Training with Purpose: a conversation with Lydia Di Francesco

2 Jun

Lydia-041 testLydia Di Francesco sees her clients as family, and even has had clients say that her physical training sessions are like therapy. That kind of exchange and support was one of the big reasons she launched her personal training business Fit & Healthy 365; and it’s the reason we invited her to be featured today on Sister Leadership. To be the best trainer possible, Lydia has had to master not only physical wellness and how to guide others, but also how to read their emotions and share in their stories.

Today we are thrilled to share her story in how she came into the world of personal training, her thoughts on women’s greatest blocks to their own well being, how she sees herself as impacting the world one person at a time, and how intuition plays a big role in her training of others.

It’s a fascinating interview, and once again, we think you’ll be struck with how much intuition plays into our professional lives. Today’s post couples Lydia’s work with a sense of vocation. Vocation is a calling to make a difference and to give meaning to our life purpose. It is a feeling that we need to serve others, to give something back to our community.

Let’s dive into the conversation!

Lydia, how do you see your work as a personal trainer spilling over into your clients’ lives? What is your impact?

I’m helping people feel better either about themselves, or physically better. In either case, that trickles down to the people that they impact. For example, one of my clients has been with me for a couple years. For her, it’s been a break from work, a break from regular life and she’s increased her strength significantly and is loving her experience. So much so that she’s encouraged her husband to get a trainer. So he now has his own trainer and is getting into shape and is healthier, partly because of her influence.

For people who have families with children, the more energized you feel, the more that person can be there for those around them. If you take time for yourself, then you can be there for other people.

What’s the mindset and limiting beliefs you’ve seen for women in living a healthy lifestyle?

Value and worth, in that many women don’t think they are worth it or have that value to invest in themselves. They put everyone else in front of them. Women are super great at putting everyone else as a priority before themselves, but it’s to their detriment because then they actually can’t help as much as they could if they were taking better care of themselves.

Part of it is that lack of feeling deserving. I am worth taking this time or spending the money on myself. That’s one of the biggest mindset blocks.

People have to be ready. I tell this to a lot of people – I can’t give motivation. I can help guide, give tools and advice, but it has to come from within themselves. They need to have that desire to change, because obviously what they are currently doing is not working for them.

What’s your approach to training yourself?

It’s all about time and scheduling. I like to train myself. I’ve had trainers in the past, most good trainers have trainers. But I am just the same as everybody else, and struggle with the same things. I always tell my clients ‘you have to schedule it in.’ And how do I know this? Because I know if I don’t schedule it, it doesn’t happen. Just because I work at a gym, doesn’t mean I’m always working out. Scheduling and making the time is really great for everybody.

How did you make that jump in career from marketing to personal training and fitness?

I had gotten my MBA and was working at a marketing agency, while also going to the gym on a regular basis and doing group classes. When I was doing those classes, I thought I might be a good instructor and it would be fun.

Then there was a flyer advertising for instructors – so I figured, worst case scenario it’s just another workout, because we did the workout as part of the try out. But I passed and was hired as a part time instructor. Then I picked up another program, and ran a boot camp, and I was really enjoying it, and loving being able to impact people and make a difference in someone’s life.

I thought about it more, and started my blog and got more into the industry. I was pondering my involvement and realized what I really loved was the one-on-one chit chats that I’d have with clients in the change room before and after classes! Because I would change with everybody else and people would come up with a quick question about exercise or nutrition or lifestyle. I really liked that, and thought I’d enjoy personal training.

I did the certification and began looking for opportunities. One came across that was actually a hybrid role of personal training and marketing. For that time period in my life it was perfect. I transitioned into that! It was so perfect.

How does intuition work into your day and your business?

Intuition actually plays a lot into what I do because I have to be aware of what’s going on. Part of it is that I know my clients. For me, my clients are like my family. I’m Italian and it’s like, if you’re my friend you are pretty much part of my family. My clients are the same way. I really care about them and want to know what’s going on in their lives. Of course, I don’t pry. People tell me what they’d like to tell me. Though sometimes people actually say, ‘Oh, it’s like a therapy session!’ Which is cool.

You have to be a good listener, and know how to read body language and how they are when they say hello – do they seem tired… so I’ll say, how are you feeling? Are you a little tired today? How was work? It’s often either what they actually tell me or the subtle hints of how they react.

To ask ‘how are you doing’, or ‘how was your day’ sets it up. I had one client come in and say ‘I just had the worst day’. And I was like, ‘it sounds like you need a good tough workout where you can get aggression out.’ We scrapped what was planned and I gave him a heavy medicine ball, they’re made of sand, and was like, ‘Just slam it on the ground’ and he felt so much better after!

If they’re having a good day, we might try something a little tougher, too. You just need to get a sense of what is going on that day and react.



Thanks so much, Lydia, for your open and interesting responses. We loved learning how intuition and purpose play into your career as a personal trainer. And to you, our lovely readers, if you want to train with Lydia, she has a boot camp coming up this summer with registration currently open. Personal training is available, and she has room for a few more clients – head over to her website and reach out!





One Response to “Training with Purpose: a conversation with Lydia Di Francesco”


  1. Inspiring Quotes from Women in Business: Body Smart Roundup | sister leadership - August 18, 2015

    […] Read Lydia’s interview here. […]

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