The team just got back from working in Los Angeles at a series of fantastic locations including a gritty cross fit gym, a secluded mansion as well as a gorgeous beach. Check out some of the behind the scenes photos of us and our team at the James Patrick Photography Facebook Page.

During this time I had the opportunity to work with the energetic Carey Lea for the second time in my career and wanted to share with you all an interview we had the opportunity to do about her work as a trainer, her rebranding efforts and how she uses modeling to grow her brand.

James Patrick: When did you first step into the health and fitness arena?
Carey Lea: About 12 years ago I was the Director for a children’s fitness center. Many of these kids were obese and it was during this time I knew that I would pursue a career in health and wellness. I saw how unhealthy the families were as a whole, so I began my version of Extreme House Makeover. I have always been drawn to health and fitness as far back as I can remember. It brings me joy to be able to hold individuals accountable to their quality of life.

JP: Your degree is in Visual and Performing Arts. What did that entail?
CL: I have a Bachelor’s in Performing Arts from Oklahoma City University. It was by far the most rewarding experience. I spent four years dancing, singing and acting. I got to tour out of the country and was taught a kind of discipline that is hard to come by. You could not miss class. If you were sick, you attended the class and wrote out everything that was being done. It isn’t easy writing out a ballet class in French! In addition to the performing side, I kept up with my love of fitness studying anatomy and kinesiology.

JP: You have more than 10 years of experience as a personal trainer. What are some of the biggest things you’ve learned in your career thus far?
CL: Patience. Saying  “No.” That not everyone is going to agree with my method and not everyone is going to like me. That I cannot want “it” more than the client. Listening to individual needs and being sensitive to their speed. It is very easy to get burnt out as a trainer. I have learned that you have to keep growing and learning. I have learned to draw boundaries where the client/trainer relationship is concerned. Also finding my niche has been gratifying. Once I figured out exactly where I wanted to put my energy and focus, I learned how to stop putting time and energy into things that really weren’t my passion. Most importantly, I learned to do all of the things I encourage my clients to do. Take time for me.

JP: Being a trainer in a place such as Oklahoma City, what are some of the challenges you face as opposed to training in a place such as Los Angeles where we just were doing a photo shoot?
CL: Obesity in Oklahoma is almost the norm. We are top 5 for most unhealthy state. It is tough to reach out to the amount of people I would like to when their environment makes it easy to be unhealthy. There is something to be said about living somewhere where being outdoors, going to the beach, or wearing less clothes all year round holds you accountable to your health.

JP: You are currently in the midst of a rebranding effort with the company you own. Tell us a little about that.
CL: I want to be able to offer my clients more. My clients have to go somewhere else to take different classes, get their supplements, and try to figure out where they are going to go eat. I am going to be able to offer all of those things. A one- stop shop if you will. A Fitness Boutique.

JP: What are some of your strategic goals for the rebranding of your business?
CL: Reach individuals via my website and decrease the amount of physical hours I spend inside of my gym.

JP: What are the ways in which you are implementing actions to achieve your goals for your business?
CL: More trainers that teach my method of training. My food business, Carey Lea Fit Foods. The supplement line from BodHD. Offering a variety of classes and group training. My website and learning how to successfully use and interact with my social network.

JP: How are you measuring your success?
CL: By Not being comfortable. “things” mean nothing to me. People mean everything to me. I truly love waking up in the morning, drinking my coffee and knowing that I GET  to go to work. That makes me feel successful.

JP: What do you feel separates yourself and what you provide from others in your field?
CL: My Motto is “You must create the change you wish to see.” To me it’s about quality of life. Mind, body and soul. I have a very personal relationship with anyone I begin training. If it is surface and just about a blood, sweat, and tears workout… to me that does not create lifelong results. Hence “surface.” I have so many layers to get through before we can get to the root of the problem. Old habits to break and most importantly I need to earn their trust. It’s huge and once I have it with my client we are able to reach goals they never thought in this lifetime they would achieve.

JP: How do you look at your modeling? Is it to supplement your brand as a trainer or is it something completely separate?
CL: It is definitely a great tool for branding Carey Lea as a health and fitness professional. I recently put up a new billboard for my Gym and Marketing purposes with me on it. It made me feel good when a potential client said “Wow, you look the same in person.”

JP: Let’s talk a bit about how you market yourself and what you do. What are some of the things you have done and what are some of the things you will be doing to grow your business as a trainer as well as a modeling talent?
CL: Branding myself and really being consistence is key for me. I, in the past, did a little bit of everything. I trained, I did a fitness competition, hosted fitness competitions, did some photoshoots. I was kind of all over the place.  Moving forward where my business and modeling go, I want to focus on everything tying together. Carey Lea Fitness, Carey Lea Fit Foods, and hopefully get my Website up and running successfully.

JP: Are there specific marketing tools which you’ve found to be beneficial in your efforts?
CL: Networking has always helped a great deal. This past year I attended FMI and left there with such a great sense of direction. Things I had been meaning to do or start I finally put into play. I have been really involved in my community as well. I serve on the board at Oklahoma City University for the Miss OCU pageant and Teen program. It has been a great connection for me. I also am very involved in the Oklahoma City Chamber. Being more consistent with my social media and getting my website done.

JP: I’d like to conclude the interview by chatting about passion. What is it that helps you get up every day to do what you do?
CL: It is helping others with the very thing that comes easy and natural to me, health and fitness. I truly am overwhelmed sometimes at the role I take on in my client’s lives. 5 am comes too early some days, but when I get to my gym and know that someone is relying on me to help them, there are no words that can explain how good it feels.

JP: Lastly, where do you see your modeling going from this point looking forward?
CL: I think it would be awesome to have a sponsor or represent a company. It has always been a dream of mine to be published in a fitness magazine. I would also like to put myself out there locally with our health magazines and fitness expos.

James Patrick