Today on the blog, Erin Monfre of FaceFitness! Erin was a grade school basketball legend. She went on to have a very successful high school basketball career (named Miss Basketball Wisconsin) and played her college hoops at Marquette University. I knew of her for a long time since we played in the same grade/area and I had the pleasure of getting to know her a bit as we were roommates at the WBCA all-star game. Now, she is onto a new adventure and I’m very excited for you guys to meet her and read about it!
Ames: Introduce yourself.
Erin: Hello everyone! First off I want to thank you all for reading my interview with Amy. I am so thankful for this opportunity to share my story and business with each one of you!
So here we go…I am 28 years old (no, 30 is NOT right around the corner)…A: haha, yes. and I currently reside in Louisville, Kentucky. Why Louisville? Because their winters aren’t nearly as brutal or long as they are back home in Waukesha, Wisconsin! 🙂 I moved here 6 years ago after graduating from Marquette University. I moved while I was still young and knew I could always make my way back home if things didn’t work out in the south. After working dead end jobs and clueless as to what direction I wanted my future to go in, I stumbled across a conversation with a friend about 3 years ago that turned into landing my first personal training job! I dreamt of being a college coach someday, which ironically enough I have been able to turn that coaching side of me into motivating people towards healthier lifestyles and pushing past their limits during each workout. I started in sales and marketing while studying for my certification, and once I earned my certification I began taking clients. Almost immediately I realized I had a passion for fitness and more importantly, helping people. I’ll touch on it later in the interview but my passion instilled for training is far deeper than most realize. Simply because my beautiful, strong, late mother was a personal trainer. As I gained more confidence in my training, as well as experience, I was led to yet another conversation with a different friend that within a month turned into launching my own virtual personal training business! Called FaceFitness. Thank goodness for friends right? There’s more to them than that glass of wine in your pajamas on a Friday night! They have pushed me to build my own dreams. A: Yes! Friends that inspire.
A: Tell us about your business.
Erin: FaceFitness. The convenience to succeed together! FaceFitness was created to limit ANY excuses people may have as to why they aren’t getting a 30 minute workout in. I train virtually, meaning, as long as you have FaceTime, Skype or Google Hangout, we can connect and train. I create and motivate you through your workout, through the computer screen, while counting reps, watching form, and allowing rest when necessary (very rare!). I tried to eliminate excuses such as, “I don’t have time. I’m uncomfortable in a gym setting. I’m unsure of what to even do or where to start. I don’t have equipment. I don’t have anyone to watch my kids. There’s 8 feet of snow outside.” Literally, any excuse. Even, “I’m constantly traveling.” With my style of training, no equipment is necessary. Which allows me to train you even with limited space, whether that be hotel rooms or somewhere in your home. With FaceFitness I can help you stay on track with your fitness goals no matter where you are, or where you’re headed! Holidays can be hectic, sometimes gyms are even closed on days you’d like to train. Not with FaceFitness! Open your laptop, or set up your iPad and take just 30 minutes for yourself to sweat. I’ll be here to help push you!
A: Where did this idea come from? Very millennial of you 🙂
Erin: I had a friend in Minnesota randomly text me and simply said, “Do you think you could FaceTime train me?” She was 50/50 as far as kind of joking, yet pretty serious. So, for about 48 hours it was all I could think of. It ignited this flame of an idea that was like those trick birthday candles. You’re trying to blow them out and the dang things keep relighting. Well, this idea was a constant thought. 48 hours later another friend, in a different state said, “I wish you were here physically to be able to train me.” Naturally I took that as a sign to share my idea, next thing you know she connected me with a web designer and I was on my way to creating a business. One month later I was set to launch and ready for the challenge! My friends are awesome. 🙂
A: What are the biggest challenges that you run into training someone virtually?
Erin: The biggest challenge is sometimes the connection can get sticky, while other times it’s crystal clear. Prior to clients signing up I give 1 free session to test the connection out and get an idea of how things may be moving forward.
A: What is your favorite thing about working with your clients?
Erin: That once they understand how virtual training works, and get comfortable with someone training you through a computer screen, they see how convenient it is! On top of that, they’re trusting me and they’re comfortable enough with me to help them. My favorite part is watching clients transform. And not even with the number on the scale, but their energy levels are up, health issues are decreasing and levels are back to normal, clothes are fitting how they want them to. To be quite honest, I wish I could throw away every scale out there to where they are only seen in doctors offices. There is much more to a healthier lifestyle than a scale number!
A: As a personal trainer, what do you think is your biggest strength?
Erin: I believe my biggest strength is reading people’s body language and connecting with a client to where they ENJOY working out. You come across many different personalities. Yes, some days are harder than others but I want them to look forward to their 30 minute session. Working out doesn’t have to be boring or way to intense that you dread it. I love to find a balance of pushing them enough to where they start to believe in themselves versus just defeating them. Another strength, multitasking! You always have those clients that LOVE to talk thinking they’ll get less of a workout in, not with me! I can talk, count reps, listen to you, respond, count more reps, and direct you to your next exercise! 🙂
A: Where is the most interesting place someone has done their session from?
Erin: Honestly I haven’t had any crazy places that people have trained in. Few hotel rooms, some clients won’t look at a desk chair or hotel bed the same. Some clients have actual gyms in their basement, living rooms. Sounds like I need a few new clients to spice up their training scenery!
A: As the daughter + sister of small business owners, I know it can be a very busy career (right, Krystle?). How do you find balance?
Erin: Luckily in the fitness industry, I find balance because I ultimately create my own schedule. So any time I’m scheduling clients it’s because it fit into their schedule, but also mine. By agreeing to that appointment, I scheduled it, so as my own boss I’m able to control how many sessions a day or week I can handle realistically!
A: As I mentioned in your introduction, you had quite the athletic career. How was the health + workout transition after your competitive playing days were over?
Erin: At first it was nonexistent. I worked out here and there, no consistency, ate whatever I wanted, but then for once in my life I didn’t have to attend 6 A.M. conditioning, or afternoon practice. I could skip a workout without consequences. Which also meant for once in my life things sort of caught up with me, you can refer to my “before” picture on my website for proof! (getfacefit.com/about) A: Seriously, go here and check it out. I had just gotten back into training prior to stumbling upon my first personal training job. And once I was hired I took it to the next level. You want a trainer who practices what they preach right? A trainer who looks the part. A trainer who has experimented with different styles of training and nutrition. I absolutely was going to be that trainer, so that’s when the transition began. Better late than never! A: YES! As my trainer Nick says, someone that has been in the trenches.
A: On your website you talk about your own personal fitness struggles…were you scared to be so transparent?
Erin: No, I wasn’t. And I wasn’t because with personal training, comes trust, and at times vulnerable people. Some hit breaking points, and that’s when they seek help because they realize they can’t get there on their own. I didn’t wake up one day looking how I do today. I’m human. I leaned on friends and other coworkers (trainers) to show me the ropes, and jump start my fitness journey. There were plenty of days I didn’t want to train, because I wasn’t training for a race, or a competition. Days I was impatient I wasn’t seeing instant results. Some days I looked at my healthy meal pretending it was a big juicy burger and fries. But when I got a grasp on my “why”, why I’m training, why I’m making healthier choices…things clicked. It’s a lifestyle, it’s long term, and when you give your body the nutrients it needs and treat it well, it rewards you. I reminded myself of my family history (which touches on just about any type of cancer you can name) and I swore to myself I would make my mother proud. She was a fighter and one of the strongest people I have ever witnessed. It was only right to follow in her footsteps. A: I love this. Readers, think about your why. Write it down. Put it somewhere where you see it all the time. It’s about your health, not looking a certain way (although this can be a great benefit + confidence boost).
A: The number on the scale actually went up for you. Tell us why you don’t let that bother you. PS. Kudos for just owning your number! You look AMAZING!
Erin: Thank you, Amy! As mentioned earlier, I dislike scale numbers. There is just so much more to a healthy lifestyle than that number. The scale can never show you inches lost, confidence gained, higher energy levels, etc. But whereas when you look in that mirror and see yourself, how do you feel? Are you happy with how you look? Are you confident in your own skin? We can be so hard on ourselves that sometimes that scale number hasn’t moved but when you compare pictures or do measurements, you see all sorts of changes! I want clients to love what they see in the mirror, and never get discouraged when they look down at that number.
A: Because of your own story + knowledge of training, what do you think is the best way to track progress in your clients?
Pictures! Pictures! Pictures! I cannot express that enough. It is the best way for a client to personally see their changes. Why? We critique everything about ourselves, we look at ourselves daily. It is way harder for us to see the physical changes. But when you have a “before” picture to look back and compare it to, you’ll be shocked at the results you didn’t think you were getting, that are obvious in your comparison pictures. Other people will see the changes in you before you do, take pictures and see them for yourself!
A: What foods show up in your day-to-day diet?
Erin: Eggs, banana oatmeal, homemade pancakes, greek yogurt, turkey burgers, jasmine rice, red apples, chicken spinach salads! I love to make wraps. Breakfast wraps, chicken wraps, I can get pretty creative sometimes! A: Lots of similarities here 🙂
A: Favorite healthy meal?
Erin: I love breakfast foods. So I have to go with my (protein) pancakes. I’ll even share the recipe for you all to try!
1 scoop protein powder (optional!)
1/2 cup oats
1 banana (this can also be 1/2 cup diced strawberries or blueberries)
3 egg whites
1 whole egg
cinnamon and stevia to taste.
Blend. Spray skillet. And thank me later! So tasty that kids even enjoy them 🙂 A: I need to try this!
A: Favorite indulgence?
Erin: Banana frozen yogurt with crushed oreos and marshmallows on top. Looks like I’ll be headed to Orange Leaf after all. You can’t have me talking about my FAVORITE indulgence and then not go get it, right? Was that a good enough justification? (Takes a bite…) I’m a trainer who’s all about balance!
A: Inspirational quote/mantra that has been running through your head lately?
Erin: “Change your way of thinking.” Short and sweet yet so powerful. This quote shows up on my phone each morning when my alarm so kindly wakes me up. I’m not a big morning person, but when I change my thinking to hey…I’m awake, which means I’m blessed with another day, and it’s up to me to dictate how this day goes, why not make it a good one? There is a lot of things in life we cannot control, but our mind is one we can. Easier said then done but when we grab a hold of our thoughts, and turn them into positive ones, days get better, moods get better, and we make those around us better whether we realize it or not. Try it, I dare ya! Did I mention I do all of this after I roll over in my bed and start my Keurig that sits so pretty on my night stand? Guilty, I’m a coffee lover.
A: I know that cancer has unfortunately been a big part of your family’s life. Tell us about how you are carrying on your mom’s tradition of health + fitness. Did her job as a personal trainer influence your early health habits? How has she influenced your career?
Erin: My drive, my “why”, my passion…all credit due to my mother 100%. Before passing in 2008, and before getting very sick, my mother studied for her personal training certification. With her lumpectomy, then mastectomy surgery, exercises and movements felt different once she was cleared to get back into training. So, the amazing woman she was, she decided she wanted to become a personal trainer who specialized in training women AFTER those same surgeries. A: Amazing! She knew how things felt, so she wanted to help those who may have second guessed exercising again. She wanted them to know that it was ok to begin training, and that things may have felt different, but it shouldn’t hold them back. Her desire to help other people is that same desire I carry amongst my training. Genuinely wanting the best for people who reached out for my help, and are trusting me. Another big part of why I love training, and the opportunity to pick up where my mother left off is to inspire. When losing a parent or a loved one, the path we take afterwards is crucial. I’m thankful to be surrounded by supportive, loving people who wanted the best for me. Because of them I never lost strength, and I now live my life hoping to inspire those who come across me as a person or my business. I want people of my age, and any age, to see that through times of loss, you can turn it into something greater. We will never get those loved ones back, but if you pay attention to little signs as you work to honor them and make them proud, you’ll start to realize they’re working right alongside you. Guiding you and supporting you. I can’t tell you how many times I see things in front of me laying in the form of a breast cancer ribbon. Whether that’s implying my mother is with me, or she’s just saying hello, I always take a second to thank her! I now understand and believe that when you find your passion, you never work another day in your life. A: I love this answer Erin.
Founder of FaceFitness
Head Trainer at HomeFit Personal Training in Louisville, KY,
Modus Apparel Sponsored Athlete
Isn’t she awesome?! I hope you found some inspiration here, I know I did. Check out her website to get more of Erin!
I’m off to sleep, only 1 more shift and then 8 days off! Praise the Lord (I love my job, but this has been a bender). I can’t wait to post on Friday about where my training is going + hopefully it inspires yours. Make it a great day everyone!