Twenty-something ditches Samsung for ‘dream job’, chooses health trainer instead

It’s not easy to quit a cushy job and become a successful freelancer. The world of self-employment was a jungle when I left my stifling corporate job. In particular, health trainers were looked down upon. The perception was that they were just people who counted numbers. One young man set out to change that. He provided meticulous member care and detailed feedback on workouts. He focused on helping them realize their body’s attractiveness, not on starvation diets. As a result, she went viral as the “Body Profile No. 1” instructor among women who had never exercised before. Now, she has her own PT shop and a clothing brand specializing in barfing. This is the story of Ms. Jung, 32, who is active on the exercise platform Quat.

Q. Please introduce yourself first.
“I’m Jeong Jung-jin (32), a fitness instructor at ‘Quat’. I am the owner and trainer of a PT shop for women. As a fitness athlete, I am also active in bikini and classic modeling competitions. Since I’ve been working out, I’m naturally doing a lot of body profile shoots. I’m also running a specialty store brand and living a busy life. (Laughs)”

Q. How did you get into fitness?
“When I was in my 20s, I worked as a designer at Samsung Electronics. After I got the job, my work was hard and my physical strength dropped a lot. I got sick and went to the hospital. My colleagues at the time called me a ‘walking general hospital.’ I had never worked out, so I started climbing while wondering what to do. After that, I tried snowboarding, wakeboarding, climbing, ballet, jazz dancing, freediving, scuba diving, kayaking, paddleboarding, running, bowling, swimming, Pilates, yoga, and pole dancing, and there wasn’t a sport I didn’t try that made me sweat. I wanted to do it more professionally, even adjusting my diet to get in shape naturally, so I got a teaching certificate and resigned from my job in 2015.”

Q. You transitioned into a career as a fitness trainer.
“At first, I worked as a freelance instructor, and as I was working, I realized that there were a lot of women in Pilates and yoga, but relatively few in weights. I wanted to create a space where women could feel comfortable exercising, and not just starve themselves or eat less to lose weight, which is a lifelong struggle. I wanted to help women find their own beauty and love themselves instead of trying to fit into a cookie-cutter media image of beauty. I wanted to make it possible to ‘knock out’ my hidden charms, as the PT shop is called.”

Quat on the set of a lecture.

Q. You wanted to break the perception of trainers.
“I think it’s important for coaches to develop themselves, but also to communicate with their members. I kept a workout journal after every lesson and wrote down the name of the exercise I did, the number of times I lifted the weight, and gave feedback. It’s more effective when you have a personalized workout, because you don’t just do the exercise, you tell them why you’re doing it, where the stimulus is coming from, and what’s working.”

Q. What does a typical day look like for you?
“This is my second year running a women-only PT shop. I come in at 7 a.m. and leave at 11 p.m. In the afternoons, when I don’t have classes, I use my personal time to work out or run the business. From Monday through Saturday, I teach classes. I average about 150 lessons per month. I keep track of my members’ workouts and give them feedback. On Saturday evenings or Sundays after lessons, I go to seminars or workshops to support or study for members who are preparing for body profiles or competitions. I currently manage an average of 35 members. Our re-enrollment rate is over 90%.”

Q. You’ve gone viral as the ‘BodyProfile 1-hit instructor먹튀검증‘.
“Until exercise becomes a habit, it can be daunting to work out or diet consistently. I give you short-term intermediate goals because you have a goal, and when you achieve it, you feel confident. You get pleasure from seeing your body change, and then exercise and dieting become habits. BodyProfile is the “trigger point” for that. I work out hard, eat healthy without compulsion, and when I get there, I take a nice, pretty photo shoot to celebrate, because no body is perfect.”

Q. Your list of awards is impressive.
“In April, I participated in NABBA, a representative fitness competition in Korea, and won first place in the bikini model topline category. There is nothing like a competition as a short-term goal to keep exercising. Completing a goal and doing a routine every day increases your sense of accomplishment and self-esteem. Bodybuilding is endless, and every time I go to a competition, I challenge myself to go on stage with a grown-up look. There is nothing in this world that goes according to my will. The only thing is that the results come out as much as the effort.”

Mr. Jung’s body profile project.

Q. You’ve been called a ‘barf master’.
“I took a body profile in preparation for a bodybuilding competition. It was fun to take it, so I’ve been doing it 5-6 times a month since then, and it’s now over 100 times. Now, more and more people are copying my poses when I take body profiles, so naturally, I’ve been nicknamed the ‘barf craftsman’ (laughs).”

Q. What’s the secret to a good barf shot?
“Having a good body is basic, and the most important thing is to find a studio that suits you. After that, there are many things to do: concept, pose research, hair & makeup, outfits, tanning, waxing, etc. More importantly, you need to be confident, because if you are nervous, it will show in the photos. On the day of the shoot, you need to control your mind and pretend that you are going to play princess.”

Q. Do you have any fitness center tips?
“First, you have to identify the needs. It’s a trainer’s job to think about what the people who come to you want and help them achieve it.
The second thing is to remember that this is a service industry. A lot of people don’t realize that being a trainer is a service business. There’s a reason why you don’t have a steady stream of members. If your re-enrollment rate is low, you should doubt your qualifications for the service industry. Be cheerful and energetic, not swayed by your mood.

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