Michael Laffoon grew up on a farm, where physical work and house chores were abundant. The harder the family worked, the more they made time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Eating habits were fairly healthy with a “clean your plate” mentality, Michael says. In addition to working on the farm, sports were just as important for the Laffoons. Michael’s sister was a cross country runner while he was involved in baseball, track, cross country and wrestling. “If the sun was up, I was outside and moving,” he proudly recalls.
It was Michael’s parents who kept the momentum and love for physical activity alive, little knowing that they would influence his career in personal training. Michael never had a real vision in fitness until his senior year of high school. “I worked hard, lifted right, and dieted down. I was two weeks away from a body building show and I came down with mono. I lost 30lbs over the next two weeks and undid all that hard work,” he says. After suffering the consequences of pushing his body to the limit, Michael had to put his energy somewhere else.
After attending Longwood University, Michael majored in Exercise Science. He started to enjoy personal training and its success in other during his internship after his junior year at Longwood. His very first client was a 63-year-old woman who had gone through bilateral knee replacement surgery. With steady and gradual care, she handed Michael the actual handlebars she needed to use the bathroom. That was a moment in Michael’s life proving that his career was on the right track.Currently as a manager at Compel Fitness in Richmond, Virginia, the main driving force in his facility is “an uncompromising sense of teamwork.” He says, “We all operate as a team, from every single position, we all depend on, and look out for each other. The success of the gym doesn’t balance on my head, but on everyone collectively and how well we work together.” Michael prides himself in creating a fair but firm work environment “where no is above approach, including myself.” That sense of self-responsibility is what brings the most success to Compel Fitness.
Looking into the future, Michael strives to bring his club to 100% of its sales goals on a consistent basis and hopes to own his own facility one day. His strong worth ethic and organic relationship with his employees serves as a reminder for all managers that “you get what you give.” No matter how much success you see at your company or facility, rewarding your workers who helped you achieve that success is the essence of leadership.
On behalf of Smart Fitness, we congratulate Michael Laffoon for his success as a trainer and a leader in the personal training world!