Sean Toy is currently the President of Levo Labs Inc. He and his co-founder decided to create with a virtual training platform to do virtual personal training and virtual programming. Right now, Levo Labs, Inc. has 150 founding members that are all doing personal training. Within the next six months Levo will be opening their first fitness facility. He currently has clients from North America, Canada, and Australia.
After completing college, Sean decided his planned career in commercial real estate was not a good match for him. He started working in a gym, a place he just felt very comfortable since his dad was a power lifter. He worked as a certified personal trainer for several years and also holds certifications in sports nutrition and corrective exercise. Sean was nationally ranked in the top 10 out of 4,500 trainers for the last two years and most recently this March he was ranked at #3, but the gym he was working for was shut down due to the coronavirus and gave him the push he and his co-founder needed to Create Levo Labs, Inc.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
What I love the most is that you spend so much time with the people that you are training that they end up feeling like family. I’ve been to baby showers. One client has his son call me Uncle Sean.
What keeps you motivated?
Whether it is business or working out, I always want to be a better version of myself. I like to challenge myself and see how much better I can be today than yesterday. Part of the reason I enjoy strength training is not so much for a certain physique as it to one rep or one pound better than the day before. The same applies to my business. If I can have the business grow 1% month to month, or we can help one more client, those are the metrics that keep me motivated and keep me going.
How do you motivate others?
It depends on the person. Everybody comes in and they do their consultation. I always try to humanize myself and I say, I eat cookies too. But people always present themselves as eating perfectly, but they just don’t exercise. They are not really honest about what they are doing nutritionally or how much they really exercise. It’s just because I’m a stranger and they don’t want to feel judged. In the first session, you start to get to know the person and then you set a schedule for them and begin to understand their injuries, limitations, and their goals. Then we figure out what we can use to motivate them, whether they have siblings and they want to make sure they are stronger than each other, or if you can motivate them because of their health concerns. Other people can be motivated because the exercise may reduce their pain.
As a trainer, the most important thing to me is to not give up on people and always be accessible. I am there to answer questions and get back to them quickly. When someone reaches out to me, it was important to them at that time, and I want to value it and see it that way. Giving them that validation encourages them and helps them to achieve their goals.
Who has been a role model to you and why?
My grandfather on my mother’s side was a retired air force colonel. He passed away a couple of years ago. He was somebody that was very loyal, such an honest person, and he had a lot of friends. He was always someone you could rely on. He was the glue that held things together in our family. Everyone would look to him for advice. He was one of my biggest role models.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
That is super hard for me, especially right now. It is one of the biggest struggles that I have. One helpful thing I do is after a certain time, I just put my phone down and put it on bedtime mode, so I don’t have the ability to answer it and get right back to people during that time. Then I am free to spend time with my fiancé and my dog.
My fiancé comes from a really big Italian and spending time with her family is super important. That is how we spend a lot of our low-key weekends. Before COVID, we would also do a good amount of traveling. When I go away, I fully remove myself from work for that period of time and that allows me to be more productive when I come back.
What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?
A lot of people in the industry are concerned with the what certifications they have and if they have an exercise science background or not. The absolute most important thing is truly learning how to program and periodize the training program, meaning increasing incrementally sets, reps, and weights. There are a variety of different ways to periodize. The way that truly gets done is through shadowing. Find a mentor that you can learn from and be sure to get that hand-on experience. Training certification is going to check the box for you in terms of liability, but it is not going to teach you actually how to train people.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
Going from a part-time personal trainer to being promoted and then nationally ranked by one of the largest personal training businesses in the world was a big professional accomplishment for me.
In terms of my personal life, it was getting engaged to my fiancé last year on Diamond Beach in Iceland. Orchestrating that whole event and her saying yes was huge for me.
Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?
I would like to see us as a household name in virtual personal training. A lot of people have gotten laid off because of COVID. There is a lot of amazing talent out there, and a lot of people are looking for some infrastructure, to have someone help them with billing, getting leads, and clients. I would like Levo to be able to find homes for the trainers that have been displaced as a result of COVID. I would like to have those trainers under our umbrella and be able to offer them benefits like health insurance so they can help us grow and become a household name in virtual personal training in five years. We look forward to hiring people in different time zones and in different locations and expanding in that way. It is not mandatory, but we would like to connect a trainer to clients who are in the same location.