Photo by Valerie Shelton
Ryan Rivera and Ruben Rodriguez of Undoubted Training.
By Valerie Shelton, Editor
Opting to go to a personal trainer isn’t easy, especially for those struggling with their weight. It can be scary to hand over your hard-earned money to someone in the hopes they can help you in your quest to a healthier lifestyle.
Trainer Ruben Rodriguez of Undoubted Training says he can understand the trepidation some have as many trainers at the “big gyms” get stuck on the line between being a trainer and being a salesperson. Often, he said, it becomes about the quota and trainers take on so many clients, it’s hard for them to keep in communication with each one to make sure they are taking the necessary steps at home to supplement their sweaty workouts.
That is why after several years working as a trainer at various gyms throughout the Central Valley, Rodriguez decided to branch off on his own. While training a few clients in person and handful online, Rodriguez got to know fellow personal trainer Ryan Rivera, who was also starting to develop his own following. Together, they joined forces to create Undoubted Training.
Rodriguez and Rivera took different paths to becoming personal trainers.
Rodriguez had always had an interest in personal training, which was enhanced when he joined the Marine Corps. Although he had been fit his whole life, he even began to gain weight after leaving the service, reaching close to 250 pounds. Knowing he had to make a change, Rodriguez went to school and took course after course and got certified as a trainer.
“My biggest motivator was myself,” Rodriguez said. “I got to a state where I was getting really overweight and close to 250 pounds and I was eating really unhealthy and drinking a lot and I got to the point where I had to make a change and I wanted to get certified and get all this knowledge for myself at first….. I got where I wanted to go at a really fast pace and was able to apply everything to myself and I wanted to see if I could do this for other people and share that journey.”
Rivera, on the other hand, came into the profession by happenstance. Self-described as the small kid who was picked last on the sporting teams in high school, Rivera said he never envisioned becoming a personal trainer. Then one day he applied to work in maintenance at a Clovis gym and the interviewer there said he thought Rivera would make an excellent trainer. That was in 2010 and the rest is history.
“Once I was put in that position, I wanted to do the best I could so I did certification after certification and school and everything I could do to make myself a better trainer and ever since then I never looked back,” Rivera said.
The approach Rodriguez and Rivera take at Undoubted Training is unique in that they tailor workouts according to each client’s needs and desires. For example, if a client doesn’t want to set foot on a treadmill, Rodriguez and Rivera won’t force them too, instead they will find exercises that that client is more comfortable with.
“I’m not one-dimensional; I don’t just want to train you in CrossFit or in Olympic lifting, I can train anyone in anything,” Rodriguez said. “As a trainer, I think you need to be creative enough to be able to step outside of your own box and put your beliefs off to the side and then train the person the way they want to be trained. I think that is huge because you have to listen to the person.
“I had a lady come up to me once and she told me she never wanted to touch a weight. She wanted to build muscle but she didn’t want to touch a weight so in my head, I thought that was doable, but it is going to be very hard and very long, but you know what, I can’t tell you that is impossible, where 90 percent of the trainers would tell you, ‘nope, you have to take this protein shake, you have to take these supplements, you have to take this.’ What I told her is I’m creative enough as a trainer to help you so what we did was a lot of body weight movements and eventually she came up to me and told me she wanted to start using some weights so there is a change that happens. You have to tell me you want to do it; I can’t tell you to do it.”
June Boyce started training with Rodriguez less than 60 days ago and said she has never had to run, but working out with him twice a week has already helped her see noticeable results. Boyce said what she likes most about Rodriguez is that he lets you come to your own conclusions.
“When I first came to him, I struggled from 3 to 5 p.m. because that would be the sugar time and this girl at work has candy on her desk and I would always be in her office during that time,” Boyce said. “I was explaining that to him and he said that is my body needing to eat and I was filling it with sugar, but if I ate regular food, it would change the pattern and that made logical sense so now I don’t do that. At first I was radical and made her put her candy away if I was going to come in and have a meeting in her office but now I’m okay. His making me think, you don’t have to fill it with candy you can eat something else worked so I structured the meal plan so I eat a rice cake or banana or something during that time, but I don’t even want sugar anymore.
“Sometimes I ask him if I can have a cheat and he says yes but then I change my mind because now I feel I’m working toward a goal and if I’m going to go off the plan then I’m not going to reach the goal. That is just what he has instilled in me because I can see how he does it. I like his approach to getting you to be the one to make the change.”
Structuring workouts to fit each client is just a part of what Rodriguez and Rivera do—they also stay in constant contact. Online, each client has a profile on Fit Bot so they can track whether clients are following their meal plans or are doing their workouts. Whenever clients have questions, they can also call or text Rodriguez or Rivera directly.
“One thing that separates us is how accessible we are to people,” Rivera said. “This is a full-time job for us and we are constantly texting our clients or talking to them on the phone or e-mail or through Fit Bot. We pride ourselves on being there for our clients 100 percent of the time and I think that is huge.”
Rodriguez said he prefers clients ask him, rather than go online and try to figure things out for themselves.
“My phone is always going off and I love it because there is no room for error and I don’t want you to ask google what the answer is because I want you to hear from me because I know your plan, I know where you’re at and if you type it on google, you will get a million different answers and answers will be influenced by a product and wanting you to buy a product and that is what I don’t want,” Rodriguez said. “It’s like building a soup and I have all the ingredients if you put in anything other than the ingredients I already have, then we mess up the soup, so I’d rather you ask me first.”
At the same time, Rodriguez said he is flexible with the nutrition plan. At first, he said, he started clients on a three-four plan, where they eat healthy for three days and normal for four. Then it switches to four-three, five-two and eventually six-one. By the time most clients get to six one, he said they notice the change in their body and digestion and aren’t nearly as tempted to cheat. Many, like Boyce, don’t want too because they want to keep the momentum going.
“When you see the transformation, you’re not going to want to be cheating all the time because you’ll be so in tune with your body,” Rodriguez said.