Body Work Series: Meet Cody Duge, Personal Trainer
Working out has been a HUGE part of my life for over 8 years. When I graduated from college, I was overweight and needed a change. Fast forward to now, and I can’t even fathom not having a normal gym routine. Throughout the years, I’ve met a lot of personal trainers, but none were quite like my good friend Cody. He saw his passion, and decided to put every ounce of that into his career of being a General Manager and head coach of Monroe County CrossFit and a personal trainer at Flexx Mobility. Keep reading to learn more about Cody’s path to being a Personal Trainer!
My Name is Cody Duge. I have been working in the fitness industry for about 5
years now. I am currently a personal trainer working with Flexx Mobility and
Performance, and also the Manager of Monroe County CrossFit (MCCF).
How did you decide to get into this field?
My decision to become a CrossFit Coach and personal trainer stemmed from
my desire to help people. I’ve always wanted to be able to help others reach
their goals and have always been good at motivating others. After asking many of
the people that were closest to me, they all agreed this would be a great path for
me. It not only fit my desire to better myself, but helped me channel my energy
What was the schooling like? How long was the program/what was the financial investment for this program/what program/school did you go to?
I attended The University of Brockport for Exercise Physiology (Phys). Before
that there were a few years where I was bouncing around on what I was
interested in pursuing such as Criminal Justice, Psychology, Abnormal
Psychology and Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy is what brought me into the
fitness industry and what ultimately led me to Exercise Phys. I was not interested
in treating the already injured athlete; I wanted to focus on improving athletes and
preventing injuries before they happened. The Exercise Phys program was a 4
year program, involving the essential liberal arts credits and lots of anatomy and
Physiology. There was some chemistry and physics involved along with
biomechanics (Super fun for me), also some electives in there for strength and
conditioning and programming along with class management. This all finally
culminated to me earning a Bachelor's degree In Exercise Phys. The total
financial investment all in all was roughly around $40,000 for the final route I
decided to take in my schooling.
Would it be better in this field to join a practice or create your own?
In the fitness industry my personal opinion is that you should join a gym/
business that you think you would enjoy as a member/client and makes you feel
welcome. I would intern there first and get to know the coaches and clients and
how the operation works. Then figure out what part of the business you feel you
could be the best fit for or where you know you would not fit. Once you have
decided on that, approach the owners or managers about a possible position that
you would fit and if there is not one available you now have some time spent in
the industry to have built some relationships and hopefully some coaching
experience. So now you have the ability to showcase the skill and talents learned
while searching for a job.
Would I need to get acceptance from an insurance company to be able to reach more clients?
If your gym or you as a personal trainer had the ability to be affiliated with an
insurance company that would be a wonderful way to help you reach more
people in need. There is a lot of people who do not have the means to get the
help they need to improve their quality of life.
What is a normal day for you?
A normal day for me involves waking up at 5am to personal train clients at 6am.
After my 6am session, I then go to do training for myself for roughly 2-3 hours.
After training I start programming for my other clients, group classes, and MCCF (Monroe County Crossfit).
This takes roughly between 2-3 hours depending on how many clients I have for
that week. After programming, I coach at MCCF from 2-7pm and after that I
have a group session at Flexx Mobility and Performance from 7:15 to 8:15pm.
What is the expected amount of pay for someone in your field?
Expected pay for a personal trainer for 1 on 1 clients is roughly $60 an hour
depending on reputation and client base. If you are writing personal programming
and nutrition for someone the rate goes up from there based on additional
services you provide. For CrossFit the starting pay rate is $15 per CrossFit class
as you complete more certifications and take on more responsibility the pay rate
generally reflects that.
What are the negative aspects of this career?
Being in this career does have drawbacks; you are never really clocked out in this
profession. People are always contacting you with questions and you are always
working to grow your business and client base. This leaves little time for the
satisfaction of being able to leave work and have to not think about it until
Monday morning. In today's social media driven society, if you are not on there
promoting your business, you will get lost in the shuffle. This forces you to use
social media for business so if you are not big into social media you are going to
have to learn how to have a presence there. There is also generally no
retirement plan for personal trainers or Crossfit coaches. You have to be in
control of your future and create a goal/ plan for the long term.
What are the positive aspects of this career?
This career is the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I have ever done. I am able
to help people achieve something they never thought possible or would have
never done on their own. You form relationships with your clients that are more
meaningful than any surface interaction you would ever have. I try to be someone
who my clients can turn to with any issues they have in their life no matter what it
Did you ever have an “AHA” moment that made you go into this career path?
I never had an AHA moment, more of a realization that I want to help as many
people through fitness as possible. This is something I understand and have a
good grasp on. I also enjoy continuously learning about new studies and things to
help me improve myself and love that I am able to share that with others.
Where do you see your career in 5 years? 10 years?
I see myself in 5 years hopefully being a partner in a CrossFit gym or fitness facility
where I do none of the behind the scenes book work and do all the
client/athlete connections. In 10 years I hope to be in a position to be managing
coaches in my gym and building a program around my vision.
I would tell myself to pursue every opportunity that comes your way. Also to not
spend as much time messing around with all the other majors I thought I wanted
and spend my time really focusing on where I could be.
Do you have any hobbies that also coincide with your career?
I would say that almost all of my hobbies involve some sort of exercise. I enjoy
everything that has to do with the outdoors but CrossFit is my main mode of
Tell us about working with the Rochester community - what is it like?
The Rochester community has always been very welcoming to any fitness
professionals in my experience. There is a large range of clientele available from
stay at home moms to CEOs of large corporations that reside in Rochester. The
difficulty is being able to break into those demographics as an individual. As a
CrossFit gym, it really matters the location in which you decide to set up, this will
inevitably be the clients you serve. I love Rochester and Rochestarians
have some of the best attitudes out of any city I’ve traveled to.
Have you ever had any moments in your career where you said “what the hell am I doing?!”
There have been a few moments in my career where I have been worried about
taking that leap to the next step. Every time I have taken the leap I have made it
out okay. It may be hard to start, but if your goal and vision is big enough and
means enough to you then it's a sacrifice you have to take in my opinion. This
career is also never a rock solid option so there is always something you have to
drive for, but this helps keep me motivated but also nervous.
What type of advancements could you make in this field?
Advancements in this field to me are self-advancements like getting a certification
for something that will benefit your clients and in turn your business. As for field
advancements you could be hired to work for a school, college, corporation
which would give you a more solid salary and a schedule that is more stable.
Why did you chose to keep your business in Rochester?
Rochester is where I grew up and the community I wanted to work with. Rochester is
relatively small; you tend to see your clients out and about and it feels good to know
you’re helping people close to you. That being said I would not be opposed to moving for
a job in this field. There are opportunities out there everywhere; you just need to keep your
eyes out for something that aligns with your vision and values.
What is it like to work in this field in Rochester?
Rochester is very economically diverse so this field can be hard sometimes due to
economic strains for certain clients. It is important to me to work to help others so I
always try to work and find a way to budget things for any clients. Rochester is also
home to some that have no problem with being able to afford quality personal training
and those people need you just as much as any other client.
When it comes to your business/field, what do you love most about doing it in Rochester?
I think I love personal training in Rochester because we do have everything here. We
have a small town feel with a big city heart. We all take pride in this city and what it
means to us, which is a great feeling.