From Bay to LA: Building a Dream Career
From the Paly weightroom to celebrity home gyms, Anderson has transformed his weightlifting into a dream job.
May 28, 2020
Erik Anderson (‘13) strolls into work and prepares to meet with his numerous clients. Today will be a busy day, but he is looking forward to it. His office is different from a typical college graduate’s. Instead of stacks of paperwork to fill out, stacks of 45 pound plates rest by a squat rack. There are no desks to hunch over, but benches where gains are made and clients are trained. Through hard work and perseverance, Andersen has veered off from the traditional path and transformed a passion for lifting and training into a career, something many Palo Alto High School athletes dream of doing.
Anderson was first exposed to weightlifting at Paly, where he played football and wrestled. With these sports, intense lifting and conditioning are required to succeed, and he excelled in the weight room while training with PE teacher Jason Fung. Using Youtube fitness videos, Anderson began creating workouts for himself, building up his strength all while creating a new passion for weightlifting.
Upon graduating from Paly, Anderson decided to play football at Claremont McKenna College, but still had no long term plans for what he wanted to do.
“I never had a specific idea of what I wanted to do [in high school],” Anderson said. “I thought I was going to do software or something.”
In college, Anderson majored in Economics and continued to work out. Junior year, he studied abroad for a term in Vienna, Austria, where he became friends with Onome Egger, an up and coming Austrian Bodybuilder. They worked out together throughout Anderson’s time in Austria and agreed to keep in touch once he left.
After college, he decided to go all in and try to launch Egger’s professional career in the United States. Anderson would manage and promote Egger on social media while Egger trained for the bodybuilding competitions. In the fitness industry, social media is just as important as competitions; they can bring in large amounts of revenue from advertisements and sponsorships which are vital to funding their career. After securing an apartment and moving to New York City, Anderson received disappointing news: Egger failed to get approved for a green card and would not be able to move out to New York to train; Anderson’s plan had crumbled.
“[When the] Onome thing didn’t work out I was bummed,” Anderson said. “I was banking on that.”
However, this moment was not the end of Anderson’s fitness career. It was just the beginning. Even though his initial plans were down the drain, he still had something: an apartment in New York City and years of lifting experience. Armed with these assets and a connection from a previous bodybuilding event, Anderson secured a job as a trainer at Equinox Printing House, “the most boujee of Equinoxes,” according to Anderson.
Training at Equinox gave Anderson a career in fitness training, but it lacked the atmosphere he was looking for. In bodybuilding, gyms are full of energy: Music pumping throughout the gym, athletes training together, pushing each other, sculpting their bodies.
On the internet, Anderson and another trainer at Equinox Printing House, Matt Tralli, found a gym with just that type of vibe they were looking for: clients pushing sleds out in the street along to music and trainers working with clients in teams.
“[At first] we didn’t even know Dogpound was in the US,” Anderson said.
After finding out Dogpound was literally down the street, they tried a workout and instantly knew it was the place for them.
“It was one of the hardest workouts I have ever done,” Anderson said.
After the workout they asked the founder, CEO, and trainer at Dogpound, Kirk Meyers, if there was any availability for trainers at the gym. With their luck, there were two job openings. They both got a job there.
Anderson instantly worked well at Dogpound and fit in with its fun atmosphere.
“I love it, [Dogpound] has a super crazy environment,” Anderson said.
Dogpound is unique in that it relies heavily on social media to promote its gym and trainers. Their preferred site is Instagram, and it reflects a changing industry. Fitness now has a large presence on social media through Instagram models and promotions. Dogpound trains many of these models, as well as famous actors, most of whom post their Dogpound workouts to social media, thus advertising Dogpound even more, without them having to pay for it.
“The models promote us and we help their body,” Anderson said. “It’s mutually beneficial.”
Dogpound has gained popularity for its team-based approach. Keeping clients engaged and using all of the knowledge to make them the best they can be.
“We’re a team-based approach to training,” Anderson explained. “We’ll have 3-4 different trainers with different perspectives… [Clients] don’t get used to one style of training.”
One client is Daisy Keech, a model who uses Instagram and TikTok. She currently has over four million instagram followers and five million followers on TikTok. She especially appreciates DogPound’s atmosphere.
“Dogpound really embodies a fun and inclusive environment that many gyms lack,” Keech said.
As with any growing company, Dogpound expanded to another hotspot for celebrities: Los Angeles. Anderson is one of the founding trainers of Dogpound Los Angeles and has trained celebrities from singers Adam Levin and Justin Bieber to models such as Daisy Keech.
“Daisy’s one of my top clients,” Anderson said. “We’re very specific with how we train her. We try to keep the aesthetic.”
“Keeping the aesthetic” means isolating muscles to build up glutes and abs while keeping the waistline low.
“The same thing applies to a lot of these models,” Anderson said.
Keech has similar goals to many models.
“[I want] to improve my flexibility and agility while keeping an hourglass shape,” Keech said.
Keech can achieve her goals through Anderson’s specific style of training.
“Erik has helped my fitness routine immensely,” Keech said. “He’s been there to help me push through my last sets, keep me motivated along with holding me accountable when it comes to my dream body.”
Now with Coronavirus, it is difficult for trainers. Especially since many clients work out at Dogpound because of the atmosphere.
“Our gyms have taken a big hit because participation is down,” Anderson said.
However, clients are still motivated to workout. One of these clients is Rich, who lost 200 pounds in under a year. He lost his 200th pound while in quarantine. Anderson still trains him, but remotely and from a distance.
“Rich is on a roll right now,” Anderson said. “We are ten feet apart training him outdoors doing bodyweight stuff and going on long walks.”
During quarantine, Anderson has had to adapt.
“The most difficult thing is keeping the clients engaged,” he said.
However, staying active during quarantine is key, especially because of it’s “adapt or die” atmosphere right now, according to Anderson.
“Moving just sharpens the mind,” Anderson said.
Coronavirus has also provided new opportunities for Anderson. Recently, he decided to leave Dogpound and train clients independently. Such an opportunity was something that Anderson had always intended to do. He felt the time was right to make the next step because he now has the connections for clients and years of expertise in the industry under his belt.