Rob Di Francesco, Outdoor Trainer
ATTENTION! Personal Trainer Network caught up with ex-military man Rob Di Francesco at 1400hrs to find out what makes this outdoor trainer extraordinaire tick…
Where do you live and work?
I am living the dream on the Northern Beaches in Sydney and conduct both indoor and outdoor training around Balmoral Beach.
What fitness qualifications do you hold?
I started studying for fitness qualifications in 1997 when I enrolled at ACU (Australian Catholic University) to complete a Bachelor of Sports Science. I was attracted by the word ‘sport’ but failed to understand the word ‘science’... After a year I deferred, but still having a thirst for the fitness industry I completed my Gym Instructor certifications through Australian Fitness Network. I have since completed Certificates III and IV in Fitness, ASCA Strength and Conditioning, Punchfit, I.C.E cycle, Workplace Training and Assessing, and public speaking and presenting courses. I’m also looking forward to finishing that Sports Science degree I started oh so many years ago, now that I have a thirst for science!
What is your main role in the fitness industry?
I see my main role as an educator and motivator for those who need help with anything health and fitness related.
How did you get into this industry and how did you arrive at where you are today in your career?
I was a keen sportsman back in the day, and had the opportunity to compete both nationally and internationally in my chosen sport. From an early age I realised that a full time desk job wasn’t for me. I gravitated towards the fitness industry due to the lifestyle it offered and the satisfaction I saw could be achieved by helping others. I worked in a wide variety of roles and businesses within the fitness industry while running a personal training and outdoor training business and being a course presenter at the Australian Institute of Fitness, NSW. After a while I heard the Special Forces Direct Recruitment Scheme calling my name, and ended up playing soldier for a while. When I returned home I was naturally drawn back to the thing I love most, fitness.
Describe your typical day
I’m up at 0520hrs and am wearing my Militaryfitness.com.au and boot camp hat by 0600hrs. After training my early morning clients, I enjoy breakfast at a local café with friends or family, before starting training my mid-morning group sessions at 0930hrs. I then spend some time in the office until 1500hrs, at which point I do my own training followed by one-on-one sessions until 1830hrs. Then I put on my Runninggroups.com.au hat and spend the evening pounding the pavement. I’m home by 2000hrs and racked out by 2200hrs… Repeat.
What skills are needed in your role?
It’s important to be a great communicator if you’re performing any role in the fitness industry – and you also have to be good at relationship building. I think honesty, sincerity and a sense of humour have got me to where I am now.
What are the best and worst aspects of your role?
The best aspect by far is being able to watch clients evolve into happier, healthier, faster and stronger forms of their previous selves. It’s very rewarding sharing that journey with people. You meet some awesome people and form some great friendships along the way. The worst aspect is definitely what they call a ‘First World Problem’ – trying to fit in my own training in between training clients all day!
What has been your greatest career challenge to date?
I would have to say my greatest career challenge to date has been injury-related. Playing secret squirrel soldier took its toll on my body, and I’ve ended up with a few quality injuries. As I’ve got older I’ve found it harder to get in and dust up some of my groups as many times per week as I used to.
‘I like to think about the best things I see in the people around me and aspire to adopt those qualities’
And your greatest highlight?
I have a heap of highlights, which is a great place to be. I’ve seen great things happen through the charity projects I work on, and that always brings a smile to my face. I’ve also had clients achieve amazing results after months and years of hard work, and I always get a huge buzz from presenting at the FILEX fitness convention.
Who has inspired you in your fitness industry career?
Is this the bit where I thank God?! I couldn’t single out an individual but rather say that many of the trainers I have come into contact with throughout the years have inspired me in different ways. I like to think about the best things I see in the people around me and aspire to adopt those qualities.
What’s your main focus now, and what are your goals for the future?
I am currently working with an international team at the Large Hadron Collider trying to formulate the best way for people to lose weight. At this stage we keep getting the same two differing results which do not correlate… We can’t work out whether the AB SWING PRO or the Lemon Detox Diet will come out on top…!
Actually I’m working on something big that I believe will dominate the premium end of the fitness market and appeal to those who like to take their training to the limits. Nothing has ever been done like this, which is exciting. It might even make a great TV show, so watch this space…
And finally – who would be on your ultimate dinner party guest list, and why?
Being the great stirrer that I am, I’d love to sit Paul Chek and Charles Poloquin opposite each other and watch them talk self-diagnosis... I’d also allocate a section of the table to body building and figure competitors and strike boiled chicken and broccoli off the menu! And I’d also invite a heap of my Crossfit mates along and serve them up anything but Paleo…!