By Jason Tran, SWERVE and The Fhitting Room
If you told me nine years ago when I moved to NYC that I would be counting down beats to 60 people in a dark room on a stationary bike, or demonstrating kettlebell swings to Park Avenue moms on the Upper East Side, I would have thought you were crazy! But that’s the power of being bold: allowing ourselves to take risks and pursue our passions, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
It all started six years ago while taking cycling classes with friends, and following one instructor around the city — my first fitfam! The combination of sweat dripping onto the bike, soul-house music, and the after-class high inspired me to leave my corporate job and start teaching. After a year or so of taking tons of classes and weighing the pros/cons, in September 2012 I became SCHWINN certified and started instructing at New York Health & Racquet Club, teaching 2 classes a week. A month later, I started at NYSC, where I was given many more classes and had lots of subbing opportunities. The first few months were pretty rough — the pay was certainly low, and there were times I taught doubles or triples with no microphone. However, I taught any class I could get — and I LOVED it. Also, the riders couldn’t get enough! It was at these gyms where the hashtags: #TRANFAN & #CLUBTRAN were created. I was fortunate to attract a loyal following of TranFans who would routinely take my classes 3-5x a week all over the city, and who became obsessed with my ‘CLUB’ inspired playlists.
After a few months of working in big box gyms, I joined Revolve Fitness, my first boutique studio. It was there where I really came on the ‘scene’. I was formally trained by the incomparable Christianne Phillips, who to this day is someone I admire and respect (and one of the best cycling instructors ever). I started getting press opportunities and lots of positive recognition — it was a whirlwind. I quickly realized I wanted more camaraderie among other fitpros in the industry. I decided to take classes from any instructor I wanted to take, regardless if they were deemed competition, or were teaching at a competing studio/gym. Although this was a faux pas at the time, I didn’t care; I wanted to make sure that support and credit was given where it was due. I often used social media to shout out other instructors, and routinely went with my TranFans. I always believed there were enough clients to go around, and that it should be an inclusive industry. I created a #TranFan group calendar where people could indicate where/who/when/what classes they were taking, so calendar followers could book and have someone to go to class with (obviously didn’t have to be my classes!).
"I quickly realized I wanted more camaraderie among other fitpros in the industry. I decided to take classes from any instructor I wanted to take, regardless if they were deemed competition..."
It was December 2012, when I decided to create #TranFan apparel that would not only represent me, but also make a bold statement. It was pretty ballsy at the time, because no other instructor (that I know of) was branding themselves. I commissioned a rider (now a friend) to create a logo for me, and I designed my first batch of tanks! I sold them to riders for very little profit, but I figured it was a great marketing tool. Since then, I’ve actually sold hundreds of tanks and other items like sweatshirts, t-shirts, winter hats, caps, sweatbands, dog t-shirts, baby onesies, and more. I’ve had many slogans printed on shirts: #SLAY, #CLUBTRAN (my music), #TRANFAN, and how I end every class, #A+MAZING. More recently, I’ve been naming different designs after loyal TranFans. like the ‘MARISSA’ tank and ‘HARTMAN’ hat. The apparel enhances the community around my following, and makes me feel good to see people wear it.
"I always believed there were enough clients to go around, and that it should be an inclusive industry."
I’m now an instructor and director of recruiting at SWERVE FITNESS and instructor at THE FHITTING ROOM. The journey has been incredible. I’m most surprised in myself that I have managed to grow such a loyal following, expand my apparel line, and gain respect among my peers in such a short amount of time. Motivation, hard work, and a bit of luck has made the bold risk paid off, and I’m grateful to do what I love. It’s almost impossible to get respect unless you are true to yourself in this super competitive industry — so be bold, and ‘shine bright like a diamond’.
"Motivation, hard work, and a bit of luck has made the bold risk paid off, and I’m grateful to do what I love."
As a lifetime fitness enthusiast, Jason Tran discovered the strength, self-discipline and results that can be attained from cross-training. The experiences he had taking indoor-cycling classes were so inspiring that in 2012, he left his corporate job behind for a career in fitness. Jason quickly developed a loyal following (aka #TranFans) while teaching at NYHRC, NYSC, Reebok Sports Club/NY, Sports Club/LA, Revolve Fitness, The Fhitting Room, Equinox Sports Clubs, and Swerve Fitness. He’s become well known in NYC by his trademark playlists of the latest music and intense but entertaining teaching style. In December of 2015, Jason became a Partner and Creative Director of the live-streaming fitness app On-Aire: Bootcamp.
Jason has been featured in Women's Health Mag, Men's Fitness Mag, Self Mag, Shape Mag, AM New York, Fox News, Well + Good NY, RateYourBurn, BuzzFeed, Rodale Wellness, ClassPass, The Sweat Life, Racked NY, Elite Daily, and many popular fitness blogs. Jason is a Fabletics & FL2 Master, Lab Series, Detour Bar, & WellWell Influencer.