“People don’t want to be thrown into working out, they want to ease into it,” said Frank Heagerty, 26, a personal trainer and owner of Bodyshock Fitness, 1879 County Route 7, Oswego. He moves around his fitness room with complete fluidity. The free-weights line up from smallest to biggest along the wall, while other machines dominate the middle of his floor. An expansive mirror stretches along the back wall, throwing his reflection back at him. “It’s really all about shocking your system with the right routine and diet, and that is where I got my name from,” he said.
Bodyshock Fitness is currently located in a side room off of Heagerty’s home. “I just became accredited from the Better Business Bureau,” Heagerty said. “So, now people can see that I have a credible business and I’m not just some creep trying to lure people into my home.”
Heagerty started working out seven years ago and enjoyed every aspect of it. Between he and his friends, he was always the one to look up different diets and exercises. “I ended up getting really involved with it. At the age of 19, I weighed 145 lbs at 6-foot-3,” said Heagerty. “I was in an unhealthy relationship and I looked really sick, but in the end that is actually what gave me the drive and power to better myself. It’s really humbling to see people come here to get that same sense of security. To be a part of that every day is awesome.”
Once Heagerty saw the progress with his own mind and body, he thought he could help others. Through the website expertrating.com, which provides instruction similar to taking an online course, he was able to receive his personal training and nutrition certifications.
“I started training my parents first to kind of ease myself into teaching,” Heagerty said. “Some people think once they have muscles, they have the ability to tell other people what to do, but it doesn’t work like that. I had to learn patience, be knowledgeable and be ready for every possible scenario. Some people want to focus on losing weight, some want to gain muscle and some just want to be in shape. It’s always different.”
Most of Heagerty’s knowledge about training was gained through his experiences of being in the gym. He applied that knowledge to his business. He made mistakes in the beginning, which helped him know what to look for with the people he trains, to make sure they don’t make those same mistakes.
“I was my own guinea pig in the beginning and that actually benefited me more than any official learning could have,” Heagerty said. “What I read in books is more for injury prevention than actually helping people get to where they want to be. I feel like I was put on earth to help people and not just myself, as cheesy as that sounds.
“I know what it feels like to have low self-esteem and to not be happy with the way you look. But I also know how great it feels to see progress and make it out of the darkness that is negativity. Being a part of someone else’s success story is what keeps me going.”
Heagerty’s father, Frank Sr., owns a pawnshop in Oswego, and when Heagerty first started his business two years ago, he relied on unideal equipment he found there, as well as on Craigslist. Finding the proper equipment to show a person’s progress was a challenge, but as his business grew, so did his tools.
Heagerty recently invested in purchasing a full-body composition scale, which shows the trainee’s weight, fat percentage, fat weight, muscle mass, muscle weight, water percentage, bone weight, the rate they process food and their metabolic age. For example, Heagerty is 26 years old, but his metabolic age is 12 years old, which he worked very hard to achieve.
“If someone’s metabolic age is 61 and they are 47 years old, that tells me it isn’t the work outs I need to focus on, it’s the nutrition,” Heagerty said with excitement. “This machine lets me cut right to the point so people can see their progress faster. It’s easy to work harder when you know things are so much more traceable.” Now, with the right equipment, Heagerty can spend his time investing in the business to make sure he is moving forward and improving with his clients.
Between his clients online and in person, Heagerty trains more than 100 people. He works seven days a week, but to him, it never feels like work. “The biggest challenge I face, besides not having much of a personal life, is working with people who are new to working out and training,” Heagerty said. “Sometimes workouts that I find to be really easy are really tough for someone just starting out. I also need to keep in mind that not everyone has the same goal. I need to be accommodating because it’s not what I want, it’s always what they want to achieve.”
The biggest quality trait that has helped Heagerty train others is honesty. He said that honesty is the only way someone can succeed. His clients need routine and need to be told what to do to better themselves. As for diet, Heagerty said that as long as their good days outweigh their bad and they are exercising regularly, they shouldn’t have to worry.
“Everyone trains differently, and the same goes for their diet. For example, I am perfectly fine eating brown rice and chicken for every meal, but I don’t expect that from anyone else,” he said. “People need normalcy. So, I set up plans for people individually where they have certain limits, as well as certain foods that can help them. It’s not realistic to abstain from the food you love, but it’s my job to help you find a balance.”
At the start of his business, Heagerty tried to have programs and diet plans set up for people, but it never panned out because of how different everyone is. He believes online programs don’t actually help people see the results they want. He would rather build his own workout plan for his clients personally depending on who they are and what they are capable of. Heagerty has home workout plans for people who already train regularly. That way he is with them every step of the way so they don’t lose motivation.
Lorena Malone, 50, started training with Heagerty last January because she wanted to see the results she wasn’t getting anywhere else.
“I walked into Bodyshock Fitness nervous and curious, and after the first day I never looked back,” Malone said. “I would recommend Frank to anyone. Throughout the chaos that is my life, my training with Frank turned out to be my happy place. He will work with all ages. He is knowledgeable, reasonable and pushes me to my absolute limit. When I started I could do 2 push-ups, now I can do 62 in one minute. The change I see in myself is amazing, and it’s just proof that it can be done.”
Heagerty plans to move and expand Bodyshock Fitness to a more suitable location in the summer of 2017. He will be renting out the space next to his father’s business at 202 W. 1st St. in downtown Oswego.
“Business has been really good, and I’d love to have another trainer in here to help me, but I haven’t got the space right now,” he said. “The new building is five times the size of where I am now, at 2,500 square feet, and I couldn’t be happier about the change.”