Joni DeSmet
ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor
Pungo Personal Training Ce"/>
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ACE-certified Success Stories



Joni DeSmet
ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor
Pungo Personal Training Centers
Virginia Beach, Virginia

I started out in fitness at a time when people commonly asked, "What exactly is it you do?" when they saw an advertisement for an aerobics studio.

Even as a novice to the profession I realized early on that education and certification were in order. I first became certified through IDEA, back when they handled certifications, and then went on to become an ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor and an ACSM Health Fitness Instructor. My husband and I both received our bachelor's degrees in exercise science from Arizona State University.

However, my story sets me apart from those who follow a typical route to success. My husband ended up joining the Navy and became an F-14 Fighter RIO. It was fantastic for him, but it landed me on the East coast with little to do. I looked into getting my master's degree in exercise science and found Old Dominion University conveniently located nearby. After completing my degree and having my fourth child, we moved to a very isolated area of Virginia Beach. This is when my success story really began.

In 1997, I started a small personal training studio in the middle of a town called Pungo – Pungo Personal Training. The first three months seemed pretty dismal, but after I came up with a "money back guarantee" program, I was training over 40 hours a week within two months. I developed a boot camp program that was comprised of 25 sessions, lasted five weeks, and promised a ten pound weight loss. Granted, there were always going to be clients who couldn't lose the weight, but for the most part I had genuinely satisfied customers.

Within six months of opening the first studio I opened my second about eight miles away. Pungo Personal Training II is next to Virginia Beach's Municipal Center. It took over two years to get the facility running at full capacity. Now I have two full-time employees and nine independent contractors. We work with the second-largest employer in Virginia, giving free services to employees through Virginia Beach's benefits department, and our training fees are reimbursed.

Within the last year we opened another facility - Pungo Personal Training Plus, providing group instruction for Pilates mat and spinning courses.

Building this company has been quite a process, but I can assure anyone who has diligence and fortitude that success will come with patience, good planning and the inner peace of knowing that what you are selling can only bring good to others.

Thanks to the American Council on Exercise, I can maintain an ongoing education through their publications, Fitness Matters and Certified News. My certification and association with ACE is more recognized than any of my other credentials. Our clients request professionals that are certified through a national organization with a respected reputation, and it's important that their trainers remain abreast of the current trends.

We use the ACE Personal Trainer Manual when preparing any potential new trainers and as a reference book for our existing staff. Our staff presently consists of two ACE-certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Coaches in conjunction with those who are either ACE certified for group instruction or personal training.

I sincerely feel that the American Council on Exercise has been responsible for making the profession of personal training more respectable in the public eye through all of its educational services.





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