Cam Smith had been a Kings Cross bouncer for 10 years with a black belt in jujitsu and an economics and marketing degree when he decided to start his fitness business in 2012.
He’d been running outdoor bootcamps in Centennial Park when a ideal location for a permanent studio revealed itself at Taylor Square. Just over a decade and a couple of hundred members later, Pro Train Fitness is going strong.
Around that time, I had a sedentary corporate job and knew that I needed to make some drastic changes to address a waist-line that was expanding along with my salary. Although I’d had sporadic relationships with gyms all my life, my body was changing and my health was starting to feel out of control. I had never imagined myself as someone who could commit to an hour-long, high-intensity boot camp before work three mornings a week but over the next two years, I did just that. I got the fittest I’d been in my whole life and learnt a trove of valueable infomation not just about exercise but also about myself.
Cam says that what motivates him is trying to help people improve themselves physically but more often than not: “It ends up in the mental sense as well,”.
He does this by treating everyone with respect regardless of their sexuality, age or gender and by appealing to their inate inner athlete. Crucially, Cam limits the size of the sessions so that he and the members can all get a chance to know each other personally.
“I don’t like having more than eight to 10 people in a class,” he says. “It’s more of a family dynamic and you know everybody’s name after two weeks. If someone’s missing, we know and they get contacted and the members also reach out to them. That helps with the comfort levels as a big hurdle for people when they’re first coming in is feeling intimidated and that they don’t know what to do.”
The goal is to help members to train the way that personal trainers do, says Cam.
“When I’m onboarding them, I’ll say, ‘Are you looking to get results and then lose them or to get results and to keep them? Because if you’re looking to get results and keep them, then you need to adjust your mindset to realise that this is now going to be who you are’.
Cam says that most members will know what they’re doing in four weeks and will see results in three months. Most stay on past the 12 month mark.
“I shadow them for the first four weeks to make sure that they know exactly what they’re doing. They get educated on training technique, on breathing, on how to lift safely and on the importance of progressive overload. New members need to be willing to learn so by the time they leave they’ll know exactly what they’re doing,” he says. “There’s a lot of accountability.”
It’s an enticing – albeit challenging – proposition. We all want to be a better version of ourselves, after all.
“The biggest problem these days is there’s so much instant gratification so it’s so easy to make yourself feel better when you’re stressed or upset. That’s a very attractive option as a way of managing stress or hard times emotionally and it requires no effort. My whole goal is to help people get the fitness bug and then they can continue in whatever shape or form that looks like,” says Cam. “But they’re going to have to put in effort as well.”
For those not living in Sydney, Cam will start a weekly online program in 2024 that includes a training and nutrition programs with videos. Keep an eye on the website for details and get fit!