As 2017 comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on what a year this has been for me – taking a leap from the security of a 9 to 5, to turning a passion into a reality.
This time last year, I was a tad unhappy to say the least. A little undecided about where I was headed in my career, feeling stressed out over the smallest thing and not getting much by way of job satisfaction.
In Spring 2016, I got my personal training qualification and started teaching outside on the side, but didn’t even begin to imagine when or even how on earth I’d take the leap into the fitness world. In my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions I put the loosely written resolution of quitting the ad agency I worked at by April and “Job as a PT”.
Clear business planning there, right…?
Come January, I received a message on Instagram from a bloke called Rob at some random studio in Liverpool Street, called Elevate LDN (you see where I’m going here…). That alongside a few other chats with boutique gyms around London was the glimmer of hope I needed to get going.
So, come February 3rd I handed my notice in through floods of tears. I’m an emotional soul and I hate goodbyes – but when I was met with, “we knew this would happen one day, we just thought we’d have you a while longer”. I knew it was the right thing to do, and if you don’t try, you’ll never know.
The first day of my new life was the day after my leaving drinks. It was bittersweet, being probably the most painfully hungover I’ve ever been. I now know I probably should have come in the following day to get an extra day’s pay for being hungover but oh well. Let’s just say as I stumbled down the street to Bean & Hop in Earlsfield, opened up my laptop and decided to start planning my future, although that day wasn’t the most productive, it was a huge step forward.
Since being a personal trainer, one thing that has struck me is how supportive and close knit the fitness community is. It may be a London thing, but to date I’ve not really encountered any horrendous egos and the majority of trainers are only too happy to share experiences. Competitive natures are for the actual workouts, rather than showing off your business on the gym floor.
I’m not going to lie, being a personal trainer is hard. You see all the positivity portrayed on Instagram but behind each coffee shot is 6 or so hours sleep and a 5am wake up, supporting your clients emotionally as they go through hard times and sometimes being too tired to workout but knowing you’ve got to turn up and turn it on.
That said, it’s worth it in the end.
The early wake ups and the late nights are met with the dedication of clients doing the same, the chats out of hours build stronger relationships and finally getting up on that spin bike in front of the class despite legs saying no, is met with an adrenaline rush that makes you put in your all – after all, no one is inspired by someone who looks like they’re having the worst time!
To summarise, these are the things I’ve learned from being a personal trainer:
SEVEN THINGS I’VE LEARNED FROM BEING A PERSONAL TRAINER
- Coffee Is Your New Best Friend – I’ve now become best friends with the guys at Pret on London Wall thanks to my early morning sessions at Elevate LDN…
- Have Your Own Personal Trainer – If you read this and think “meh, I’ve got my qualification now” you probably don’t wholly see the value in personal training. This is especially key when you’re at the beginning of your career as it’ll help you understand what it feels to be a client as well as testing out new elements within the industry.
- Know Your Local Network – Get to know personal trainers in your area as they were once in your situation and they are usually more than happy to impart their wisdom. This is also handy when you’re looking to build your client base as often they may be oversubscribed so can refer new clients your way for a fee.
- Never Stop Learning – Getting your qualification is only the foundation of personal training – from there on you’ll carve out your niche and continue to learn. In addition, the fitness industry is always changing, so it’s good to have a take on the latest news. While more often than not fads will fade, sometimes there’s something useful in there somewhere.
- Always Be Human – You can be a professional weightlifting champion, but if you don’t know how to communicate, listen to people’s problems and be adaptive to situations, you’re not going to be a success. It’s called Personal Training for a reason so make sure you always have their best interests at heart as you will see some people at their lowest level.
- Positive Vibes Only – You’re there to be the motivation for someone’s workout, to make it enjoyable for them and something to look forward to as part of their week. No one’s going to have fun if the person training them is miserable as sin.
- Deciding between sleep and training – As the early morning and late night peak time sessions build up, you’ll see the value in napping and sometimes find yourself choosing between that and working out if you have a nap sized window.
So, that’s enough of my reflection on the year of becoming On Point; the hundreds of hours spent helping people reach their goals training and the time spent on the spin bike sweating it out with the rest of my class.
Here’s to helping people smash their objectives in 2018 and integrate fitness into their lifestyle.
I hope you had an awesome 2017 and here’s to an even better 2018.