Kirsty Beavis is a master trainer and sports massage therapist for leading fitness chain David Lloyd Clubs. Here she talks us through a typical busy day working as a personal trainer
Getting a personal training job
Instead of going to university I gained my personal training qualifications through Lifetime Training and Premier Global.
I had previously worked as a self-employed personal trainer for around eight years but I got fed up of working for myself. I wanted to work with a great company, like David Lloyd Clubs, and train to become a master trainer with a client base and classes of my own. I also had an interest in educating and training other personal trainers.
After searching for relevant jobs online I came across an advert on the David Lloyd website for a personal training vacancy close to home. I submitted my CV and received a call back from the sports manager on the same day. I was invited to attend an interview, which lasted two hours. I was tested on my engagement in the gym and was introduced to everyone at the club. Later that day the sports manager called to offer me the job and ask if I could teach a Zumba class that evening. Of course I said yes.
A day at the gym
If you want to be a successful personal trainer you need to be a morning person. Early starts are a feature of the job. For me the day starts at 4.30am, and as my days are long and active breakfast and a strong coffee are a must.
I drive to the club in time to meet my first personal training client at 6am. This is usually a commuter who has to rush off for a train. These early time slots are typically taken by business people trying to fit training around their working day. I have a steady stream of clients throughout the morning, filling hourly slots at 7am, 8am and 9am. Again, these tend to be early risers who want to get the day off to the best start.
At this point I try to take a short break. The gym always gets busy at around 9.30am as many of our members who are mums come in following the school run. From mid-morning up until lunchtime the gym is buzzing with members, classes are fuller and gym floor activities are really popular. I work back-to-back teaching classes and one-on-one with personal training clients until about 1.30pm when the gym starts to quieten down.
Usually I use this time to go home, grab a bite to eat and work on programme planning and client emails. I also use this client-free time to research new ideas and training methods and learn new teaching techniques.
I head back to the club for 5pm or 6pm for more personal training clients. Some days I may teach a class or two at this time but mostly these slots are dedicated to personal training. I have at least three clients booked in for the evening and finish work at around 9pm. Once I get home I recap on my day and check client emails. I then prepare what I need for the following day before heading to bed.
Long working days of 16 to 17 hours are the norm so you need lots of energy, stamina and commitment to make it work.
One of the best things about being a personal trainer is the chance I get to help people achieve their goals and aspirations. Encouraging people to enjoy exercise and not look at it as a chore can be hard work but it is a passion of mine. I love helping people to make better choices and changes to their bodies. It makes me feel very proud.
There are lots of plus points to a career as a personal trainer but that isn't to say that the job is without its challenges. The early mornings and late evenings are tough and occasionally lead to unsocial hours. It's also difficult when a client thinks that just because they have a personal trainer they will get where they want to be. I want them to see the results they want but to achieve their goals they have to put in the work in their day-to-day lives (I only see them once a week for an hour).
In terms of career development I'm very lucky in the sense that I'm now where I wanted to be when I started out. I'm a master trainer for David Lloyd and teach other personal trainers in the UK and in Europe. I've worked really hard to get to this stage and I would love to increase my client base, carry on teaching and also possibly do some presenting at conferences to spread the personal training and fitness industry message. I'm also working on striking a better work/life balance.
Advice for aspiring personal trainers
To those who would like to get into personal training I would emphasise the importance of networking. Follow the careers of other personal trainers and educators and never miss an opportunity to make industry connections.
Listen to your colleagues and if you have a good idea don't keep it to yourself, share it with others in your profession. Put yourself on regular training courses to help progress your career and never stop learning.
Whether employed by a company or working for yourself the first few months are tough but stick with it, the long hours will pay off eventually.
Always write your short, medium and long term goals down on paper, you are more likely to achieve them if they are written down.
For more information about responsibilities, working conditions and salary expectations see the personal trainer job profile.