Written by: Frank Iacono
Dwayne Wimmer is the founder of the Vertex Fitness Personal Training Studio located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Since 1993, Dwayne’s worked on his own in the personal training capacity, building business by promoting fitness at local health clubs and schools, as well as physical therapy, weight management, and chiropractic centers. With professionalism, expertise, and personal attention as his hallmarks, and the utmost concern for his clients’ fitness and wellness as his vision, Dwayne is working toward his next goal of creating an organization to teach trainers how to be successful while implementing Safe, Efficient, Effective, Evidence-Based Programming.
Dwayne helps make exercise a way of life, and something his clients look forward to on an ongoing basis. His caring, patient yet guiding one-on-one approach encourages individuals to achieve their fitness goals at their own pace, so they reach their top physical condition. Through focused and gratifying training sessions, he brings out the best in each of his clients and builds not only their strength but their self-confidence as well.
Over his career, Dwayne has served as a Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor, Fitness Director, and Division 1 Strength Coach. As a Fitness Director, he not only hired and trained instructors, but also promoted popular weight management programs/seminars and expanded membership sales. At Villanova University, he served as assistant strength and conditioning coach for male and female varsity athletics, working with athletes such as former Philadelphia Eagles Brian Westbrook.
In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of conducting an in-depth interview with Dwayne Wimmer and asking him a few questions about what first got him interested in becoming a personal trainer, his background and education, his exercise and wellness philosophy, his prestigious career, and his overall passion for success.
The Creative Spotlight: How and when did you decide to embark in your profession as a personal trainer?
Dwayne Wimmer: I was an athlete through high school and college. I loved Physical Education (PE) class in high school so I went to college to become a PE teacher. When I graduated I started working at a health club and loved working with the adult population. Teaching them about the benefits of exercise and, needless to say, they were a more captive audience. I went to graduate school for Sports Management. I had an education to teach but I didn’t know too much about business. The Sports Management curriculum was broad, ranging from Athletic Directors to facility managers at health clubs. It was exactly what I needed to fill in some gaps in my education.
After grad school, I went back to work in a health club as a fitness director and slowly built a following of people who wanted to work out with me, so I started training people before and after my hours at the club. I eventually had too many clients to continue training before and after work. I had to let something go, so I took the leap into business for myself. I have never looked back. I have had my own business, in one way or another, since 1992. I opened Vertex Fitness, after running my own personal training business out of a small studio in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania and being a strength coach at Villanova. That is the story in a nutshell.
TCS: How long has Vertex Fitness Personal Training Studio been in business and how many people work for the company?
DW: Vertex Fitness Personal Training Studio was established in June of 2001. At one point we have had 10 trainers working at Vertex. Right now we have Kelly McCaulley (shown below with Dwayne) my assistant manager, 2 part time trainers, and me. We are always looking for people who understand that being a personal trainer is a profession, like a doctor, lawyer, chiropractor, etc… That is what separates us from other facilities. Just because one has a certification, doesn’t mean they are a professional. Everyone who works for us goes through our in-house training process, which takes a minimum of 6 weeks. We teach them the difference between doing this as a hobby and being a professional. Most people who come to us aren’t interested in doing what it takes to be a professional. Kelly’s role is to be my right hand person. Help hire, train and if needed fire trainers. She is one of the best trainers I have ever had on staff, very personable and her attention to detail is second to none. The other staff are part time, either they are still in school or have other jobs. That doesn’t mean their level of professionalism is any less, we have a standard we never lower for someone to be on our staff. If they have other obligations, it simply takes them longer to get through our training system.
TCS: What education, certifications, training or additional qualifications do you possess? And, do you carry professional liability insurance?
DW: I have a BSEd (Bachelor of Science in Education) in Health in Physical Education from Missouri Western State University and started my master in Sports Management at East Stroudsburg. I have been certified by the American College of Sports Medicine, American Council of Exercise and the National Strength Professionals Association. I have attended many strength training clinics, fitness conferences and seminars during my career in the industry. I am a member of International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), International Dance and Exercise Association (IDEA) and Mid-Atlantic Club Management Association (MACMA). I am in the process of forming an organization for fitness professionals called The Fitness Leaders Alliance with my partners Chris Lutz and Mike Lipowski. I have been in the fitness industry for 25+ years and have trained thousands of clients from preadolescents to pregnant women to people post rehab to men and women seniors. I have trained special needs clients from paraplegics to people with diabetes, heart conditions and Alzheimer’s to people wanting to lose weight. If a client can get to me, I can work with them. I have liability insurance to cover both me and my staff.
TCS: How do you seek out advanced education to maintain your profession?
DW: Every year, I attend international conferences, clinics and seminars.
TCS: Tell us about how proud you as the owner to see that Vertex Fitness Personal Training Studio has been voted the best 12 times?
DW: We have worked hard to be recognized by the area’s media. We are very proud of our awards, it is an accomplishment derived from our hard work and attention to detail. We will continue to strive to be the best.
Award Winning Personal Training Facility Voted the Best 12 Times
- Voted the Best of Main Line: Main Line Today
- Best Personal Training Studio 2013
- Best Personal Trainers 2010
- Best Personal Trainers 2009
- Best Fitness Facility 2008
- Best Personal Training Studio 2007
- Best Personal Trainers 2006
- Voted Best of The Main Line: Main Line Media News
- Best Personal Fitness Facility 2013
- Best Personal Fitness Facility 2012
- Voted Best of Style: Philadelphia Style Magazine
- Top Gym 2010
- Voted Best of Life: Main Line Life
- Main Line Life 2008
- Voted Best of The Best: Main Line Times
- Best Personal Trainers 2008
- Best Personal Fitness Facility 2008
TCS: How would you describe your style as a personal trainer?
DW: I am a chameleon; I take on the personality that the client in front of me needs to get the results they are looking for. Sometimes one needs to be encouraging, other times just very understanding, whatever the client needs I always keep the exercise safe, efficient and effective.
TCS: As a personal trainer what is your exercise and wellness philosophy?
DW: My philosophy is simple. There doesn’t need to be a lot of whistles and bells. The body adapts to an overload. So, what I prescribe is safe, efficient, effective evidence based exercise. The prescription involves a simple overload in a safe manner so the body has a reason to change. Exercise should be like brushing your teeth, get in routine of doing it and forget about it until it is time to do it again.
TCS: From a client perspective, please describe for us the importance of a one-on-one experience with a personal trainer versus participation in a group setting or simply just going to a gym?
DW: The difference between one-on-one and group training is the attention to detail. When in a group it is impossible for the trainer to see everything, so there is less attention to the details then during a one-on-one session. That being said, it is safer to train one-on-one and the results are going to be better.
TCS: Do you offer a free initial consultation including a health assessment prior to beginning a fitness program?
DW: Our first session is always complimentary. We have the potential client fill out a health history form so we know of any limitations or concerns we might need to work around. Then and only when we believe the client is clear to exercise we take them through a complimentary full body session.
To receive your Vertex Fitness Complimentary Training Session, please go to: http://www.vertexfit.com/free-training-session
TCS: Ideally what should you eat before and after a workout session?
DW: When doing exercise that is intense enough to apply the stimulus we are looking for, the body will demand a lot of Glucose (Blood Sugar), so we suggest that our clients eat something rich in complex carbohydrates about an hour and a half to two hours before their session. The complex carbohydrates will take their time getting into the system and the blood sugar will be at a level that the body needs for the intense exercise we prescribe. After the workout we suggest something with complex carbohydrates to replenish the depleted blood sugar and some protein to help the body recover.
TCS: What do you feel separates you from other personal trainers?
DW: I am concerned about providing safe, efficient, effective, evidenced based exercise programs for our clients. Our first thought is “Do No Harm” we will not put a client in a position where they might get hurt. One cannot get the benefits of exercise if they are hurt. We pay close attention to the details, this makes the work performed more effective, efficient and safe.
TCS: Throughout your career as a personal trainer, what kind of clients have you worked with and what type of results were attained?
DW: Like I said above, I have trained thousands of clients from preadolescents to pregnant women to people post rehab to men and women seniors. I have trained special needs clients from paraplegics to people with diabetes, heart conditions and Alzheimer’s to people wanting to lose weight. I have seen clients get great results, if they are attentive and work hard, they get great results. I have had some people come just go through the motions, the results are directly proportional to the effort one puts into the work. If one works hard, they get great results, if they just go through the motions they get what they put into it. That being said, one’s results are limited by their genetics.
TCS: What are the most satisfying and frustrating aspects of being a personal trainer?
DW: The most satisfying aspect of what I do is when I can see a client really grasp and understand what it is we are trying to do, then apply it. The opposite is the most frustrating part of what I do, when a client just shows up and goes through the motion. I am an educator, I wand the client to understand what we are doing and apply it.
TCS: At the end of 2013, Vertex Fitness Personal Training Studio celebrated its 3rd annual KISSmas Party so can you describe for us how you began this yearly tradition and what it is all about?
DW: I was a teenager in the 70’s and KISS was my favorite band. So three years ago Kelly came up with the idea to have a year-end costumer appreciation party. We called it our KISSmas Party. Clients bring their favorite KISS ornament for our tree and it is a fun party. We also cap our spring fund raiser, Vertex Fitness PUMPED at this party by presenting the charities with their checks. It is a lot of fun.
TCS: How do you market Vertex Fitness Personal Training Studio?
DW: Our biggest marketing tool is our service. We work hard to give our clients the best experience and they tell others about us. On top of that we are out in the community always meeting people. We are members of area networking organizations such as Guys Night Out and Femfessionals, we regularly attend the Main Line Chamber events along with The Ultimate Networking events. We do very little traditional advertising, occasionally we will put an ad in Main Line Today Magazine and we sponsor contests on WMMR’s Preston & Steve Show. We have a website where people searching for a personal trainer can find testimonials from many different clients they can relate to.
TCS: Have you embraced Social Media to promote your business?
DW: Yes, social media is one of the most important ways we get our message out there. We have pages on all the major social media sites and we post to them on a regular basis.
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VertexFitnessPersonalTrainingStudio
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/vertexfitness
- YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/VertexFit
- LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/vertex-fitness\
- Pinterest: http://www.vertexfit.com/blog
TCS: What criteria do you use to determine your client’s exercise program?
DW: Prior to the start of any workout program, clients are asked to complete a health history form. If they have any health issues we address them at that point. We will have a conversation with the client about any issues they have and determine if they are able to workout. If they have serious concerns we will suggest they see their doctor before they workout with us.
TCS: How frequently do you recommend that a client should come visit you per week?
DW: There are many different things to consider when prescribing the frequency of exercise. We first ask how often do they exercise now. If they do no exercise, even once a week will be more then what they are doing. If they are regularly exercising, we will work out a schedule for them so they get enough time off to recover from their workouts. The rest time is as important as the time spent exercising. We have clients who work out with us 3 times a week to clients who use our workouts like a tune-up and they see us maybe once every other week or even once a month.
TCS: Tell us about how Vertex Fitness Personal Training Studio helped change the life of Katy Holladay?
DW: Katy Holladay is a student at Bryn Mawr College. She came to us looking to fell better through exercise. After a few weeks Katy was starting to feel better and could feel the benefits of the exercise. Katy wanted to lose some weight (Body Fat). We are not dietitians and Katy wanted to lose quite a bit of weight. So we referred her to Balance Medical Weight Loss in Bryn Mawr. With the program we have her doing and the food regimen she is on from Balance Medical Weight Loss, Katy is on track to lose 60 pounds by the summer. She has such a great attitude and has been working hard at both the eating and exercise and her results prove it.
To read more about Katy Hollady, please visit our blog.
TCS: Please describe the various charities that Vertex Fitness Personal Training Studio has worked with in the past and present and how you’ve given back to the local community?
DW: We have created an event we hold in the spring called Vertex Fitness PUMPED (People United Making Progress through Education and Donations). Every year we ask clients, friends, and people we know for suggestions of local charities and non-profits that may be interested in being a part of our fundraiser.
This year, we are raising money for:
In 2013, we raised money for:
In 2012, we raised money for:
In our first event the beneficiaries were:
- Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance
- Kids and Hope Foundation
- Living Beyond Breast Cancer
- The Pennsylvania SPCA
TCS: What’s your favorite metaphor? And, how does it apply to overall fitness?
DW: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky. One needs to continue to try to succeed.
TCS: In your honest opinion, do you think the fitness industry needs to be regulated?
DW: There needs to be some type of regulation in the fitness industry. Unfortunately, right now the industry is an entertainment industry with little to no regard to the results one would get from participating in the activity. I don’t feel that right now is the time to regulate the industry. The predominate activities in the industry at the moment are not based in science; they are what is easy to sell. We need to turn the industry around and raise the bar for entry like other professions. My friends and co-hosts Chris Lutz and Lisa Shaughnessy and I have covered this topic on an episode of The Fitness Professional Show.
For more information, please go to The Fitness Professional Show website.
TCS: What suggestions do you have for people aspiring to be a personal trainer?
DW: Most personal trainers are interested in the exercise part of the business. They forget and are never taught that personal training is a business. They need to understand that. Learn how to prospect for clients, market, sell and once they have a client they need to retain them. Personal training is a business. People aspiring to be a personal trainer need to be dedicated to their profession and continue to learn.
Contact Dwayne Wimmer
Vertex Fitness Personal Training Studio
931 W Lancaster Ave
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Phone: 610 525 6604
About Frank Iacono
Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.
Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.