What I Learned Being a Physical Teacher in the Health & Wellbeing Sector

Max Edwards – The Intuitive Fitness Coach

Max Edwards lives in London, UK, and has always loved anything and everything to do with body movement. Max’s passion is to help people have a happy and relaxed mind, body, and spirit. He is the Intuitive Fitness Coaching method founder and has over twenty years’ experience in the health and well-being sector as a physical and wellness teacher. Drawing from decades of practice, studying and teaching multi-disciplinary exercises, and taking inspiration from yoga, Tai Chi, calisthenics, martial arts, meditation, and more, Max combines the most effective disciplines in his coaching method. He is also a hobbyist DJ and consults on operational management for the health and fitness industry. Max is a strong believer in journeying inwards to transform ourselves from the inside out, and he brings this philosophy to Intuitive Fitness Coaching.

Everybody has their own way of creating the life they want and getting the career they dream of. We all have varying levels of success and different methods of getting there. What has worked for my career path might not necessarily work for the next person. It has taken me a long time to develop a living from my niche purpose, as I’m the proverbial late bloomer.

But I guess something that one person takes twenty years to achieve could take another person just five. That’s what makes life so interesting, our individual journeys. So rather than give you the epic version of my twisty-turny path to where I am, I will briefly share my story emphasizing a few key things that I believe helped me get here.

Find Your Purpose

My own dream, or purpose, was always on a play like a song in my mind, sometimes in the background and sometimes in the foreground, and I kind of gradually slalomed towards it over a couple of decades. And to be honest, I’m still not exactly sure what my job title is, but what I do for a living involves using physical and mindful coaching techniques to help people feel happy. I guess you might classify me as a holistic and wellbeing coach.

What I am certain of, though, is that whenever I have followed my heart, intuition, and gut and not blindly followed the money, then my work has never felt like work at all. I have never thought of my involvement in physical, mental, and spiritual health as ‘work.’ Rather, it has always been my passion and obsession. It is my purpose, and I can do virtually anything related to it for hours on end without flagging.

So, in a way, it was inevitable that I would develop a career from this. Over the years, it has simultaneously nourished me, challenged me, energized me, frustrated me, made me incredibly happy, made me nervous, and taught me a great deal about myself. Since childhood, I never have been tired of it. I feel incredibly blessed that my passion in life has become my ‘work’, and finding my purpose has helped me specialize my approach almost by default. I think this is a key point for getting to where you want to be in life: rather than searching for a job, search for your purpose.

Be Committed   

Purpose can take time to find, and I have had to be patient, committed, and continually learning and seeking. But once I knew what I wanted from life and how to earn my living from it, I then made a clear plan of getting there. Whenever I felt that I had stopped learning and was merely going through the motions at work, I decided it was time to grow again, to keep moving forward in whatever way presented itself to my heart and intuition. In all my earlier jobs, I tried, failed, succeeded, failed again, veered off the path, failed again, made mistakes, had some more successes, and so on. But I used those lessons.

I discovered that my life, career, and purpose are not etched in stone but are part of a wider iterative process. So, I kept reviewing and seeing what was working for me and what wasn’t. What was I good at, and what wasn’t I good at. More importantly, learning what ‘felt’ right, evaluating my mistakes, correcting them, and then taking those lessons and applying them in my next job and life phase.

Those hard lessons were my toolkit for life, and I didn’t want to waste any of them. And this is another key thing that helped me make a living from my purpose: have a strong intention, be committed, keep trying, and never give up. If it feels wrong, don’t do it. If it feels right, don’t stop, no matter what obstacles stand in the way.

Do Iterative Planning

After graduating from university, bills needing paying, I turned my hand at random jobs like producing investment events, teaching English, and doing admin roles for local government. In other words, I was following money like a ping-pong ball with no plan. For some unknown reason, I didn’t think that my passion for wellbeing was something I could make a living from. As I said, I’m a late bloomer. Eventually, though, probably from miserable in the other jobs, my purpose came back around to call.

As usual, I was hitting the gym, attending yoga classes, experimenting with nutrition, delving into spiritual self-improvement books, when a question struck me: “What if I could get paid to do exercise and wellbeing so I can do what I love all day long…” (which was the gym) “…while getting rid of a whole stratum of jobs that I don’t enjoy?” Genius! This idea just channeled into my brain from above. So, I wised up, got off my butt, did a basic fitness instructor course, took a hit on my pay, and started from ground level as a fitness instructor.

I was in my mid-twenties, working part-time hours, earning minimum wage. I felt like a teenager. I spent my days on the gym floor, talking to members, cleaning equipment, loading dirty towels into washing machines, doing basic fitness programs for members, a bit of personal training, teaching group classes, exercising constantly, and getting certificates in the various types of exercise that I was then interested in. It was hard work and long hours, and I barely had any money from month to month. But I had never been so happy.

Once I had a couple of years under my belt as a fitness instructor, I wanted to learn more about each department in the health club as part of my plan to fully understand how the sector’s operations and economics really work. To get this experience, I jumped at the opportunity to cover shifts in membership sales, duty management, reception, and studio coordinating whenever the company needed support. I’ve always been willing to leap in and try my hand at something to learn more about the field I am in.

I was keen to sit in on marketing meetings to see how it all works and what they do to drive business. I’m a bit of a sponge for knowledge, so I got myself First Aid and Fire Marshall qualified, tried their spa treatments, attended all different types of gym classes, spent time with the facilities team learning how pool plants work, doing pool water tests and odd maintenance jobs, you name it I did it. This not only helped me learn and gain experience, but it also looked great on my CV. At the same time, I was honing my own approach towards coaching wellness.

I rarely practiced meditation techniques, yoga, calisthenics, karate, core, and strength training, doing cardio, or without self-improvement, positivity, and mindfulness book in my hand. I love learning about how people become happy and healthy, and this sector just fed my passion every day.

With a bird’s eye view, my career path looks more like crazy paving. Nothing actually goes to plan, but that’s part of the fun. Sure, I planned to get myself the qualifications and subsequent jobs required for being a coach in the health and wellness sector. But for me, that was merely the key to the door so that I could keep specializing and honing my discipline as I went along.

Equally important to me as the mental, physical, and spiritual knowledge was that I had set my mind on working in various key roles within the sector to gain an understanding and experience of as many facets of the business as possible. So, while deepening my knowledge and specialty of my passion (well-being), I gathered broad strokes of the industry’s operational side. Basically,

I worked at becoming a good all-rounder so that later when I opened my own business, I understood how the cogs turn together. It’s fantastic to find your purpose and a subject you are passionate about, but it can make things pretty tough if you don’t understand the business processes.

Diversify Within Your Specialty

From gaining the broad strokes of the business sector while staying true to my purpose, I was then able to diversify my coaching approach and scale it up. Teaching health and wellness can be a young person’s game if done on a one-to-one or studio class basis, and I wasn’t getting any younger! There are only so many hours in a day, and I got to the point where I wanted to reach a wider audience while not being so tied down to diary appointments.

I learned that when doing the appointments approach – or ‘gig economy’ – this sector can be a rollercoaster with periods of feast or famine. I needed to maximize my income and revenue.

Luckily, I had shaped my coaching approach pretty well by the time I figured this out, so I set my mind to diversifying the delivery of it so that the income wasn’t so ‘up and down.’ There are many ways to do this, of course. For me, it came down to which methods of delivery I enjoyed the most and which were the most effective for my coaching discipline and my time.

The money will always follow passion and purpose as far as I am concerned, so costing the delivery came after choosing the method. Low price plus high volume works for some people, while high price plus less volume works for others. I chose a higher price with less volume, quality over quantity.

The way I work comes down to my work-life balance, my time boundaries, and my energy management. It has been crucial for me to set strict work times and stick to them, which has made me work more efficiently. When I was younger, it was ok to do those double-shifts and burn the candle at both ends, but I have learned not to let myself get drained by excessive working hours these days.

This has helped me develop a business model that suits my life while delivering a quality service. A wonderful and very successful lady once told me, “Max, get good at what you do between 9-to-5 and then leave it behind, go home, and have a good family life.” That philosophy keeps me feeling refueled and fresh.

Connected closely to this approach above is reputation and repeat business. Reputations and good businesses take time to build. Word of mouth can be achieved very effectively by quality work. Value what you do highly and do it well, and people will not only pay what you ask, but they will come back and spread the word. Passion shows, and I like to build something slowly and solidly rather than focusing on the fantasy of money and success. Whenever I have rushed things or squeezed lots of clients in, the quality has dipped.

To paraphrase Sadhguru slightly, “People want to get from point A to Z without learning what comes in between. Slow down and learn all of the steps one at a time.” There has been no fast-track to where I am. Spending billions on marketing and advertising without a good quality approach has wasted my time and money in the past. The best way for me has been one brick at a time, enjoying each step, doing my best to provide quality, and having my long-term goals present with me while being committed to what I am doing right now.

Build A Community

Last but not least, I could not have gotten to where I am now without the support of a wonderful community of interesting people I genuinely wanted to work with. This has been so important because we spend the majority of our lives at work, so while there, I want to be around diverse people with similar values. I love to be part of a supportive community of people with honesty, integrity, good work ethics, kindness, and consideration, which are holistically minded and driven to improve themselves and others’ lives.

The best workplaces for me are sharing our experiences and knowledge to help everybody on their paths. Being generous and cooperative goes a long way, and I have learned that there is plenty to go around, and it’s nicer to spend my days with happy people around me rather than surrounded by competitors. Life is too short for that. When I embraced my own wellness coaching approach, it helped me to appreciate and enjoy the diversity of what everybody else has to offer.

We are all unique, and I love seeing people feeling good physically and mentally and watching their confidence and well-being improve. No path is walked alone, and we get further ahead in the world by working together. In the workplaces where that was most present, and when I immersed myself in that philosophy, I made the most progress in this sector.

Thank you for reading and all the very best of luck in your ventures!

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What I Learned Being a Physical Teacher in the Health & Wellbeing Sector

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