Having been a Personal Trainer for the last 6 months, I wanted to share a number of things I’ve learnt, in the hope that if you are another Personal Trainer reading this, you’ll know that you are not alone in how you are feeling! If you are planning to become a personal trainer, this will give you some insight into how the first few months of your new fitness role may be and if you are not involved in the fitness industry it will just be a good read… I hope!
Working in an office is VERY different to life as a personal trainer, despite only working 6 hours in one day compared to the 8 – 10 I did in an office, I haven’t felt as tired as I do than when I personal train. In those 6 hours I will be on my feet, lifting weights, demonstrating exercises, only getting to rest if I run to the loo! Despite the tiredness I am much happier on my feet all day than sitting at a desk, the time fly’s by and I’m much more active.
You have to work hard
Clients won’t just fall into your lap, you have to work hard to secure their trust and ultimately have them buy into your services. Every day I am making sure that I present myself in the best possible way and i am constantly looking for new opportunities to help someone with their fitness. It doesn’t stop once you have the client secured you have to keep building the relationship and if that means making extra time for the client outside of your set 1 hour of training, that’s what you do.
Dealing with lots of personalities
Everyone is different, learning to adapt to a variety of personalities has been quite difficult. Some clients will want you to chat through a session and keep them motivated, whilst others aren’t there to be your friend or speak they simply want to be worked out and then leave, which is fine, it’s just knowing how to change your approach to ensure the client feels comfortable.
Planning is key
I’m perfectly capable of turning up the gym and creating a workout for myself on the spot, however I quickly learnt that it’s not that easy when it comes to clients. I now make sure I plan all clients workouts in advance (24 – 48 hours) and have set programs they all follow. It’s more profressional, clients feel looked after and I always make sure I have some extra workouts as a Plan B in case they have injured themselves or simply don’t want to do what I have planned that day! It happens and you just have to react quickly and have something in your back pocket.
Don’t compromise yourself
Not all clients will be the type of client you want to work with, or can make time for. For example if you have a set price that you charge per hour, and someone is wanting to take that price down to an amount you are uncomfortable with, don’t do it just to get the business. There are millions of people who are looking for personal training, don’t sell yourself short to simply gain a new client or you will burn yourself out and feel undervalued. Stick to your guns and explain why you are this price per hour, or why you can’t train at a certain time and the client may understand. If they don’t then you know they weren’t right for your business at that time and will be more suited to another trainer.
You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and don't be selfish
Don’t feel disheartened if you meet a potential client and they actually decide to work with another trainer, personal training is personal after all and just because you aren’t the right trainer for that particular client, it doesn’t mean you are a bad trainer. Also don't be selfish with clients, create a network of Personal Trainer's that you trust and could refer a potential client too, they may be better suited, live closer to their location and able to hit their goals more effectively. Work as a TEAM.
Get yourself a PT
One thing I quick realized was that when you spend all day in the gym training other people, it becomes quite difficult to find the motivation to train yourself. You don’t want your work and your gym hobby to merge into one, if you were in an office job you would normally run straight out of the door, it can sometimes be the same in the gym. I often get to the end of the day and either don’t complete a workout or I complete one but with no real direction or motivation. As a result I’m currently trying out a couple of PT’s near my home and have already found that having someone else give me the direction and understanding of what I need to be doing in the gym, extremely rewarding.
I initially wanted to go straight into Personal Training as freelance, working out of ‘Pay as you go’ gyms in London and building my own secure client base. However I realized that I needed to be part of a team in order to gain further experience, see how other trainers react with clients and become a better trainer for those who want to sign up with me. I started working at a gym in Knightsbridge and it was the best decision I made, I act as a freelance trainer out of this gym and have the flexibility to have my own clients outside of this studio if I wish, being able to build my client base on the outside whilst still maintaining a team environment to grow as a trainer and bounce off other people’s ideas.
It’s worth it
If you’re currently on the fence and wondering whether you should make the career change or simply pursue a career path you have been on for a while, my advice is go for it. A lot of people say that Personal Training is an overpopulated market and it’s difficult to have a career and make enough money, however if you’re willing to work hard in the first 6 months and get yourself training as many people in your target market as possible, you will 100% see the benefits and begin doing something you really enjoy with flexible hours.