Job Dreams: Personal Trainer
As part of our Job Dreams series, we speak to professionals from different careers and share their advice with you. Last month, we learned what it's like to be a user experience designer. And this month we met Ricardo - founder of Perfect Timing PTUK - who told us what it’s like to be a personal trainer…
What do you do?
I'm a personal trainer, and I offer indoor & outdoor sessions. I aim to help my clients reach their goals and help them discover their full potential.
Can you tell us what your day-to-day is like?
My day-to-day can be quite hectic. I wake up at 5am Monday to Friday so I'm able to fit in some self-development before training my clients. This includes reading, praying, stretching and working out before training my clients. I typically train each client for one hour between 7am and 9 pm with a few 30 minute breaks.
What do you love most about your job?
I love seeing the transition in my clients. A lot of clients start off with low confidence, having anxiety about exercising in public and sometimes being insecure about their body. When training with me, I notice a massive improvement in terms of their approach to training, their proactiveness, enthusiasm and just a whole different outlook to training itself.
What do you find most challenging?
Being able to adapt to every single type of client. You may specialise in weight loss for 20–40 year old's, but may receive a client that is 70, and will be expected to know how to train them.
If, however, you do not know about the health problems, physical limitations, exercise & diet requirements, safety requirements and so on of the elderly, you might find it more difficult to do justice to your customers. However, to overcome this challenge, I always find it best to do thorough research in order for me to cater for every age even if I specifically train a particular age group.
When you devote the majority of your time to helping others reach their goals, you miss out on a lot of your social life activities because your working hours are different to your friends. In my experiences, I've had to turn down a lot of birthdays, gatherings, and dinners because I know that if I've got clients to train the following morning from 7am to 11am, I need to ensure that I'm getting my full eight hours sleep so that I can train my clients at my optimum. They deserve me training them at my best, when I'm fully focused, organised and they'll receive nothing less.
However, you can use your time wisely by meeting up with your friends on their lunch breaks, inviting them to train with you, befriending new people, and taking one night a week where you finish early so you can spend some time with your friends. As you build your client base, you’ll be able to have a bit flexibility when it comes to choice about your hours and things will get easier, but in your first couple years, it pays to think of ways to ensure you maintain a rich social life.
What did you see yourself doing when you were a kid?
What challenges did you face in reaching where you are today?
The main challenge for me was having to build up my client base. In the beginning, I had to put in a lot of hours and sacrifice sleep in order for me to learn and become a better personal trainer. Starting off as a personal trainer, you have little to no experience so you have to show potential clients that you're a reputable trainer and give them reasons to believe they should pick you. The personal training business is very competitive so I had to think very hard about what I can offer to my clients that will set me apart from the rest.
If you weren’t working in this field, what do you think you’d be?
An athlete. Maybe a professional footballer, a boxer or a sprinter.
Where do you see yourself going next?
Owning my own gym.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first left school?
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. You've got to work hard, and believe in yourself. You also need to have a sense of humor to know that things aren’t always going to go the way you want. But it's all part of the journey, setbacks are going to happen and you can't be too serious about it when obstacles arise or when making mistakes.
Life doesn’t come with directions, so stick to the pathway that you've chosen and know that mistakes are going to happen, but mistakes happen for you to learn from them. Stick to your script, believe and have overwhelming confidence in yourself. Be your own biggest fan and your own biggest believer even when no one is clapping for you.
What advice would you give to someone interested in joining your industry?
Work smarter, not harder. To say that you're busy and 'hustling away' is a self-promotion of how well you're doing. But having that 'hustle' mentality can easily lead to you being overworked, over stressed, overweight, and cause serious health issues, in addition, losing the mental brain and cognitive power needed to make the right choices and executing them. The only thing that working 70 hours a week proves, is that you have worked 70 hours a week. It doesn't equate to huge results or any expansion at all with your business/client growth.
You can't be slaving away, all day every day, and sacrifice your body and your brain to make it happen. Ultimately, the key ingredient to prioritise in this field is organisation. Being organised is vital in personal training. You need to ensure that you stay on top of EVERYTHING or your clients won't get the best results and you'll make life more difficult for yourself. I'd highly recommend anyone that is interested in becoming a personal trainer to invest into a digital database. Data is key, I have a database which I use to record everything about my clients. This could be recording my client's current weight, their goals, what times they like to work out, workout plans, nutritional plans and scheduling future sessions so that I have PERFECT TIMING. This tool can be used to keep track of how many sessions you've had with each client which makes measuring progress easier. Ultimately, being organised will help YOU in the long run.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given?
If you're a personal trainer, get yourself on social media, as you never know what type of clients you'll attract. You need to take the time and effort to translate and deliver your knowledge in a meaningful way. Your prospects and customers will recognise it and as a result, it will help you generate a constant flow of new customers.
As I am writing this, we're in Tier 5 national lockdown and all the gyms are closed. As an alternative to training my clients in the gym, I’ve held Zoom call sessions, and trained my clients virtually. As a result of hosting virtual training sessions, I’ve been able to earn money from the comfort of my own home!
What quote do you live by?
"Never give up! Without commitment, you will never start; But most importantly, without consistency, you will never finish."