Peter Banicky, 29, took his first personal training client at only 16 years old in his native Czech Republic.
Six years his senior, his brother owned his a workout facility and Ultimate Fighting training school, and as Peter explains, his brother called him one day short-staffed and asked Peter to fill in with one of his clients.
“That was the point I decided I wanted to get into this business,” Peter said.
Twelve years ago, he left his home bound for the United States and wound up in Chicago. Before his departure, Peter went through the proper education and training to become a certified personal trainer. His clients included high-ranking politicians and his native country’s celebrities.
“The personal training business in the United States is much more mainstream, whereas at home, not everyone can afford a personal trainer. There is it considered a luxury and here, it is much more common,” he said.
After landing in Chicago, Peter met a young man who’d worked in the Fabulous Florida Keys in the food service industry. He recounted to Peter the warm, sunny climate of South Florida, and the young Czech was immediately intrigued.
“I wanted desperately to get out of the cold,” he remembered. “Chicago’s winters were absolutely brutal!”
When he eventually made his way to the Keys, Peter admits he English was nearly non-existent.
“It would be very hard to train someone when I couldn’t even speak English with them,” he laughed.
His first job was at The Island Fish Co. in Marathon, and while he worked to hone his English skills, he simultaneously worked to earn his personal training certification in Florida and continue with his true professional passion.
“Physical fitness is a lifestyle that was developed here in the United States,” he suggested. “American certification is much more goal-oriented as are the work outs. My clients’ determination is much greater, and they’re larger resources for information as well as greater access to them.”
Peter said after his brother took him under his wing and exposed him to the world of physical fitness and personal training, it took him a while to realize that one component of his regime was severely lacking.
“It took me a little while to figure out the nutrition part of personal training,” he remembered. “Just working out does not help you reach your goals. Nutrition is about 60 to 70 percent of your overall success. Nutrition is a science in itself.”
Peter insists that his personal training programs for his clients are just that – personal. He focuses on cardiovascular training, strength training and developing a nutrition program for each of his clients. Skin fold measurements and body fat calculations are always taken at the first consultation.
“It’s a good motivator,” he explained. “People rely too much on a scale, but when they see the changes in their measurements and find their clothes fitting better than before, and then they are really motivated to work out.”
Peter is joining The Weekly Newspapers as a regular columnist offering plenty of advice on fitness, nutrition, goal setting and weekly exercises. He is available for in-home personal training sessions as well as at Keys Fitness Center in Marathon.