Hi there! Happy Memorial Day. Long time no speak huh? I have had this post brewing in the back of my mind for the past few days and yesterday seemed like the right time to sit down and type it up. I went a little MIA for a bit with my blog. My posting became very irregular when I start working as a Personal Trainer at a local commercial gym a few months back. My work hours were completely erratic and hard to anticipate. There was also the added pressure of needing to get my training certification complete as soon as possible. So my writing time was certainly impacted by my need to study!
No big deal, right? I figured I would settle into a new routine soon. I have started many new jobs over the years. I anticipated that I would get accustomed to my new schedule and start to settle into a regular schedule. However that did not really happen…
Does She Even Lift?
Personal Training Update
I gave my notice at the gym recently. Honestly it felt like a weight (no pun intended) had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt a simultaneous wave of relief wash over me followed by an acute bout of extreme disappointment. So many people in my life as well as readers of the blog had been incredibly supportive of my decision to pursue a new career. I felt a little ridiculous sharing the news that it was going to be short lived. I was also disappointed in myself. I felt like I had failed since I was unable to overcome the pitfalls that most trainers suffer.
I knew first hand through Scott how hard making a living as a personal trainer can be. However, knowing and doing are two very different things. I was convinced that if I was willing to work hard enough I could fall into that tiny percentage that experience success.
Sales, Sales, Sales
It takes a very long time to establish a solid client base. My eyes were wide open on that one. At my gym I was given a few paid floor hours to basically market myself and drum up business. This can involve walking around chatting with people whether they are considering joining the gym or getting their half hour of cardio on the bike. I remember a trainer did that very thing to me years ago! He startled me by approaching me out of nowhere while I was walking on the treadmill. I certainly was not eager to buy training from him. Personal training is a lot more like being a sales person, and that is a role I am not comfortable in for the most part.
I was given a lot of orientations where I would walk new gym members through a lot of questions and do a quick workout with them. The goal here again is to get them to buy a package and pushing people when they say no is not my thing. The gym was in an area that seemed to cross a lot of economic thresholds. One woman I met told me she spent about $50 a week on groceries for a huge family. She took ramen noodles to lunch for work every day. I did not even have the heart to mention personal training as an option to her. While I am a huge advocate and believer in one on one training it is unfortunately out of the reach of many due to the huge financial cost.
Low Pay, Long Hours
Since I was not at ease in sales my paycheck suffered greatly. My appointments were mostly orientations or training session sold by the sales managers on staff. I was making very little money compared to the time I was investing. I was expected to be at the gym (paid or not) and was given a bit of the side eye when I would slip in and out during the day.
As much as I tried to manage my schedule, it would start to fall apart throughout the day. As the manager of your book of business, you are constantly trying to balance everyone’s schedule changes. Trying to accommodate every client leads to a whole boat load of changes for you.
I would train someone at 6AM and then have a long break until early evening sometimes. Spending ALL of my day hanging out and pretending to workout seemed a little silly. I had tried bringing in my NSCA book to study and my computer, but there was zero extra space. Most days I ate standing up at the gym because there was not even an extra chair to sit on in the small kitchen area. No glamour here.
Does She Even Lift?
If you follow my blog or social media you would surely know I do. Being surrounded by gym equipment did not do much to give me motivation though. In fact, it did the opposite. I worked out significantly less during my time working at the gym. I was having trouble getting the hang of my break time, and when my next client would pop up. At I home I was so tired that I just wanted to sit on the couch.
I would do a circuit here and there or some cardio. In an environment where working out is the only topic of conversation this was a bit confusing to the rest of the trainers. They were constantly asking me about my workouts or when I would work out next. It really just made it less enjoyable for me. One day a newer trainer who had barely ever said more than hello to me asked if I even worked out there. Does she even lift bro?
What is next?
I am not totally sure. As much as I was disappointed over this experience I do not regret trying it or dedicating myself towards getting my certification. I felt it was important if I was going to be giving training advice here too so my reason was twofold.
I truly did love working with people to help them feel better and get stronger. So I am hoping that I will get to do that in another capacity. Until then, it is a lot of freelancing writing, possibly another marketing role and more time connecting with all of you guys.
Ciao for now and enjoy the holiday! Linking up with the lovely Katie today.
Question of the Day: Ever have a job that was not what you thought it would be?