Arlington, VA

For Andy Shin, exercise is more than just about looking good or being fit. It’s a means for getting healthier, stronger and gaining the confidence to tackle anything. For Shin, his business is his passion.

A one-man show, Shin is at once a personal trainer, life coach, cheerleader and secretary. Even after his in-person or virtual training sessions, Shin can be found on his computer, often late into the evening — planning for the week ahead, answering questions via email and devising new tactics to keep his clients engaged.

It’s been 10 years since Shin started Andy Shin Fitness, and earlier this year ARLnow readers voted him Arlington’s best personal trainer. He’s worked with more than 1,000 clients across the D.C. metro area.

We caught up with Shin to learn more.

How does it feel being voted Arlington’s top personal trainer in the winter Arlies?

It’s an honor. Arlington is one of the fittest communities in the country, which means personal trainers are a dime in a dozen. It can be dizzying how many options there are. But I strive every day to be the best for my clients, and it makes me incredibly happy to be recognized as one of the top trainers here.

What’s your philosophy as a personal trainer?

I tell all my clients exercise is the best medicine. Sure, it can’t fix everything, but it’s a surefire way to improve your life. The more you exercise, the stronger you become and the more energy you have to keep up with the things you love. It’s an opportunity for you to de-stress and get in “me” time, which only gets more difficult to carve out over time.

How would you describe yourself as a trainer in three words?

Charismatic, motivational, funny.

I’m not your typical trainer. I’m going to be there for you and keep you accountable from start to finish. Plus we’ll have a blast doing it.

What are your classes like?

I offer virtual private training and fitness classes. My classes involve a lot of functional movements to help focus on your instabilities. You just need minimal equipment — a set of dumbbells, resistance bands and sliders — and leave the workout and playlist to me. I also still offer in-person training.

What about the nutrition piece?

Diet is the hardest part — even for me. At my heaviest, I was 290 pounds. I usually recommend a carb-cycling diet, which means alternating carb intake on a periodic basis. Have carbs on the days you exercise so your body can utilize that energy. On the days you don’t exercise, limit your carb intake. I also tell my clients to have one cheat meal on Friday or Sunday. If you consistently work hard, it’s okay to treat yourself without feeling guilty.

Can you share a standout success story?

One of my clients is the executive head chef for the Washington Wizards. He started at 230 pounds and is now 180 pounds. That’s 50 pounds in five months. That takes a lot of determination. I am very proud of him.

Tips for someone who’s having a tough time getting motivated?

Start moving, even for a little bit at a time. That’s the beginning. You don’t have to hire a trainer or spend a lot of money. Start jogging, take your dog on walks, take the longer route from point A to point B. Then, you can incrementally add weight-training. That’s the key.

Andy Shin Fitness
Website | Instagram

Want to learn more about Shin? Here are some fast facts…

  • Shin was born and raised in Chicago. He moved to Arlington in 2010. His favorite thing about living here? Everything is within walking distance. His least favorite thing? The way people drive.
  • Andy has a Carolina Dog (or American Dingo) rescue. Her name is Sammie, and she was actually selected as Arlington’s Pet of the Week back in 2018. If you see Andy around Arlington, chances are, she’s by his side.
  • Andy has faced a lot of loss in his life. In addition to losing his parents, he more recently lost his uncle and his grandfather. His best insight for those grieving? “We live for the people we’ve lost.”
  • Andy is married to Michelle, a CPA. When they aren’t working, they enjoy training, dining out and traveling together. They’ve visited France, Portugal and Italy and can’t wait to start exploring again.
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