Taking the leap of faith and hiring a personal trainer is a significant step in anyone's life, but if you think that an hour's sweat three times a week is the answer to all your health and fitness prayers, then you might want to do some advice by Chiheb Soumer, a former MMA star who is righting many of the wellness industry's mistakes.
This martial artist developed the Fairfax Training Club in Los Angeles as an antidote to the humble gym after realizing that many facilities, personal trainers, and their clients make mistakes that threaten to reveal their potential. M&F spoke to the fighter-turned-fitness guru to find out more.
Chiheb Soumer has been a judo student since he was 5 years old and has been physically active for as long as he can remember. By the time he turned 8, the young upstart was competing all over his native Germany. At the age of 12 he joined the German judo team. During this time, Soumer's love of fitness magazines sparked an interest in improving his body.
"Growing up in the '90s and 2000s, I was surrounded by fad diets and crazy workout trends," he recalls. “Back then it was a lot harder to sort out the nonsense without having the internet. Through resources like Muscle & Fitness and others, I started to educate myself about the importance of nutrition and a good strength routine.”
As the promising judo star began to see great results from the fitness routines he followed, the martial artist realized he could coach others to make positive changes, too. So, at the age of 17, he began a career as a personal trainer. "PTs can make a lot of mistakes, and it usually starts with etiquette, pricing, program structure, and a lack of training," says Soumer.
While developing into an accomplished personal trainer, Chiheb Soumer continued to expand his martial arts career as a professional Muay Thai fighter. He compiled an impressive 12-1-1 record before moving to the United States. At the age of 25 he found a job at Alliance MMA in Chula Vista, San Diego. "Alliance had some of the biggest names in the business, like former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, and I looked up to all of them," says Soumer. "They accepted me into the team and I started training there regularly."
Although eventually forced to make the difficult decision to retire due to a series of nagging injuries, Chiheb Soumer understood he could apply some of the lessons he learned from these MMA legends to further his bid as a personal trainer to enhance