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“I Was Never Proactive in My Attempts to Grow my At-Home Client Base, But When You Achieve the Results You Do Using EMS, Clients Talk and Share Their Stories”


Having initially switched careers to pursue an interest in the hospitality sector, Capetonian Ryan Johnson was drawn back to the health and fitness industry when the rise in popularity of electro-muscle stimulation (EMS) training caught his attention.

“My initial stint as a personal trainer ended abruptly, without me having completed my studies. However, I began to see a number of gyms around Cape Town offering EMS training, in addition to a number of boutique EMS studios opening up, and I felt it was an ideal opportunity to rekindle my career in the industry,” he recalls.

Ryan landed a job working at Cape Fit Impulse Training studio in 2013, and did his EMS certification through miha bodytec. “I was there for two years, working exclusively with miha bodytec's EMS technology, and the results were amazing!”


Due to the effectiveness of this form of training, Ryan realised there was an opportunity to take EMS to a wider audience through at-home sessions. “Not everyone wanted to train in a gym, so I decided to invest in a miha bodytec portable system.” As the bank didn't view his application as a business loan, so Ryan needed to take a personal loan to finance the purchase of the EMS machine. I started at-home training part time while still based at the studio. However, purely through referrals, both from my new client base and those of my gym-based clients, my at-home personal training hours soon overtook my time in the studio.”

Without any formal advertising or marketing, Ryan was eventually able to leave the studio and blaze his own trail as an independent mobile personal trainer. “I never set out to make the transition – it kinda just happened,” explains Ryan. “I was never proactive in my attempts to grow my at-home client base, but when you achieve the results you do using EMS, clients talk and share their stories. It's like the ultimate form of viral marketing. Once you've established yourself, EMS training basically sells itself”. Ryan says that within the first two months of going solo he was easily covering his loan repayments, and his foray into the world of mobile personal training soon took off. This enabled Ryan to pay off the three- year personal loan he took for the miha bodytec EMS system, within 24 months. “The fact that I can do two EMS training session in the time it normally takes to complete one conventional personal training session meant I significantly boosted my earning potential.” As a mobile trainer, Ryan says he averages about one session an hour, but that includes travel time. “Normal sessions require over an hour to fit in the training and travel,” he elaborates.

Ryan now offers a combination of offerings, including back-to-back training sessions for three people, which takes approximately 90 minutes, in addition to couples training and one- sessions. “I have structured my rates on a sliding scale so that those who book back-to-back sessions pay slightly less on-one than individual sessions, making it an attractive option for clients, and it helps me to maximise my time efficiency.”

Ryan has also refined his approach to EMS training, incorporating resistance with bands and squeeze balls. “This forces client’s to squeeze or tighten their muscles, in addition to the EMS-induced involuntary contraction, which I find makes it more effective.”

Ryan has since branded his mobile personal training business as, as he has developed a training protocol that delivers an effective workout in just 15 minutes. Using miha bodytec’s EMS technology he is able to train all major muscle groups simultaneously, achieving a time under tension effect during these sessions that is comparable to several hours of extensive strength training in the gym.

He says that the promise, and delivery, of results in just 15-20 minutes just can't be beaten as a value proposition in the personal training business. “But don't be fooled. Even though the sessions are shorter, I still work a full day. As a mobile trainer I'm on the go from 06:00 and usually end my last session at 20:00. I average about 32 sessions a week, which is more than enough for a successful personal training business, based on the rates I charge and my low overheads now that I've paid off the EMS system.”

Ryan adds that he doesn't need client contracts. “I work on a pay-as-you-go model with my clients. I just request that they do four sessions upfront to give EMS training a chance to deliver the benefit. Most people are hooked from the first one, which means contracts are unnecessary – they keep calling me for more sessions,” he concludes.