Former student offers career advice and opportunities for majors.
By J’son Tillmon
Being a personal trainer is not glamorous, the regional fitness manager of Blast Fitness and alumnus of this college, told the Kinesiology Club Feb. 5 in Candler Physical Education Center.
“It’s a difficult job,” John Bonillas, 29, told 15 members and guests at the meeting. “It’s a lot of hours. You’re on your feet pushing people and motivating people. By the end of the day, your knees hurt, your ankles hurt and you’re hungry, but hey it’s your job, right? You’re a trainer.”
He told the group about a 30-hour service learning program with trainers at Blast Fitness. The company has four gyms in San Antonio.Interns learn how to monitor clients week to week to reach their goals, he said. They also learn the business of attracting and retaining clients.
Blast Fitness is hiring personal trainers and encouraged students with a personal trainer’s certification to apply, Bonillas said.
He was a student here 2004-2006, then transferred to Texas State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 2010. He landed a seasonal coaching position at St. Mary’s Hall from 2009-2013. “I was doing the seasonal coaching with those guys, and I was swinging a hammer doing a construction job with a degree, so it was not the way I pictured it working out,” he said.
“My minor or my other focus was not math, science or special education,” Bonillas said. “So if you really want to coach and teach, make sure you have those under your belt.”
Coaches in public schools often teach those subjects in addition to coaching. Without that education, coaching opportunities passed him by so Bonillas sought opportunities in fitness.
Opportunity opened at Bally Total Fitness as a fitness manager. On May 1, 2012, Blast Fitness, a company based in Boston, bought out the company and Bonillas had to re-interview for his position.
When a regional spot opened in San Antonio, he applied and got the position. Two months ago, he noticed a regional position opened in Dallas. He figured because of his success in San Antonio, he could micromanage Dallas from San Antonio.
Bonillas is the regional fitness manager of eight clubs in San Antonio and Dallas with eyes on Houston. “They gave it to me; they took a chance on me. I’m only in my third month in, and I hit quota. I’ve done what the company has asked of me so we’re doing good and moving forward,” Bonillas said. “I thought I would be with a clipboard and a whistle talking about game plans. What I do now is still coaching. I train people and coach employees. It’s still the same thing.”
Bonillas said the kinesiology department helped prepare him for opportunities in personal fitness training. Teachers Dawn Brooks, Brad Dudney and Carol Johnson, who is retired, influenced him to choose kinesiology and see it all the way through to a degree. “At that time, when you don’t know what you’re going to do in life, it’s good to have people say, ‘Look I think you can do this, you have the potential to do these types of things.’ Just having them support me was the biggest thing to give me that push,” Bonillas said.
On Feb. 11, Brooks said Bonillas brought good information for students. “I was impressed with him being a former student who has been where you guys are. You listen more to somebody who has already been there. It’s like, wow, you’ve walked the same path that I did and you know what it feels like. So I was excited to have him.”
The Kinesiology Club meets at 2 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays in Room 126 of Candler.