Today we’d like to introduce you to Genny Quarfoot.
Genny, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The story of my career in fitness actually began during my previous career as a litigation attorney in Washington D.C. during the mid-2000s. I was working long hours, nights and weekends in a stressful environment on civil and criminal cases. Realizing that I needed help to find balance and maintain a healthy lifestyle, I hired a personal trainer. Those sessions were the only thing that could lure me away from my desk, even if it meant I had to return to the office right after my workout. I quickly learned the value of the accountability and motivation a fitness trainer can provide. The groundwork and prioritization of exercise in my life were cemented from then on.
By 2013, I was a happily married mother of three. I had left the insanity of private legal practice behind and received my NASM personal training certification. I began coaching classes at a high-intensity bootcamp studio, as well as private training sessions. I spent hours researching and trying out new exercises, creating group workouts, and customizing training for clients of all fitness levels. It was exhausting and exhilarating! In 2016, our family moved to San Diego. Here, I continue with personal training but have found my professional home at Orangetheory Fitness. I am part of an innovative company that continually pushes me to my greatest potential, and a community that makes me excited (yep, excited!) to go to work in the morning.
Similar to my career in law, I work with clients who place their trust and faith in me. They share their goals, fears, doubts, and triumphs with me. To be entrusted with the personal lives of others is a tremendous privilege. My objective every day is to provide people with the same gifts of support, encouragement, and strength that fitness gave me way back when I needed it most.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Haha, no, my road was not perfectly paved, but frankly, I’m glad about that… you learn way more from the bumps.
First – starting out in a new career is a daunting endeavor. This applies to a fresh new college graduate or someone like me starting over in an entirely different industry. No one, not even you, knows yet what you are capable of in this new career. Your resume is sparse and your connections, if any, are few. Additionally, I felt burdened by the guilt of leaving behind all the sweat equity I’d invested in law school and the firm.
But for me, regrets are much scarier. I would never tell you that I’m the smartest, prettiest, most athletic person in the room. But I’ve always been a risk taker and I have ALWAYS bet on myself. Cold calling for jobs and pounding the pavement (literally walking studio to studio) to meet people in the industry is not a fun thing to do. But determination and perseverance eventually got me experience, connections, and an established reputation in the career in which I believed I would succeed.
Second – life gets in the way. For me, that happened in the best way possible when I had my kids. Becoming a mother changed how I prioritize my time. First, you have the infant/toddler years, and then sports and homework, throw in some sick days – total insanity! It can definitely be a challenge to grow your business or make work commitments when you are time-strapped in other less predictable areas. Find yourself a support system – my awesome husband picks up more than his fair share when my time is compromised. I’m also lucky to have an incredibly understanding work team that accommodates any last minute scheduling conflicts.
My best advice for young women just starting out today – HUSTLE. Go get as much work experience as you can, especially before you start a family (if that’s something you plan to do). Work the late shifts and weekends that others can’t or are unwilling to work. Also, don’t be afraid to go “old school” to set yourself apart from the sea of online applicants – pick up the phone or put yourself face to face with people in the industry to pick their brain. I literally would walk into places and ask whom I should speak with in order to learn more about their job and potential employment there. These are called “informational interviews” and they are incredibly valuable. You listen, learn and make that human connection. One time, the job position I wanted didn’t exist. I called the head of the department and asked if we could meet so I could pick her brain about her career path. She was more than happy to meet for coffee and talk about herself (haha)! By the end of our meeting, I convinced her to hire me anyway and create the position because I assured her I could add value. I guarantee the old fashioned avenues will set you apart in a modern online playing field.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Orangetheory Fitness story. Tell us more about the business.
The work I am most proud of today is coaching at Orangetheory Fitness. I have been at the Solana Beach location since its doors opened in early 2017. I currently coach classes at 5 am, 6:10 am, and 7:20 am and believe me, this crowd comes ready to work! OTF is a heart rate-based, interval training program utilizing treadmills, water rowers, free weights and other modalities such as TRX straps, BOSUs, ab dollys, and medicine balls. During the one-hour class, I guide the members through their stations, correct their form, and coach them through their intervals with push! Many have told me that I’m a drill sergeant with a smile, which I take as a total compliment. 🙂
There is such satisfaction when a corporate and personal mission align. “More Life” is what OTF offers its members. That is exactly how I came into this industry – looking for a way to improve my life and get more of the best of it. On a regular basis, members show me before-and-after pictures of weight loss and tone. Others tell me that they just signed themselves up for their first 10k or half marathon! Brides show me pictures of themselves on their wedding day, beaming because they felt so beautiful and healthy. I have also had several members let me know that aggressive medical procedures were avoided because of the health benefits they acquired from consistently showing up to class.
The thing that sets OTF apart from other fitness studios is the community you’ll find there – everyone from the sales team, the coaches, the regional managers, and the members. If you know, you know. 🙂 I think the thing that sets me apart personally as a trainer is my enthusiasm and my personal connections to the members. I really enjoy getting to know something special about each person that spends an hour of their day with me. Engagements, pregnancies, birthdays, retirements – you name it, I’ll celebrate it! I would also say my playlists set me apart – my music library is hilariously random, I love every kind of music! I’ll have you know, I had the best mixtapes back in college! Haha
Which women have inspired you in your life? Why?
I’ve been surrounded by some badass women in my life over the years. On a professional level, I can think of two who shaped my identity as a lawyer and trainer. My favorite professor in law school at American University, Cynthia Jones, taught me to be a fierce debater, to stand up before a panel of mostly male judges and confidently argue my cases. She taught me how to litigate calmly but effectively, and challenged me at every turn. Nicole Doerring, my friend and first personal trainer, showed me how to walk right into that weight room where all the dudes are throwing weights around and grunting. She showed me every single piece of equipment in there and how to use it with proper form. Today, I am never EVER intimated to be the only female in the weight room.
On a personal level, I have the 2 best inspirations in my life for being a working mom. My mother-in-law Beth’s only daughter was born with cerebral palsy. Lisa could never walk or talk, but Beth was selflessly devoted to her physical therapy and patterning while raising two other sons. My mom, Martie, was a stay-at-home mom my entire childhood, and then at the age of 54, she went back to school and began a whole new career as an Episcopal priest! When I was debating my career change, she made me feel that it is never too late to change your life, to leave behind what is familiar and go after lofty goals.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @gquarfoot