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Back Story: Forest Vance, Personal Trainer


Posted on April 29

Personal trainer and kettlebell guru Forest Vance motivates clients to do the heavy lifting.

Photography by Tyler & Christina

What is your philosophy about fitness?
My overall philosophy is about functional fitness—functional meaning it’s applicable to real-life movements, like lifting and pushing and pulling, doing something that’s going to get you stronger for everyday life.

What most often stands in the way of people making progress with exercise?
Mindset is the No. 1 thing. People have to be in the right mind space, to be ready to change and make it a priority in their life.

Do you ever come across a client where you think there is no way this person is going to make any progress because of their attitude or something standing in their way?
I really think anybody has the power within them to do it. It just depends on how close you are to being ready to make the change.

So much of your job is about motivating others. I’m curious if your clients ever motivate or inspire you?
Definitely. I’m super inspired when people lose a bunch of weight and totally get into the fitness lifestyle. I’ve had dozens of clients over the years lose over 50 pounds, and there are a few who have lost as much as 100 pounds, so that’s really inspiring.

What exercise do your clients h‚Äčate you for?
There are two: burpees and bear crawls.

You played football in the NFL. How would you rate your fitness now versus then?
I played offensive line, so I weighed over 300 pounds when I was playing. I was very strong and I guess you would say I was fit in a way that was specific to what I needed to do, but I wouldn’t have been able to run even a couple of miles straight without being pretty wiped out.

What qualities does a good personal trainer have to have?
You have to have a passion for fitness. You have to be punctual and professional. You have to have excellent communication skills—not just be in good shape yourself but to lead somebody through a workout. And you have to be outgoing, a people person.

What do you love about what you do?
I love helping people change their lives. It probably sounds corny, but it’s true. Most of the time, it doesn’t feel like work to me.