Gina Patterson

Bend, Oregon, United States

Contact This Student: Bite Nutrition

Speciality: Nutrition, Weight Loss

Pre-Academy Experience: Some Online Training Experience

Goals: More Family Time, Work/Life Balance

As a multi-talented athlete with many different fitness interests, Gina is no stranger to the importance of good coaching — and the effects of bad advice.

Take her first marathon. Thanks to some not-so-good advice on the Internet, she ran the race on zero calories. As you can imagine, it didn’t go so well.

After that, she felt a responsibility to make sure fellow athletes got better advice. “I didn’t want anyone to go through what I went through.”

This would set the tone for Gina’s work in the fitness industry. First she’d become the student, then the teacher.

Though she was a technical writer for many years, Gina managed to find time to develop her credentials, and take fitness-related jobs on the side.

That nutrition coach she hired? They soon became a business colleague.

That spin class she took? Not long before Gina was teaching it.

Gina also continued to build on her biology degree with courses on anatomy and physiology (and a year of exercise science) at the local community college.

As a result, Gina was building a solid list of coaching credentials, even before she ever planned on being a full-time coach.

Then, 2007 happened. It was one of those years when everything falls apart.

“Within a span of three months, my father-in-law was killed in a car accident, my mother-in-law was wounded, my husband was in a terrible cycling accident, and I lost my job. It was like a bad country song.”

Suffice it to say, things were not easy. “Raising a 7 month old at the same time, and trying make ends meet… for a few years, everything went by the wayside. It was basically a black hole,” she remembers.

Gina’s own self-care and health understandably took a back seat. But after a while, in her efforts to regain balance, she found her way back to fitness.

Gina got some online nutrition coaching as a client and — in typical Gina-style — wound up joining their team.

First she worked as a writer, then as a coach. But while she loved coaching, Gina was frustrated by many aspects of the business.

On the upside, these frustrations helped Gina see how things could be done differently or better. She imagined how she would do things if only it were her company.

When she got laid off, it was “a blessing in disguise”: a chance to put all the pieces together, and create the kind of coaching business that she’d always wanted to see.

So, together with her business partner Catherine, that’s exactly what she did.

Of course, they knew they couldn’t do it alone. So, after some careful thought and calculations, Gina enrolled in the Online Trainer Academy.

She immediately found that there were some quick things they could do to put the OTA to use. “The Academy basically says, ‘let’s get you started — get you some momentum, some income.’ That was really helpful right away.”

Even more importantly, the Academy has helped them think about the long term. With a steady stream of clients, Gina and Catharine can now “take a step back and think about where we’re headed; we can plan, project out and be proactive.”

Along with business growth, Gina’s been able to bring more balance to her life.

“Online training has given me freedom,” says Gina.

Case in point: “I was able to spend the summer with my kids. Before I got laid off, I was dreading the summer, knowing I would be working 60-80 hours a week and not be able to be with them. Now, I could say, ‘sure, let’s go for a walk or a bike ride’.”

Gina’s discovered, “it doesn’t have to be grind. Yes, you have to work hard, but it can be something you enjoy working hard at.”