29 / OCTOBER / 2020

Ever wondered what it’s truly like to be a personal trainer? It sure appears to be a glorious job, freedom of working when you want to, getting to motivate and train people, the high price per hour… What’s not to love!? 

And you’d be right, there are so many incredible aspects when it comes to being a Personal Trainer (or PT as it’s commonly referred to). 

There is definitely the element of freedom in being able to organise your calendar in a way that suits you, most PT’s charge at least $60/hour and they pretty much just stand there and keep conversation going whilst they count your reps and correct your form right! It’s a breeze! 

WRONG! Just like I imagine with the majority of jobs, there is far more than meets the eye! And I was certainly in for a shock when I released that at 21 years old I was actually starting my own business! 

To be honest with you, I never thought I was going to be a personal trainer, the idea had never crossed my mind, in fact, I’d had a few PT’s in the past, but felt like I didn’t NEED one, as I was pretty self motivated (and of course study sports science meant my technique was naturally flawless) 😂😂


To be completely honest, I fell into this job, and never intended to stay longer than 6 months. I was studying full time in my fourth year of University getting my post graduate diploma in Human Nutrition and my goal was to actually start up my own nutrition practice. At the time, I was working at my local Les Mills (higher end gym based in NZ) as an instructor helping write basic programs for members when I was asked if I’d like to step into this role. I had the qualification as a byproduct of my sports science degree (again, I’d never planned on this being a career for me). 

Being the driven, and motivated individual I am, I was up for the challenge, the appeal sounded great… and so the journey began! 

Fast forward 1 month, I’d completed my Les Mills 3-day PT module and started onboarding clients. I was loving it, it was so much fun, I enjoyed the freedom it meant, and the connections I was making and the lives I was changing was all so empowering! 

What I didn’t account for, was the toll it would take on my body and my energy!

Like I said, it looks like a pretty glamorous job right! But as I soon learned, it wasn’t as simple as a 9am – 5pm job, instead it was more of a 5am – 9pm!


Let me talk you through my typical day my first couple of years as a PT (after I finished uni – during uni was 5 x worse as I had to fit in clients, assignments, lectures and exams): 

4.30am – Wake up + shower + grab a coffee 
5.00am – Drive to the gym
5.30am – First client 
6.30am – Breakfast break 
7am – Second client 
8am – Third client/break + coffee 
9am – Fourth client 
10am – Fifth client 
11am – Home to make lunch
12pm – Program writing + admin work 
2pm – Quick power nap + another coffee 
2.30pm – Head to the gym to train myself 
4.30pm – Sixth client 
5.30pm – Seventh client 
6.30pm – Eighth client 
7.30pm – Head home 
8pm – Shower, make dinner, try to unwind 
10.30pm – Sleep 


Okay, so not all days had 8 clients, you’d have cancellations, no shows and meetings that slotted in there somewhere too. Either way, you’re looking at about a 16 – 18 hour day, running on caffeine and limited sleep. 

Then along came BURNOUT! My burnout actually hit in my first year as a PT (as I said, I was trying to juggle uni in there too). However, this burnout continued, and my low energy levels made it harder and harder to get up each morning! 

One thing I think a lot of people don’t realise when it comes to Personal Training is that you never really switch off. Sure, I got to go home for lunch (one of the lucky ones), but whilst I was eating, and at home I was constantly thinking about the clients, the business, how I could improve, what I had to do to keep new leads coming in, continuing to grow and build a full time income out of this. 

Not to mention, the health and fitness industry is ever growing and we are constantly needing to learn, grow and up-skill our knowledge as trainers to keep in the game (something I love doing), but it certainly adds to the overwhelm! 

I learnt very quickly that there is far more to training than motivation, correcting form and counting reps! You deal with EVERYTHING! From injuries, to illnesses, to mental health issues. My job became far more than training just the physical body, sometimes sessions turned into deeper life chats! 

I had woven in my nutrition business too at this point and was seeing anywhere from 25 – 35 clients a week! 

Yes, that many people’s lives, bodies, movement patterns, injuries, diets, habits etc that you needed to remember. I often came home, just so exhausted from the conversations I was present in all day, that I didn’t want to say another word to anyone! 

I was very fortunate to be working at Les Mills Howick, as they did take care of us, having a Manager for all the trainers (even though we are self-employed), someone to guide and support us, and a ever-growing membership base to keep clients flowing in (even though at times it felt like they were non-existent). I was also surrounded by an incredible team of other trainers who were super supportive, and full of experience to learn from! 

This, hands down was what kept me in the game! Without the support network, advice and ongoing learning provided to me at Les Mills Howick, I honestly think I would’ve thrown in the towel after about 6 months (the average life of a PT now).


Don’t get me wrong! If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably thinking that this doesn’t at all sound worth it. The long hours don’t really add up for the pay, the time, effort and energy, but this is where you’d be wrong!

Firstly, despite the fact it took a couple of years, I put set boundaries in place which made a huge difference, but the REWARDS of this job far outweighed any of the cons. 

Being a trainer is a blessing, I get to show up daily and serve people. Help change their lives for the better, give them the tools they need to make an ongoing shift in their habits, lifestyle and health. 

If there is one thing lockdown taught me, it was how much value my clients bought to me. Just their smiles, chat, seeing them progress fills up my cup more than they would ever know! I am so truly grateful for this gift that I have been given and that I get to do this as part of my career! 

But just remember, the next time a trainer might not reply to your email as quickly as you’d like, or look like they are in need of a hug (or nap), they are here to serve and make your health and well-being better in all areas of your life! (At least the good ones are … hahaha, but that’s a story for another day). 


Your Wellness PT,
Sheree xo

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