How do trainers work? Meet Artemis Scantalides

If you’ve ever doubted the powerful strength of a woman, then you haven’t met Artemis Scantalides and seen her squat almost double her bodyweight! Artemis is a former ballet dancer with a black belt in Kung Fu who has completed the Iron Maiden Challenge and can probably kick your butt.

She is the owner of Iron Body Training Systems, where she works as a certified personal trainer and a certified kettlebell-functional movement specialist, among other professional roles.

As a fierce embodiment of grit, Artemis channels her fearless passion and expertise to empower women through her strength training workshop — I Am Not Afraid to LiftⓇ.

But before I give too much away, read what Artemis has to say about her fitness journey. She offers some helpful advice, and you’ll also find links to her fitness classes and workshops.

Artemis, Let’s Get Started With Your . . .

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Years of Training Experience: 15
Describe Your Personality: An Extroverted Introvert

Tell me about your journey. How did you get into the training world?

I started out part-time in the fitness industry in 2003, when I worked in NYC as a group fitness instructor teaching spin classes. Then in 2005, I moved back to Arlington, VA (where I had lived for 10 years) and continued to work part-time as a group fitness instructor until 2008.

Over those five years, I saved up money and obtained both my NASM-CPT and my first kettlebell certification so that I could make the transition to work full-time in the fitness industry.

Finally, in 2008, I made a drastic career change: I left my job as an IT consultant to pursue a full-time career in fitness as both a personal trainer and a group fitness instructor. I never looked back. Working in an office did not suit me, as I have been an athlete all of my life.

Through my time as a part-time group fitness instructor, I had built a personal training client base, so when I made the full-time transition, I started with three personal training clients. Then I built my business from there. I began working for two well-known commercial gyms, followed by a small, private training business on the side. It was definitely a hustle!

In 2009, I moved back to my hometown of Boston, MA and continued to work for the same two commercial gyms and my private training business. I met my fiancé, Eric Gahan, in 2010, and then in 2011, we opened our own studio specializing in Hardstyle Kettlebell training.

I started writing my fitness blog, Iron Body By Artemis, in 2012; created my women’s strength training workshop, I Am Not Afraid To LiftⓇ, in 2014; and was promoted to StrongFirst Team Leader in 2016.

We closed our gym in 2016 so that Eric could accept a position as Head Therapist for Cirque du Soleil’s resident show, Zumanity, in Las Vegas. After we moved there, Cirque du Soleil also offered me a job.

So now, I work part-time for them as a strength coach, train clients online and in person in my garage gym through Iron Body Training Systems, teach kettlebell courses for StrongFirst, and continue to teach I Am Not Afraid To LiftⓇ, as well as my own curriculum of an Advanced Kettlebell Ballistics workshop. I’m still hustling!

When starting out as a trainer, what’s something new that you discovered about fitness?

I knew working as a personal trainer was going to be hard work, but I experienced firsthand exactly how hard it was. To be successful in the fitness industry, you must really love what you do. If you do not love what you do, then you will not have the drive to succeed because you have to work a lot of hours, including a lot of physical work, for very little money.

You really have to do your time, so to speak. And even now, after I have done my time, I still have to hustle and put in a lot of unpaid time for it to pay off.

What business skills have you developed since then?

Based on my previous jobs, I had a solid business background in knowing how to market, develop pricing, and write — including contracts.

But these are the skills I have developed since then: not taking things personally, learning how to say no, offering no discounts and then feeling no remorse about it, and generally not taking crap and being able to move forward without regret. I have become tougher with a thicker skin. I know my value and how to communicate both my worth and the value of my services.

Describe your training style. How does your advocacy for holistic health inform the way you approach the needs of your clients?

My training philosophy is that whatever you do in your training should be applicable to what you do in real life. It should help you move better and get stronger so that you can handle your day-to-day tasks. In addition, strength trumps the scale any day.

I seek to empower women through strength, and every day, I inspire clients to incorporate and maintain their fitness routines by setting realistic goals and keeping their training applicable to their everyday lives, yet interesting and challenging. I swear by what I call “unsexy” training methods and kettlebell training, as kettlebell training and strength training not only strengthened and changed my body, but also my mindset.

However, a good training program doesn’t stop in the weight room. You must also make sure you are following a relatively clean diet with an 80/20 or 90/10 rule, are drinking enough water, managing stress properly, and getting enough sleep — good, solid, sound sleep.

All of these factors impact one’s training results.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

I wake up between 7:30 and 8 AM (which is amazing because from 2008-2016, I woke up between 4 and 4:30 AM to train clients or teach a class). I have a cup of coffee, check emails, and post on social media. I start my own workout anywhere between 8:45 AM and 10:30 AM. From 11:30 AM to noonish, I eat and shower.

Afternoons consist of either online training business tasks, workshop marketing (workshops are a lot of work!), teaching a class, or training an in-person client or group. If I am scheduled to work at Cirque, I go in between 1:30 and 3:30 PM (depending on what show I am assigned to that day).

What’s the most challenging part of your work? The most rewarding?

Challenging: All of the upfront work I do to market a workshop or service is unpaid.

Rewarding: My clients’ results and testimonies.

At the end of a long day, how do you wind down?

I drink a cup of herbal tea and watch an episode of a series on Netflix or another TV show I am following.

How did you hear about Exercise.com?

In June 2014, Jeff Crews reached out to Eric and me to be a part of a focus group for your platform when it was initially about to launch as WeightTraining.com. Your platform has come a long way since then, and we have been happy with how it’s developed and how it has helped us.

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How has our training platform been the most helpful for you?

It has helped me streamline my online training business so that I could move away from Excel spreadsheets.

Any advice for trainers just starting a fitness business?

There are a lot of resources out there that can help you get started on the right foot, whether your business is online training or a fitness facility.

Research your resources, find the ones that best fit your needs, and use them! We all need a little help in this business.

Also, know that you will need to work hard no matter how many years you have been in the business. So make sure that you truly love what you do in this industry.

If you do not love it from deep down in your soul, then you will not be successful. You must love it, love working hard for it, and always be willing to hustle and evolve with the times.

What’s on the horizon for you?

My primary goal this year is the re-launch of I Am Not Afraid To LiftⓇ. I took 2017 off from teaching this workshop so that I could update the curriculum to include barbell lifts. I’m re-launching it on March 11, 2018 at Barbell Republic in Las Vegas with the new curriculum. You can register for it on my website here.

You can find Artemis Scantalides on Instagram and Facebook.

Sign up for online training with Artemis today!

Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.


Lauren Smith is passionate about nutrition and holistic health (how the body, mind, and emotions intersect). She lives in Baltimore City, where she writes stuff, plays music, embarks on long power walks through the park, takes contemporary dance lessons, and enjoys healthy, flavorful cuisine. Lauren has written for a literary journal called Skelter and for Honestbodyfitness.com.