By Jennifer Marshall
The first 31 days of 2019 have come and gone. Has your New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get fit come and gone as well? If your answer is “yes,” then you need someone who understands your fitness fears, your health and your overall wellness goals. You need an expert personal trainer who is focused on your individual issues. You need Michael Smith with Smithpro Fitness. He has the professional knowledge and experience to meet your every fitness goal.
Smith was 13 when he discovered his love of fitness and bodybuilding. Like many kids, he admired his dad. His father also happened to be in excellent shape, and Smith described him as being “like Superman” as he believed there was nothing he couldn’t do. One day, Smith was staring at the cover of a muscle magazine when his dad asked him what he was doing.
“I want to look like that man,” said Smith pointing to the cover. “He’s strong, and I want to be like that.”
His dad honored his request by purchasing him his first weight set, which he worked with in the backyard. Then, at 16, he discovered Nautilus Gym and met its inventor Arthur Jones.
“I studied his theories and techniques,” said Smith. “Jones was one of the best exercise scientists of his day. I learned there was more to it than just pushing weights; it’s a science.”
Through his connection with Jones, Smith was introduced to Mike Mentzer, the renowned professional bodybuilder, with whom he trained and learned more techniques.
“Mentzer taught me productive exercise science and the true meaning of logic and reason in training,” said Smith.
At 20, Smith earned his first certification, but like many other people with grand career dreams that get shoved aside, he never really worked it. In those early years, he did some part-time training here and there, but his full-time job was never in fitness. Life often has a way of shaking things up and awakening us to what’s truly important.
“After going through a divorce,” said Smith, “I realized I wasn’t doing what I loved. I loved working with people, and I loved fitness. So, I jumped in full-time. It was a struggle at first, but once people started training with me and seeing my results— ‘Hey, this guy knows what he’s doing!’— I got busier and busier.”
Fast forward 15 years, and Smith, who had now remarried, moved to Los Angeles.
“I wanted to learn more about the fitness industry,” said Smith, “and I thought that LA was one of the best places to better my knowledge.”
Tinseltown—thousands of creatives flock there hoping to realize their ultimate dream of stardom. For some, it’s a city of heart-stopping joy, and for others, it’s just simple heartbreak. Luckily, all of Smith’s hard work, dedication and discipline to his craft paid off as he experienced his ‘Big Break’ in the City of Angels.
Not long after he arrived, he met one of Katy Perry’s dancers who, according to Smith, was looking to “bulk up and put some size on,” which was the new trend in Hollywood. Dancers aspiring to go on world tours with stars like Perry were required to eschew the lean look for a more muscular and athletic physique called “body boys.” And while they were heavier, they still needed to be flexible and light on their feet in order to dance. The “mission” was on but not “impossible,” and Smith delivered through a combination of strengthen and functional training, and the dancer aced an audition landing a dance part with another A-list artist.
“That one contact took everything to the next level,” said Smith.
When other celebs and talent agencies saw this dancer, they were wowed and impressed with Smith’s work and results. This opened the floodgate to agencies. He quickly became the go-to fitness guy for whatever physicality an artist needed to achieve in order to secure a particular audition or role.
He zoomed to the top of fitness in Hollywood, and as his career grew, he received more and more agency referrals. His work, which was seven days a week, one client per hour, included preparing models and celebrities for modeling, commercial and movie work, and he coached musicians and dancers for tours.
“One agency I worked closely with,” said Smith, “when they signed someone, they would hand that person my business card, and tell them if they’re looking to go on world tours, they need to train with Mike to get more athletic looking.”
During his LA heyday, Smith employed his own trainers to ease the workload. Given that most of his clientele valued their privacy and mainstream gyms were often full of prying eyes and long waits to use equipment, he opened his own gym. Equipped with more gear than most other facilities, his center was for the exclusive use of his clients. And his clients were exclusive as he’s trained dancers to work with such headliners as Lady Gaga, Justin Beiber, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift. And for those who preferred the comfort of home over any gym, Smith also offered in-home training.
“In LA,” said Smith, “I realized you can’t do cookie-cutter routines; everyone’s different. That’s when I created my ‘A to Z’ training style. I set individual goals for people, and I can handle anything. If you want to lose weight, tone—whatever you want to do—I can help you to achieve it.”
Life has a way of keeping us in continuous fluctuation, and it was the death of his wife’s grandmother that brought these Phoenix natives back home to roost in January 2018. Smith’s wife has an expansive family, and she was, simply put, homesick. Consequently, Smith sold his equipment, and a friend “took over” his gym space.
As for his clients, they weren’t forgotten. Smith passed the reins of his training program on to two of his expert friends enabling them to carry on for him. He describes his clients as being “like family” and helps to train them via online mediums. Then, approximately every two to three months, he returns to LA, where he rents gym space and works hands-on with them. And because he’s maintained ties with the agencies, he still receives referrals.
Now, he hopes to establish here in Phoenix what he built in LA. Smith offers three different approaches to fitness. He does in-home training, boot camps in parks and he works with Fitness 1, a local gym at 3515 W. Union Hills Drive.
However, he’s most excited about his in-home fitness service.
“Many people don’t feel comfortable going to the gym,” said Smith, “because they fear they’re being watched. I remove that fear by training in their home, and I have a lot of the functional training equipment for that purpose.”
Best of all, you don’t have to be Katy Perry to train with Smith. All you need is a belief in yourself and a willingness to work hard to achieve a happier and healthier you.
Looking to the future, Smith said: “My goal is to open a personal training studio here in Phoenix.”