Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's it like to be a personal trainer?

People always ask me what it's like to be a personal trainer. They imagine it to be fun, cool and exciting...quite unlike your typical 8AM-5PM desk job. And it is all of the above at times, but like those 8AM-5PM desk jobs, this job comes with it's fair share of downfalls, too. I'm of the mindset that perfect jobs don't exist, but I do believe that really great jobs are out there...but the definition of "really great" is written differently for each and every one of us. So what might work for me, might NOT work for you.

I digress.

So what's it like to be a personal trainer? First and foremost, it depends on where you work. Workplace environment feeds into one's perception of their job, and I'm lucky enough to work for a gym that's fun, flexible and full of variety. Speaking of fun and flexible, personal trainers can often find this in their jobs, making them ideal for people who can't confine themselves to the desk from 8AM-5PM. That's also why personal training works great as a side job meant to indulge a personal passion. You can often work as often or as little as you wish (depending on the gym, of course).

But that's all rulebook stuff. When you're a personal trainer, your work is truly fulfilling. It's not the dollars in your paycheck that make it worth it, although those are important. It's the smiles on the faces of your clients when they reach a new goal, or the friendly conversations you have about health and fitness with other gym members. These people truly trust in your ability, and as a personal trainer with education and certification under your belt, you are certainly filled with the ability to make a difference in someone's life.

That, to me, is what it's like to be a personal trainer.

Still, I thought it would be fun to outline my day for you.

Note: I'm not just a personal trainer. I teach group fitness and actually run the fitness department, too. So I wear a lot of hats. And although I'm solidly scheduled at the gym from 8:30-11:30AM every day, I am often at work outside of those hours. Sometimes for early morning clients or classes, sometimes for evening classes, clients or office hours.

Take a look at my Tuesday:

1) No early morning clients for me on Tuesdays, but I do have to be at the gym by 8:30AM to set up for an 8:45AM Spinning class. This means I wake up around 7:00AM to get myself and the girl dressed and out the door in time. Class is only 45 minutes, and yesterday's was a series of speedy intervals that certainly challenged our ability to raise and lower our heart rates. Post class:

 2) I have about 30 minutes in between my Spinning and Kettlebells class. Sometimes I use this time to catch up on emails, or address any notes in my mailbox. Sometimes I just chat with members. Yesterday, I took the time to plan out (and fuel up for) my Kettlebells class.

3) Kettlebells is only a 30-minute class, and I rush to a management meeting afterwards. I mean, how nice is it that I get to attend management meetings in a sweaty state of affairs? No heels and suits for this girl, definitely one huge plus of the job—total lack of pressure to make oneself up for the day.

4) After the meeting, it's usually time to get the girl (and myself) home for some lunch. She typically watches a bit of Dora while I prep the food. I'm pretty ravenous by this time, so it takes all of me to NOT eat the entire kitchen while I make a sandwich.

5) By 12:30PM, my girl is usually down for a nap that typically lasts until 3:30-4:00PM. And so this is when I rush around the house like a madwoman. On Tuesdays, I always shower first because...see above. Then I check the laundry, write a post, clean a room, do the dishes...whatever needs to be done. And sometimes, if I'm really luck, I'll get a nice delivery from the man in brown. Yesterday, it was this:

6) On Tuesdays, I go back to the gym when Hannah wakes up for a nap. The nursery opens up around 4:30, but I have an office which is now filled with a few toys from home, so my girl just plays while I get some paperwork and client/class prep done. But last night, I had an equipment orientation which took up most of my time. And Hannah stayed home with her Daddy, who came home early from work to play with her.

7) And so once I get home, it's a shuffle of dinner and playtime and whatevertime. I shoot to be in bed by 9:30PM, which really just means "reading in bed" or "iPhone-ing in bed" until I force the lights out at 10:30. Why? Because the next day starts it all over again, but at 6:00AM with a client.

While this is a very standard Tuesday, things often change and if you're going to be a personal trainer, you have to be okay with the occasional schedule changes. Clients get sick, new members need equipment orientations, instructors need subs...It's kind of an around-the-clock thing, especially if you're in a position of management. But that around-the-clock factor is often yours to control. Flexibility can be huge in this industry (literally and figuratively).

BUT: It's all great fun, it really is. Sure, stressful at times. But when you're doing something you love, it's hard to linger on that stress.

If you're thinking about becoming a pro in the fitness industry, I'd be happy to shed some light on any questions you might have. Send 'em to me at tara (at) adailydoseoffit (dot) com. You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more behind-the-scenes stuff.

Clearly I love talking about this!

Question: Are you a personal trainer? What's it like for you?


GiGi Eats Celebrities said...

Not a personal trainer myself but I do work with trainers and instructors all the time (I have various types) and I know their schedules change constantly. I give you a lot of credit for essentially working out all day long. I work out every day and would love to be paid to do it, LOL - but I couldn't work out ALL DAY LONG! Especially with a baby! I am giving you a huge virtual pat on the back right now :D

Mandy Nester said...

I'm a personal trainer and work "full time" at a gym (30-35 hrs a week). I have good care for my son (his grannies and grandpas) so I don't normally bring him to work, but I can occasionally and leave him in our supervised play area. I teach two classes each week - spin on Tuesday at 8:30 and Morning Mix on Wednesday at 6:15. I have about 5-6 clients that I see on a weekly basis, so I normally have at least one appointment a day, which isn't bad. I'd rather have 2 or 3! I also lifeguard at our facility pool and work at the front desk some. Thankfully, I don't manage anyone, so that's a lot of stress off my plate.

I really like being a personal trainer. One thing I've noticed is that a lot of people don't really want exercise coaching - they want a counselor. They just want someone to spill their problems to. That can be quite frustrating when you're trying to work someone out and help them reach their goals, but they just want to talk.

adailydoseoffit said...

Thanks, Gigi :-) The constant shuffle can be a challenge, but my love for this industry makes it all worth it!

adailydoseoffit said...

It's sort of fun to be involved in different parts of the gym, right? I love it! Our aquatics director is always asking me to jump in the pool...totally NOT my thing at all :-) You're right about the whole counselor thing. I think that's one of the hardest parts about being a personal trainer.

Tom Taylor said...

Really we should keep this in mind that trainer work from home is not a hard task.There so many professionals also to suggest great support.

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...