There was a time that having a personal trainer was a luxury reserved for the rich and famous. But today, personal training has been embraced by everyday Australians, meaning that the demand for trainers has grown at a staggering rate. While working with a personal trainer is hugely beneficial for the client – what’s it actually like to work as a personal trainer?
Jen Dugard of Body Beyond Baby is a fitness specialist who has been working as a personal trainer for 9 years. During that time she has trained around 200 people and witnessed her clients kicking goals from weight loss to marathon running. She says that she absolutely loves her work.
Working as a personal trainer has many perks such as flexibility and autonomy, but many personal trainers say that the biggest perk is being able to do a job that genuinely makes a difference. “I love watching the progress of my clients,” says Dugard.
Is there a down side? Well, Dugard says that for her, the downside is that her own fitness has to come second to her clients. “I love to train myself first thing in the morning, but when you become a personal trainer you often give up your preferred training times as that's when it's most popular for your clients to train,” she explains.
As a consequence, Dugard says that she often has to train at random times in the middle of the day, which can be hard to sustain. "Many new personal trainers will find their personal fitness drops as they adjust to a new workload and finding new times to exercise themselves."
So what does a personal trainer do all day? Dugard says that her day begins with a 4.15am alarm. “I'm up, showered, dressed and at the gym by 5.35” she says.
The next three hours are spent working either one on one with clients or running small group sessions. After that, Dugard says it’s time for a “second breakfast” and then it’s off to the park for more group training sessions.
Dugard has arranged her day so that she can pick her children up from school and then spend the rest of the day and evening with them. “A typical one on one personal trainer might train clients from 6-11am, have a break and then be back on the gym floor from about 5-8pm,” Dugard explains.
Being able to work flexibly like this works well for her, but personal trainers are in demand around the clock so you don’t have to be a morning person!
One of the responsibilities of a personal trainer is to tailor each session to the client so that they can begin to meet their own health and fitness goals. This process will often begin with a consultation to determine what those goals are along with a fitness assessment to establish what the client’s current fitness level is.
Another key responsibility of a personal trainer is helping the client to stay motivated. This can involve educating them about good nutrition and good strategies for staying on track.
The fitness industry is booming and there is a demand for good personal trainers. Like any job there are pros and cons, but for personal trainers like Dugard, the rewards are high. “I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she says.
If you're thinking about a career in fitness check out our interviews with fitness experts or learn about the industry trends on the fitness career page.