Brett Klika—One of a Kind!
By Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS
It was early in the year 2000 when a young man walked into my newly opened personal training studio looking for a job as a trainer. He looked like he was 14 years old and hadn’t even started shaving yet. But I could tell something was different about this guy.
Brett Klika was my 2nd trainer hire at Fitness Quest 10. He was just 23 years young, had recently graduated from Oregon State University, and had also just completed an internship at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA.
He was enthusiastic, hungry to learn, willing to work, had a great attitude, and wanted to learn everything about Fitness Quest 10. In his interview, he said “would run through a wall to have the opportunity to train clients” and that “I will not be outworked.”
That was music to my ears. He was hired!
14 years later and still going strong, Brett was just honored with perhaps the highest accolade in the personal training field, the 2013 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year Award. IDEA is our fitness field’s largest continuing education provider and has been in existence for over 30 years. It was founded by Peter and Kathie Davis and is now run by a world-class team of business and fitness pros driving the mission to “Inspire the world to fitness.”
And this Friday, August 9th, 2013, Brett will be honored in front of many of his peers, friends, and FQ10 teammates and family at an exclusive event held at the IDEA World Conference in Los Angeles.
Besides having the opportunity to emcee this event, I would like to take this time to reflect on 14 years of working in the trenches together and growing together to share some of our highlights. Because “10” is a special number, I will only share 10 (and there have been a lot more!).
10 of my Favorite Memories with Brett Klika
1. The Bungee Cord incident.
Early in our careers, Brett and I were like 2 lab rats. We would spend so much time “experimenting” exercises on each other and trying to figure things out. One Saturday afternoon after getting done with a morning shift, we headed down to Hoyt Park to try out this new “bungee thing” for speed training. After we raced each other in the 40 (as we wanted to see if we could still break in the 4.0’s; and I won’t tell you who won our race), we got out this 25 foot long, thick, rubber, elastic tubing, put on these special belts and tethered the bungee between the two of us. It was designed to help athletes run faster.
Well, the idea of “over-speed training” was new to us in year 2000 and we tried several drills that day. The one that didn’t work out so well is when Brett took off running as fast as he could, stretched this bungee out about 15 yards… and then “somehow” my bungee came off my belt. Let me just say that Brett bout got shot in the back. And while it wasn’t funny at the time, we still laugh and joke about it to this day (Man, what was I thinking when I undid my karabiner on my belt to offer “contrast” training?!!!).
Just another day of experimenting with Coach Brett! So glad we are light-years ahead in our speed-training development now… and I’m not quite as stupid. Thanks Brett for sacrificing your body!!!
2. “A javelin through the reproductive system.”
Once again, early in our careers we did something stupid. I was trying to break into the corporate speaking world in early 2001. So a “meeting planning” company approached us about doing an event in Palms Springs, CA, and asked if I could do a keynote talk and couple it with a fitness class and …. a Pilates class! Well, the keynote and fitness class I got covered. The Pilates class, I had no clue how to teach Pilates.
So what did I say when they asked if I could do this… “Of course we can do all 3 of those things.”
Because of a limited budget by the company and us and still a small staff at Fitness Quest 10, I took only one other teammate with me to the event. Brett. And Brett doesn’t teach Pilates either. And while he was a dynamo teaching groups and making people laugh, he could hardly even say the word PIL-A-TEEZ.
Needless to say, Brett & I decided to co-teach the Pilates class. We decided Brett would go first and warm them up with 10-15 minutes of “Pilates.” When he was up there in front of the class teaching to about 40 business professionals between the ages of 30-50, I just started laughing. Here Brett, not looking a day past 18, up teaching a class he could hardly even pronounce. But he did some funky core exercises, made all the attendees laugh and smile and somehow pulled off the Pilates warm-up.
Then it was my turn. And because my wife is a Pilates instructor (she couldn’t attend because she was due with our first-born), she showed me a few exercises. A few in particular were interesting because it involved “towel-work,” which I thought would be great.
Well, to be honest, in year 2001, I didn’t know much more about Pilates then Brett. So when I’m teaching this “towel work” in the Pilates class and I cue the attendees to “take the towel above your head with both hands, stand tall, elongate your spine, and imagine a javelin going through your reproductive system”…. and I just paused.
And held my breath. And thought, “Did I really just say what I just said?”
5 seconds later with befuddled looks from around the room, everyone just started cracking up. And so did I. And so did Brett.
And before you know it, our Pilates class turned into let’s call it a “Core Crusher” class with a big, long meditation at the end…finished with a smile and a sigh of relief.
Ah, what you will do in the beginning to even just get a gig! Thank you Concepts WorldWide for being our first “corporate” client.
Well, it comes to find out that the conference in Palm Springs was a success after all. And the owner of Concepts WorldWide, Terri Breining, also played a prominent role in the meeting planning industry. And the annual “Meeting Planners” conference that year was in Hawaii. So she hired my company (that’s how Todd Durkin Enterprises was founded) to bring a “team” of folks to Hawaii to deliver a true health & fitness experience.
This was to include breakout session talks, fitness workouts every AM, yoga/Pilates fusion every AM (thank God Melanie came on this trip with us!) and “healthy talks” during breaks.
A team of 8 of us went over to Honolulu and created a great experience for the 3,000 or so meeting planners in attendance. Hence, a new “division” of our business was borne during those 4 days over there.
And one of the highlights of that trip was seeing Brett at every event, every social, every party “networking” with everyone. He was like a little kid in a candy shop going off very little sleep and the adrenaline of a conference full of people that needed our help!
4. Massage therapy in Philly.
OK, this is going to be my last story as it relates to the “corporate conference” world but it’s a good one.
So the Hawaii experience led to many different gigs. And one of them was a software company that was having their annual conference in Philadelphia. So we brought our team of 8 again to do 3 days full of health, fitness, and nutrition activities. And one of those things we included in the proposal was that we would do massage at our booth during registration.
Well, out of the literal 12,000 people at the conference, there was no joke about 8,000 of them in line for our 3 massage therapists (myself, brother-in-law-Roger Faulkenbury, and Marilou Israel). So Brett steps up behind a massage chair and starts soliciting all of the ladies out of line that would like a massage from him.
Before you know it, now trainer Brett had a line of about 500 people deep and he was informing them about the benefits of massage… and especially when they received it from a skilled therapist like himself.
I was once again was laughing my brains out as we proceeded to massage, stretch, and put smiles on the faces of literally thousands of people. And Brett just did his thing!
5. Contests to see who could train the most people in a day.
Out of all the great experiences we had on the road, nothing beats a day with Brett Klika in the trenches, the old-school way. For many, many years, we used to “compete” to see who could do the most 60-minutes sessions in a day. We would battle back and forth with the lead. For a long time, I had him beat at 13, 60-minute, personal training sessions in one day. But then one day I was traveling, he claims he got 14 sessions in. And while I’m not sure I believe him or not, the thought of the fun that we had talking trash and competing was legendary.
And boy-o-boy, if one of us was on track to break the record that day and we got a cancellation, we would literally be crushed. Upset. Ticked-off. Calling clients to convince them to come in. Practically going to their home or office to get them. We pulled out every stop to get our clients to NOT cancel. Part of it was Brett & I just loved to compete so much. Part of it was just our love for training. And that still exists!
6. 2004 IDEA Trainer of the Year.
I remember the day like yesterday when I was awarded Trainer of the Year. Like any special day, you always remember EVERYONE that was with you on a momentous occasion. And I remember Brett was one of those people at this event, which still serves as one of my highlights in my fitness career.
I remember thinking even then, that if anyone in our organization had a chance at receiving this Award again in the future that Brett Klika would be first up. Nine years later, Fitness Quest 10 will now have another Trainer of the Year in our organization. And an extremely deserving one if I may so!
7. Under Armour.
I have been working with Under Armour closely since 2006. And I have had a lot of great experiences with them. Fortunately, I have been able to include the Fitness Quest 10 team in many of these experiences as well. These have included Under Armour store openings, combines, clinics, media events, and even Super Bowls.
And perhaps one of my best memories of Brett is at the Super Bowl Experience down in Tampa, FL for Super Bowl XLIII. The week leading up to the game, the NFL has a huge “NFL Experience” with a ton of interactive games and festivities for the fans.
So we had a huge footprint for Under Armour inside the NFL Experience where we were conducting “training” experiences for the tens of thousands of fans coming through the event. This including 40 yard dash time, vertical jump, pull-up test, an obstacle course, and a bench press test of 135 lbs max reps.
Let me tell you what. 16 hours of spotting on a bench press for 5 days straight is not exactly fun. And of course every guy going through the NFL Experience, and particularly our expo, wants to bench press.
Can you just say 5,000 upright rows with 135 lbs in a 5 day span? OMG, Brett and I were never so sore after ANY workout.
And then we just laughed and smiled as we got to enjoy the Pittsburgh Steelers (led by my William & Mary alum and fellow Tribe teammate Mike Tomlin) beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
It was another GREAT experience—and it still makes us smile!!!
8. Halloween costumes.
I’m not sure what it is, but Halloween seems to bring out Brett’s inner-child even more. For the past 14 years at Fitness Quest 10, we ALWAYS have a Halloween costume contest. And for many of those years, Brett has won the contest. And if he didn’t win, he created a lot of laughs.
Some of him best were Richard Simmons, the “old-school PE teacher”, the “hill-billy,” and the WWE wrestler.
9. Brett telling me that he and Lisa were pregnant.
It’s funny but Brett has been devoted and committed to Fitness Quest 10, this profession, his clients and me for many years now. But when he told me in January that his wife Lisa was pregnant and they were expecting their first child in September, I’m not sure I was EVER more proud and happy for Brett.
And as he and Lisa prepare for their baby next month, I told him there is not a greater gift he will ever receive than that of a child. And this made us both smile.
10. The 2013 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year.
This award means a lot. As mentioned, I won it in 2004. It changed my life. Literally. And for Brett, it’s the culmination of many, many years of hard work, dedication, commitment, persistence, sacrifice, studying, researching, experimenting, and going above and beyond “and then some.”
Brett is receiving this award because he deserves it. He still is a great trainer. But 14 years later he hold many other titles as well. Presenter. Leader. Author. Entrepreneur. Motivator. Husband. And soon to be father. And now Trainer of the Year.
This IDEA World Conference is going to be special. And while there is NEVER a time I take for granted the opportunity to speak or present in front of our colleagues, this one is going to mean something a bit more profound this week.
Anytime a mentor can see his pupil succeed and be recognized, deep down he is super proud. And Brett Klika, you my friend have made me extremely proud.
- Thank you for making me smile for so many years.
- Thank you for the tens of thousands of hours we shared together trying to “master our craft.” There’s still NOTHING like sharing the floor when we are creating magic with our clients.
- Thank you for inspiring so many of our clients at Fitness Quest 10 for 14 years. You have positively touched and influenced thousands of kids, adults, and groups alike.
- Thank you for your commitment, passion, and loyalty to our brand and all that it represents. You have helped us be a brand-leader.
- Thank you for playing “World-class”, teaching “world-class” and being “world-class in all you do.
To me, this award represents 2 things. First, the culmination of many years of hardwork, enthusiasm, excellence, and service to the industry.
And lastly, it represents beginnings. Brett Klika is someone who will continue to create huge IMPACT and help inspire millions to greatness.
And just like when we were starting in year 2000, it will happen one person at a time. One conference at a time. One event at time. And one SMILE at a time. That’s because “BK” truly is ONE-OF-A-KIND.
Much love… and much IMPACT!
Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, is an internationally recognized performance coach, personal trainer, massage therapist, author and speaker who motivates, educates and inspires people worldwide. He is the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, where his wonderful team of 38 focuses on personal training, massage therapy, Pilates, yoga, sports performance training and nutrition to help transform the bodies, minds and spirits of a broad clientele. He is the lead Training Advisor for Under Armour and a two-time Trainer of the Year (IDEA & ACE). Additionally, Todd provides motivational talks and programs to companies and conferences worldwide.
Todd is the author of The IMPACT! Body Plan, a 10week program designed to create world-class fitness and life performance. You can sign up for his FREE award-winning newsletter, the TD TIMES, at www.FitnessQuest10.com or www.ToddDurkin.com.
You can also follow him on Twitter @ToddDurkin and on his Facebook FAN page at: www.facebook.com/ToddDurkinFQ10. And you can work out with him and many of the trainers he mentors virtually at www.Fitblok.com.