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Conversations with Emily Matteson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Matteson.

Hi Emily, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I actually started out in social work. I worked with the homeless population here in Kansas City. I enjoyed the work I was doing, but felt the pull to help with people’s health on the preventative side, as opposed to the reactive side. I decided to get both my personal training certification and my holistic nutritionist certification and took a job at a large gym here in Overland Park. I worked there until the pandemic hit. I knew staying in the health and fitness industry was exactly what I wanted to do, but I also knew the industry was changing. When I was called back from furlough in August of 2020, I decided not to take back my job and start my own business. I knew I had to adapt to the changes that COVID19 brought to our economy and the way we saw health and fitness and took the chance! It was a very scary step to take, leaving a steady job for one more unpredictable. But to me, it was worth taking the risk to see if I could do it on my own. I wanted more flexibility in my work schedule, more opportunity to work with a wider range of clients, not just ones that can afford big box gym training, and more autonomy and less red tape. When I started my own business, that is exactly what I got and I am so thankful I took the chance. It has been really fun to watch my business grow and evolve. I currently train in-person clients at two locations in the KC metro and offer online programming as well. It took me a while to figure out the boundaries I was going to set for myself and my business. Being a business owner comes with many challenges and rewards. When something goes wrong, it is always your responsibility. When you’re sick, there is no one else to take over. You are the marketing manager, photographer, social media manager, CPA, trainer, admin, etc. You wear ALL the hats! However, the hustle and hours put into running your own business are worth it when you have the freedom to do the things you love most: help people find health and balance.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has definitely not been a smooth road, but I will say I have been very blessed with amazing clients and support system. As with any business, there are ebbs and flows in the fitness industry. There are times when everyone is looking for someone to help them with their health, and your schedule is booked full. There are other times, typically around holidays, where people travel and spend time with family and you don’t have as many sessions. Learning to work through those times and be prepared with other options for revenue is all part of the business. You have to know what to expect and roll with the punches. I have become much more thick-skinned and steady through owning my own business, and I’m proud of myself for that. It has grown me more than I thought it would and I am thankful for those challenges.

The other struggle in the fitness industry is finding your brand/what you want to represent. There are so many approaches to health and fitness that it is easy to slide into a people-pleasing place and want to appeal to everyone. But that doesn’t serve your clientele who need you most and it certainly doesn’t serve you. Deciding what type of message you want to send to your clients and to the world is important. Not letting comparison steal your joy and staying true to what you know is so valuable. I’d say figuring that out for myself over the years has been a challenge, but once I went out on my own and started my own business, I had to decide. I’m thankful for that push because once you settle into who you are as a fitness professional, you can really thrive.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a certified personal trainer and holistic nutritionist. I believe in finding health and balance, and that it is possible! I work with clients to find a balance between the things they love and the things that will help them reach their goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I specialize in strength training, weight loss, creating healthy habits and lifestyles, and nutrition. I’d say I am most proud of the relationships I have with my clients. Most, if not all, of my clients, are like family to me. I invest in their lives and they in mine because I care about the outcome of our time together. It matters to me that you want to be able to move better so you can run around with your grandkids. That is so important. Building relationships is what I do best, and from those relationships, we develop a place of trust, and that is so helpful when you are walking through your fitness journey. For a lot of people, their health has a very emotional tie to it one way or another, and they need a trainer who is aware and sensitive to that. It is a big part of why I don’t believe that there is one standard way of eating or working out that will work for everyone. We all start in different places and need different things.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
I struggle with all the same things my clients do. I have bad body image days. I love going out to eat. I love a good chocolate chip cookie. I skip workouts. I am also human. In no way can sit here and pretend that I’m perfect or have it all together. My clients are my accountability partners! But it isn’t about being perfect in every area. It is about finding a healthy balance and finding movements you enjoy that will keep you going for the long run.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photographer credit: Lyndi Stucky (@lyndiruth) and Libby Herwig (@libbyleacreative)

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