I was fortunate enough to interview Michael George, president of Michael George Enterprises and one of the top recognizable names in the fitness industry.

Whether you are someone who is interested in fitness, or want to be successful in the fitness industry, you will find this interview interesting and eye-opening.

Michael GeorgeSGT Volkin: Given the crowded nature of the fitness industry, what were the keys for you to make the successful transition into the industry? 

Michael George: When I started in the fitness industry back in the mid-80’s it wasn’t such a saturated market. There were very few personal trainers in LA who were the real deal. By that I mean trainers who had the theoretical knowledge (higher education/multi-certified) and the practical knowledge (athlete, former amateur bodybuilder, martial artist, boxer and Yoga practitioner). I had both. Back then, if you were good at what you did, word of mouth was like wildfire. Especially in Hollywood; which is a very small circle.

The other keys to my success were a real desire and passion to transform others lives as I had transformed my own. Consummate professional at all times with strong business and marketing skills. Visionary. Goal setting, both short term and long term, and continually educating myself on new science and training methods. That was the substance. The final three keys were charisma (being fun with a strong personality), a desire to become self actualized or realized spiritually and common sense. These last three are intrinsic within the individual. They cannot necessarily be taught. In today’s trainer market the majority of trainers are lacking many of the qualities I listed so I never felt I had competition. My goal was to elevate myself to an elite status in my industry through my actions!

SGT Volkin: If you traveled back in time to when you were an overweight child and you said to yourself, “Michael you will own a successful company where your mission statement would be “To be recognized as “America’s Premier Health & Lifestyle Coach”,  what do you think that child would say back?

Michael George: You are so full of sh*t is what I would have said back to myself! I grew up a chubby kid with bad eating habits, extremely introverted and shy. Not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up. It just goes to show you what can be accomplished with hard work, persistence, not being afraid to fail, positive attitude, following your dreams and being passionate about being of service to others.

SGT Volkin: Is there someone who was influential to your success?

Michael George: There were many people that were influential in my life.  I had two mentors who were highly instrumental at very pivotal times in my life; who steered me through some very rough times and taught me what it means to be a man. I am also a voracious reader and I read numerous biographies on highly successful spiritual and business leaders. I attended numerous seminars with Zig Zigler (when he was alive), Tony Robbins, Landmark Forum, The Edge (Consulting Alliance), the business version of the old EST. I also surrounded myself with successful people and learned much from them. If you want to be successful in business and in life, hang out with the winners!

SGT Volkin: What piece of advice could you give for all the hopefuls out there hoping to make a name for themselves in the fitness industry?

Michael George: Work on yourself and the skills and qualities I mentioned earlier  and spend less time in the gym trying to look like a physique model. Read more. Spend time with yourself and learn who you are, what you want out of life and what you have to offer the world and then don’t let anything stop you from actualizing your dreams in life. You may not reach the moon but you will be a star! You will also be much happier. The three most important things in life are balance, family and love. Never forget that.

SGT Volkin: What mistake have you made in the past that you learned the most from?

Michael George: I made so many mistakes I could not possibly list them all. I can say that success is built on failure after failure. I don’t believe in regrets. I believe everything in life happens exactly as it should. I am not in charge of my life, God is! I just do the leg work. I will say that the mistakes I learned from the most were the ones that were the most painful to bear both financially and emotionally. Pain is the best teacher. The key is to remember that what goes up must come down and vice versa. Everything in life is temporary, including us. The nugget I can offer here is sincerity, humility, generosity and compassion are what get you through tough times. Ego, superficiality, vanity, cockiness, using others for personal gain, manipulation, self centeredness and bullying will take you down faster than a speeding bullet.

SGT Volkin: If you were stranded on a desert island, other than clothes shelter and food, what three items would you have with you?

Michael George: My life partner, a GPS tracker and a stack of books from the greatest thinkers, writers and poets of our time.