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If you’re considering a gig in the fitness sector or you’re seriously interested in transitioning from your current job to a completely different field, take note. Nicole Chaplin went from promoting triple threats in the marketing department at Roc-a-Fella Records to working towards becoming one herself in the fitness world. Currently counting Wyclef Jean among her personal training clients, Chaplin is a fitness model and the author of Yes MAM: Your Muscle as a Motivator. We asked her how—and why—she made the move from a steady check to initially scrimping towards her goal (in this economy!).

MadameNoire: What made you change course from marketing recording artists to personal training them?

Nicole Chaplin: I’ve always been in the entertainment industry, but the lifestyle, for me didn’t correlate with my health only because of the late nights. You have to do a lot of late nights. A lot of networking late at night. A lot of studio time late at night. And that’s just the nature of the business, so I had to pick and choose what was more important for me and my health.

MN: Did you have a background in fitness?

NC: I used to run track and field when I was younger. I was a cheerleader. I was a dancer at the University of Miami… I’ve always worked out, but I was just doing it for fun.

To make it a profession, I became certified as a personal trainer and then became certified in kettlebells and TRX [Total Body Resistance Exercise] and boxing and kickboxing.

MN: Once you were certified, how’d you go about getting clients?

NC: People would [come up to me in the gym and] ask me, ‘Are you a trainer?’ I’m like, ‘Actually, I am a trainer now.’ So, it just kinda snowballed… At my pique, I had a roster of I think it was 40 people. I was working, I don’t know, 15-hour days.

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