Interview with a Fitness Celebrity

Written on 2014-08-07

Fael Foto

In a previous blog post, I discussed the fact that fitness is one of the most popular topics on social networks today. To understand a little more about how the fitness community uses online platforms, I had a chat with one of the most influential fitness professionals on the Internet: the trainer Fael Rafiusks.

Since Fael started his YouTube channel in 2011, his workout videos have achieved nearly 40 million views and his channel has attracted over 187,000 subscribers. In addition to YouTube, he also leverages the power of Facebook and blogging to help thousands of people every day get in shape and live healthier lives.

During our conversation, Fael shared his story and valuable insights on the importance of having an online presence and how trainers can go about building that presence. Key points from our discussion appear below.

Rudi: Fael, what motivated you to produce your own fitness videos and post them on YouTube?

Fael: Many people do not have the time or money to hire a personal trainer and give up exercising. I decided to make videos to teach and encourage people to work out.

Rudi: But the videos alone don't replace the work of one-on-one coaching, right?

Fael: Ideally, people need personal training. But, more often than not, this kind of one-on-one coaching doesn’t happen even in the most expensive gyms. So, it’s better to have some help than no help at all.

To make the classes easy and safer to follow, I divide all my workout videos into three different levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I also warn on my (YouTube) channel that if the person watching my videos has an injury or some form of illness, it is advisable to look for professional help before trying any workout.

Rudi: You put all your workout videos on the Internet for free. How does this help you to get financially compensated as a fitness trainer?

Fael: Before I started my YouTube channel, I was a gym instructor and didn’t have many clients as a personal trainer, which is the main source of income for professionals like me.

I was not happy with that situation and decided to do something to change that, but I was not sure what. After thinking of many different ideas, I realized it made sense to produce some free workout videos and use the Internet to distribute them to help me build my brand. So, I ended up creating my channel on YouTube.

I posted my first video and people loved it, so it motivated me to post more and take the channel seriously. After some time of doing it consistently, I was able to create a big following on social networks, especially YouTube and Facebook, and as a result, I was starting to get recognized everywhere.

This online presence that I built helped my personal brand a lot. I now have my agenda full of clients because of that. So, investing my time on social networks like YouTube and Facebook was totally worth it.

Actually, nowadays, more people ask to be trained by me than it's possible for me to take care of. I also do online coaching and make money off my YouTube channel through ads and sponsored content, even though the workouts are free. So, in the end, everybody wins.

Rudi: Your videos look good and are easy to watch. How do you produce them? Do you have a support crew that helps you shoot and edit the images?

Fael: Actually, no. I do the whole process by myself from image capture to editing—everything. And obviously, I am also the one who stays in front of the camera explaining the workouts.

Rudi: Talk more about your first video. How hard was it to start doing it when you had no previous experience filming?

Fael: Before making my first video, I did a course of video editing. It was a basic level course, but I learned everything I needed to start from it. And then, after producing my first workout video, I created a channel on YouTube and posted it there. It was as simple as that. Oh, I also asked a friend who has a popular blog to help me promote it, and as a result, the video got pretty popular and achieved a couple of million views. So, some cross-promoting with friends helps too, but I didn’t have to invest any money on marketing at all.

Looking back, my first workout video is not that good compared to my current ones, but the nice reception by the public was enough to motivate me to produce more video workouts and invest my time interacting with fans and followers on social networks.

Rudi: What's your most popular workout to date?

Fael: I think it’s a workout for thighs and glutes for women that I posted back in 2012. It has about six million views already. It's one of the most popular workout videos on YouTube from any trainer.

Rudi: Besides workout videos, what else do you post on social networks?

Fael: I post a lot of training and nutrition tips in general. Also, motivation is a big factor that helps people be disciplined and do their workouts, so I cover that aspect too in what I post.

Rudi: What do you enjoy more: training people online or in a personal way?

Fael: I like both. I can provide a better training session when coaching someone in a one-on-one, personal class, of course. But with my online coaching and the workout videos, I can reach way more people. With the help of social networks, my work is seen by millions of people and this level of recognition pleases me a lot and helps me do my job. So both aspects of my job, online and personal, go hand in hand.

Rudi: To conclude this interview, can you give a special tip to people who want to get in shape but for some reason are not getting results?

Fael: A good piece of advice is to seek knowledge through good sites and qualified people. When you understand the reason behind some training lessons, instead of just memorizing them, you better assimilate the knowledge. The same goes for food and diet. Seek information—it will be easier for you to take your goals seriously and achieve results.

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Fael publishes one video on the fifth and twentieth day of every month, for a total of two videos per month. Subscribe to his channel so you never miss a video: https://www.youtube.com/user/rprsp

In his blog, he describes the workouts in detail and gives awesome tips that can help everyone who wants to get in shape: http://www.exerciciosemcasa.com/

You can also find Fael on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exerciciosemcasa