Michael Allison

Santa Barbara, California, United States

Personal Trainer, Gym Owner, Fitness Trainer

Physical Focus LLC

As an engineer, turned personal trainer, turned health club owner, I know first-hand what it takes to change careers and follow your passion.

Since 1999, I have owned and operated Physical Focus LLC located in the upscale Santa Barbara, California community of Montecito. I oversee 15 personal trainers, five Pilates instructors, two physical therapists, five massage therapists, one nutritionist and four group fitness instructors. My club is an all-inclusive, one-stop shop for health and fitness. Our annual sales are between $800,000 and $1,000,000.

I am also the head fitness consultant and technical support director for a national company, Moms In Motion, Inc. - an online social network providing fitness teams for women around the world; the training and group class coordinator at two large golf/tennis country clubs in Santa Barbara; and have written several fitness related books, created a variety of websites and fitness training mobile apps sold on iTunes and patented a fitness product.

Here’s a bit of what we can cover in our PivotPlanet session(s):
• How to succeed as a personal trainer, including sharing a complete training methodology, philosophy and approach.
• How to launch and operate a fitness studio, from the first steps all the way through to the ongoing operations.
• How to layout your gym and what equipment you’ll need for your new health club.
• How to determine what business model will work best in your community.
• How to build a team approach, and pick the right trainers and therapists to work on your team.

It is important to keep in mind starting a business is tough and requires a lot of focus and determination. When I made my career shift and opened my gym, I didn’t think about it much before doing it. I more or less just jumped right in. Knowing what I know now, I may not have jumped right in, which would have prevented me from being where I am now. Don’t let your fears stop you. Remember, a little bit of naivety might help you find something new.


I studied electrical engineering in college and worked for IBM in computer design for several semesters.
During that time, I began following the same lifestyle all the other guys at IBM followed. Basically, we sat in our chairs focused on a computer screen eight hours a day, fueling our bodies with caffeine, vending machine munchies and large unhealthy lunches. I worked out at the local gym daily, but I was certainly not healthy or happy. The older members of my IBM team kept telling me, "Get out now before it’s too late.” They all felt trapped because they had families and had developed a lifestyle that depended financially on their jobs at IBM.

It was this experience and their voices echoing in my ear that carried me away from engineering and into my passion for health and fitness. I relocated to Park City Utah, and met a physical therapist who worked with the US Ski Team. I trained under his guidance and became his assistant for three years in the physical therapy environment and in the development of aftercare programs for his patients.

That was the beginning of a very successful and satisfying new career. A career that allows me to help others improve their health, fitness and quality of life, while at the same time foster a balanced, healthy and amazing lifestyle for my family and myself.