Mexican immigrant to Vancouver starts entrepreneurial journey at 21

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As a personal trainer and founder of Legends Vancouver fitness centre, 29-year-old Ricardo Trevino has come a long way to become one of the most popular trainers in the city’s fitness scene.

 

Ricardo immigrated to Canada with the belief that his passion for fitness training would not help him put bread on the table. Now he runs a fitness centre that serves more than 25 clients and welcomes independent personal trainers who can rent his space.

Recognition does not come easy, especially for immigrants like Ricardo, who face barriers like high international student fees, learning a new language, settling in a new culture, and having little understanding of how to get a business registered. 

He was already a certified fitness trainer by the age of 17 in Mexico, but needed a separate certificate in Vancouver as not all foreign credentials are recognized in Canada. “Folks at the gym where I use to work out helped me get a certificate,” says Ricardo in an interview at his fitness centre on West Pender Street.

After getting certified, he was able to rent a space in a gym to bring his clients to. 

“Initially I was giving personal training in other gyms and those guys there would take 75% of my income as commission. That time I wished if I had my own space,” Ricardo says.

Born in Monterrey, Mexico, he moved to Vancouver at the age of 19 to study animation at Vancouver Film School. Little did he knew that a conversation with a stranger would be a turning point in his career. 

“I decided to study animation because I thought fitness is not going to put food on my plate. I did not give training but would regularly work out to stay in shape. While I was helping my classmates at the gym, someone noticed me and asked if I could train him. He was willing to pay me, and I excitedly said yes. That was a turning point as I experienced what it feels like to train people in Canada. Being in a different country with poor English was a struggle as I had to regularly talk with people to help them succeed in their fitness journey. When I finished animation, I realized I needed to make a transition,” he explains.

A year later, at the age of 21, Ricardo convinced his then business partner to open a gym. “In Mexico you can do whatever you want to but here you need to go through a lot of permits and signatures,” he adds. 

Luckily, his business partner knew the procedures, and they were able to get started.

The initial months were stressful as it was hard to pay even the rent. On most days he would work from 6AM till 9PM. 

In March 2021, he decided to go solo and open another gym. The new place that he could afford was much smaller but furnished with gym equipment. 

“I earn my passive income by allowing other trainers to bring their clients and rent my space,” he says. “My income is stable, and I now can give enough time to my own health as well. So far so good amigo,” says Ricardo with a big smile on his face.

In the future, Trevino wants to do fundraiser events for charity purposes and build a much stronger community of fitness enthusiasts.

 





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