the hassles.

I realized I was recommending many products to my clients including foam rollers, and stretch straps while sending my clients to the local drug store or other "on line" retailers with no benefit to me or my clients by making their purchases convenient. myFitnessStore can increase a personal trainer's revenue by allowing them to direct their clients to their own customized eStore. We keep a laptop up in our small box gym and clients can order the best in fitness products right then and there. We now have a method to accept credit cards for our training sessions and even sell our custom T-shirts and hoodies on line via our own eStore. Margins back to the trainer's eStore range from 15% to 40% with no inventory involved.

For more information about myFitnessStore, please visit www.myFitnessStore.com or call E Store Solutions, Inc at 404.941.0206.