Beautiful clients, personal bests, uploading Instagram pics of yourself, this is the life! Well maybe for some, but for most, it’s a little different – PTA goes behind the scenes to bring you the real Personal Trainer life, different but good! This week we’re looking at the work itself.
You will most likely be training “General Pop” – no not an old guy in the army, but the normal, general population of people out there! They will come in all shapes and sizes. They will come with varying attitudes, budgets, capacities and commitments. Although it will be possible to specialise, and in fact finding a niche is to be encouraged, the reality is that the people I know that have a passion for football or cricket or elite powerlifting or training models and actors have all put in years to build up that clientele. So, yep, general pop it is.
What this means in practice is that these people will be working, time poor, maybe cash poor and very likely suffering from an injury, a weight issue or an illness. What this also means is that you are going to be able to work miracles! Just this week one of my clients sent me a before and after photo of herself. Quite apart from the amazing trust she showed in me in doing that, was the thrill of seeing my direction with her hard work pay off, truly exciting. She even commented it is the first time she has felt good about herself in a long time. So no, not always models, but probably, definitely better when it’s a “real” person getting real results.
It means however you will need to be flexible. Monday morning this week was “sorry I am in the USA for a month, the company gave me no notice”. It was, “I’ve been transferred, this is my last week with you”, and to top it off, someone was sick. You can moan and complain, or embrace the fact that a certain percentage of your sessions every week will fall through. How many? Up to 25%. There is no sugar-coating this bit, especially if you work at a gym with a business clientele, they will often have to make last minute changes. But it’s not all bad because there is plenty to do behind the scenes if you set yourself up properly, so you can get a jump start on your admin.
While we’re on the subject of the “business” behind your training, let’s talk about the hours. One of the cool things is that most people that end up as PT’s already love training so you can factor your training into your day, using the down periods to your advantage. Down periods vary from club to club, yours may not even have them, but most will have extremely busy times maybe before work, lunch and after work. When you are building your business you are going to want to be as available as possible so it may mean for a while at least early starts and late finishes.
One of the successful young trainers I know regularly does 12 hour days at the gym. Over a week this equates to face to face client time of 35 hours, administration time of 5-8 hours, own training time of 4-6 hours and then a couple of relaxed hours a day either resting or eating. By contrast, however, once you’ve been training for a while you can create more of a lifestyle business and fit your clients around your availability allowing you to work 4 or 5 hour days and still get a good income. It all depends on your goals. And of course, there are the in-betweeners, who simply work a normal 8 hour day and who are happy with that.
No, it’s not all Instagram pics, indeed the hours can be long, but if you’re up for it you can create an incredible lifestyle, and make a significant difference to people’s lives. You become a lot more to people than a personal trainer, you can help with their whole life, but more on that next time in Part 2 of the Personal Trainer Life.