Alumni Q & A – Pursuing Your True Passion: An Interview with Adam Gilbert ’05

Adam Gilbert ‘05 founded MyBodyTutor, a program that simplifies the weight-loss process into practical, sustainable behaviors that help you lose weight and keep it off. Adam has made a career out of working with clients who have “tried everything” but just haven’t managed to keep the weight off. Over the last 13 years, he has built MyBodyTutor into one of the world’s top daily accountability coaching programs.

Tell us a little about yourself, what you majored in at Binghamton and what you currently do.
I’m the Founder of MyBodyTutor.com, an online program that solves the lack of consistency faced by chronic dieters. We deliver daily, personal accountability coupled with expert coaching to help people lose weight and keep it off.

At Binghamton, I majored in accounting. My true passion has always been health and fitness, but at the time it seemed too risky to pursue a career in it. Instead, I opted for what I thought was a safer, more secure route.

After Binghamton, I started my career with Ernst & Young. It was a fantastic job, and on the surface, I knew I should’ve been excited and happy, but I wasn’t. Deep down, I knew I had to do what I was passionate about. However, working in accounting was a blessing in disguise because that’s where the idea to start MyBodyTutor came to me.

Making such a drastic career move wasn’t easy, though, and I wrestled with the decision for a long time. I would ask my family and friends for advice, but they all thought I was crazy to leave what, by all accounts, was a dream job.

In 2007, I had a “now or never” moment and decided to take the risk. I finally quit my job to start MyBodyTutor, and I couldn’t be happier. I cannot think of anything more rewarding and fulfilling than knowing and doing what you are meant to do.

When did you realize you wanted to go into this field?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to go into this field. Health and fitness has always been my passion. I started exercising regularly when I was in fifth grade. Seeing my father go through a heart attack and then triple bypass surgery really scared me. Shortly afterward, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Watching him deteriorate mentally and physically throughout the years until he passed away was really tough. I saw firsthand how health (or a lack of it) can contribute to unhappiness. Health impacts every aspect of life.

Do you feel like Binghamton University prepared you for what you’re doing now?

Absolutely! My professors at Binghamton gave me the confidence to go after my dream of being an entrepreneur. While at school, I started several businesses. Those ventures served local business owners by helping them market their businesses to students.

However, the challenge I ran into was that so many business owners were resistant to change ― even when they knew what they were doing wasn’t working. They wanted change, but at the same time, change is scary.

I learned that, to help them, they needed more than information. They needed help changing their perspective and mindset, and they needed hope and confidence that change would help them achieve what they wanted.

The skills I learned at Binghamton and being an entrepreneur were invaluable because these are the same skills I use every day with clients at MyBodyTutor. Regardless of the situation, change is difficult. What is essential is having someone to help you shift your mindset and give you the hope and confidence that you can improve.

What was the most impactful class you took at Binghamton?

Two classes come to mind: Entrepreneurship 460 with Angelo Mastrangelo and Financial Accounting with John Barden.

Entrepreneurship 460 was reserved for upperclassmen, so I petitioned to get into it as a sophomore. It was an amazing class that culminated with a business plan competition. My idea was to create an off-campus meal card. (I still can’t believe we came in second place, losing to a cleaning service!)

Financial Accounting was impactful because John always told me how unusually focused I was for a student and encouraged me to keep going with my entrepreneurial pursuits. It was also in that class where I started questioning the reasons why I was majoring in accounting. However, he would always remind me of how valuable it is to have a background in accounting (which was terrific advice).

What are mistakes students make looking to enter into this field?

Thinking it’s all rainbows and butterflies. It’s easy to look at before/after pictures and think, “Oh that looks like so much fun!” Besides seeing my family happy, nothing makes me happier than seeing our clients succeed. It’s what I live for. However, there is a lot of emotional labor that goes into helping people lose weight.

Believing that helping one person isn’t enough. For years, I struggled with trying to invent the next “Google” of health/fitness, and got nowhere because it was too daunting. Instead, I focused on what I loved doing: helping people transform their health. I started with one person, then another, then another.

Comparing themselves to others on social media. It’s so deceiving. You don’t need 100,000 followers to build a substantial business. In fact, you don’t need any! I know many health professionals who are “influencers” with tens of thousands of followers yet struggle to pay their rent.

Who would you say had the greatest influence on your career and what did you learn from that person?

This question is hard to answer because there are many people who encouraged me along the way because they saw something in me. I’m forever grateful to them.

However, my parents had the biggest impact on me. My father always told me that if I worked hard and put my mind to something, I could accomplish anything. I believed him. My mom always told me what I needed to hear even if I didn’t like it. As a father of two, I now realize that isn’t always easy! She also has an incredible work ethic. Perhaps the best lesson she taught me was showing me what hard work looked like.

And my wife and kids inspire me to be the best version of myself every day. The most important job I have is being a great father and husband.

What is the biggest piece of advice you have for a student interested in this industry?

Start small, be resilient and don’t base your success off of social media.

Are there mistakes you’ve made during your career, and if so, what lessons have you learned from them?

Of course! Early on, I spent a lot of time trying to help people who weren’t ready to be helped. I’ve learned I can only help those who want to be helped. Sadly, some people are happiest being unhappy.

Don’t put limits on people. I’ve learned that when you put limits on people, they hit a limit. You can’t know how someone is at something unless you give them a chance. Our entire executive team started out doing something different from what they’re doing now. They’ve all grown into their current roles.

And the biggest mistake I made was letting my perfectionism get in the way. I foolishly thought I was the only one that could coach our clients with my methodology and system. I eventually learned to let go, and we now have a team of 50 coaches who are so incredibly talented and dedicated to helping our clients throughout the world.

By Brandy Smith, M. Ed.
Brandy Smith, M. Ed. Brandy Smith, M. Ed.