Northwestern alum heading to Olympics as trainer

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Northwestern alum heading to Olympics as trainer

July 30, 2012

 Josh Holland
Josh Holland can now add “Olympic Trainer” to his resume after being asked to travel to London to help provide training to athletes in the Olympic Village Gym.

One might think that being the personal trainer for pop superstar Madonna would be the pinnacle in one’s career, but Northwestern Oklahoma State University mass communications graduate Josh Holland has his sights set on an additional spotlight – the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Holland moved to the New York City area in 2006 to pursue a modeling and acting career. Although he’s been successful in these areas through numerous print and television ad campaigns and appearances on TV shows like Saturday Night Live and All My Children, it’s his knowledge and work in the world of exercise science, nutrition, sports and training that is taking him to the Summer Games – that and his association with Technogym.

This international company just happens to be the official fitness equipment supplier for the 2012 Summer Games, and Holland was selected by the company to be the only United States Technogym trainer to be onsite in the Olympic Village providing training to all of the world’s best athletes. He’ll join 100 elite professional trainers from the company’s international training network who represent 15 different countries and speak more than 20 languages. The London Games mark the company’s fifth Olympic experience.

Holland's role at the Olympic Village Gym is to help make a seamless experience for the athletes and their entourage.

"The Olympians will arrive ready to perform, but they will continue to train while they are there, and I will be there to help in any way!" Holland said.

Josh Holland exercising Josh Holland using Technogym equipment
Northwestern graduate Josh Holland is spending a few days in London as a trainer for the world’s best athletes at the 2012 Olympic Games. Here, he works out on some of the same equipment that is available in the Olympic Village Gym.

In the gym will be everything from hand weights and stability balls to high-tech treadmills with built-in data centers that connect directly to the Internet where Holland said the athletes will be able to browse the web, and send out Tweets to fans.

The Chandler native has always been interested in healthy living and athletics, moving up the ranks in karate at a young age at his parent’s martial arts studio where he became a third-degree black belt at age 12. He also played basketball at Rose State College, as well as for the Rangers. His dream of being a professional basketball player came true by playing for a portion of a season in Doha, Qatar, and Cancun, Mexico.

His big break in the training world came early in his New York experience when he auditioned and secured a trainer position with celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson. He was soon training Madonna in her home and traveling with her during her 2009 summer tour. It was while in Barcelona on that tour that he saw Technogym’s Kinesis system and fell in love with it, creating workouts for some of the dancers.

Holland said he had his manager call the company to ask more about the equipment, and they were invited to take a closer look upon their return to New York. Shortly after that initial meeting, Holland did a couple of events for them, and he showed them a few of the exercises he developed using their equipment. They liked what they saw, so much that their association is now more of a partnership where he’s asked to represent the company at several events, like a large one in the company’s showroom in New York City and a free event on July 18 at Harrod’s in London sponsored by Armani EA7.

Holland said he’s had the opportunity to travel to London on several occasions, but is really looking forward to being there during the Olympics, which he described as being the “crème de la crème of events, especially in my field.”

He explained that until the Olympics’ gig came along, performing with Madonna at the Super Bowl in February was among the top highlights of his career.

“This year has definitely been a big year for me and my career,” Holland said. “Working with Madonna training for the Super Bowl was part of my job with her, and it just so happened that we were going to the Super Bowl,” he said in disbelief.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to become a pretty good dancer by working with her,” he said. “That was just a phenomenal experience, but the crazy thing about it is that until the Super Bowl, I had never been to an NFL football game. For me to go to my first NFL game and it be the Super Bowl was just amazing. Sort of like how I’m feeling about going to the Olympics now.

“At that time, the Super Bowl was a big highlight in my career,” he said. “Being able to step on the field while the players are there to compete; there’s just this great atmosphere. And to see all of these people cheering for Madonna and us … it was just thrilling.”

Something he expects to be no different by being a part of the Olympic experience.

“I’m such a huge supporter of the Olympics that going to them is going to be a dream come true,” Holland said. “People have asked what are your favorite events? Honestly, if it’s something involved with the Olympics – I’ll watch it. It could be bow and arrow, synchronized swimming, diving, whatever; I want to be watching it because I think it’s so fascinating.”

Holland is hoping that his Olympic experience won’t be all work because he really would like to attend as many events as possible. He’ll also be excited to see how the city handles the influx of people.

“It will be exciting to go there and see an entire city somehow hold a world of people; an entire world of people coming together for one common event,” he said. “It’s going to be amazing!”

And who is he hoping to meet? Members of the United States Basketball Team, of course.

“Being a basketball player myself, I’m definitely interested in seeing members of the U.S. Basketball Team,” he said. “I would love to work with any of those guys.”

He added that he’d like to work with any of the Olympians…especially the Americans.

“I’ll have the opportunity to work with all the teams from around the world, but it would be cool to see and work with some of these people who have been advertised like Michael Phelps.

“For me to learn what it is that they are doing to get themselves where they are today, and seeing if there’s anything they are doing that maybe I could adapt to my training, and then maybe, in turn, show them some things that maybe they could do to adapt to their training, will be the networking opportunity of a lifetime.”

Following his Olympic experience, he’ll continue his work relationship with Madonna, who currently is on tour abroad. He also hopes to continue growing his own fitness venture, building his brand and establishing and maintaining strong business relationships.

Within the last nine months Holland has begun managing three gym locations, all with elite clientele. The main gym is at the private The CORE: Club, with the other two locations at the Carlyle Hotel and Trump Soho Hotel. He currently has approximately 20 trainers working for him, all with the company he and his manager co-founded called Zoomtion Fitness. He’s also hoping to add two more gym locations by the end of the year.
Have any of the successes Holland has experienced to date changed who he is? Not one bit, and he said it has everything to do with how his parents raised him, and the value he places on his friendships.

When he’s able to make it home to Oklahoma Holland said he tries to see as many of his friends as possible, and makes it back to Northwestern whenever he can, but notes he’s always keeping up with the news of the Rangers.
Holland said that Northwestern helped to shape who he is today by teaching him about the possibilities in the world, and that a person should never give up on their dreams.

Not a bad year so far for celebrity, er, Olympic trainer Josh Holland – he’s truly living his dream.