From the outside looking in, being a personal trainer has a lot of perks. We can set our own hours and schedule, we get to train ourselves in between clients, we get to show up to work in comfortable clothes while a lot of you have to wear suits in 100 degree weather and we get paid by the hour quite well. Here are a couple of areas however, that often get overlooked:
I remember when I first started as a PT I had this one client that would routinely cancel on me multiple times a week. Two out of 3 sessions a week without fail I’d get the dreaded cancellation text. A lot of clients think that cancelling a PT session is ok as long as they re-book the session at some other point in the week. This is incorrect - when you cancel and don’t give your trainer enough time to find a replacement client for that time slot, the trainer loses out for that hour. You moving your cancelled session to another day of the week still doesn’t help make up for that lost hour. PT’s earn by the hour, so a lost hour is lost income.
TRAINING TIME SLOTS
Successful trainers have several clients all fighting for similar time slots, so when you cancel with less than 24hrs notice, don’t be perplexed when you get charged. Those 6-8am and 6-8pm time slots are golden hours for most people. Everyone wants to train then, either before or after work. If you regularly cancel on your trainer don’t be surprised when they give that time slot to someone else.
Excuses like “I slept in”,"I’m hungover", or "I have a headache” etc don’t fly in my book. You need to be physically maimed for me to buy it. If you’re experiencing DOMS in your legs, we train the upper body, and vice versa. There is always something that can be done, whether that's rehab, light stretching or fine tuning technique on smaller muscle groups etc. On the flip side, showing up hungover and not ready to train or give your best is also a sign of disrespect. I'm always going to be more flexible with clients cancelling sessions if they fit into that group of seriously dedicated clients that follow my nutrition advice and show up on time.
I’m just gonna come out and say it. Some of you smell fucking insane when you show up to the gym. We gotta stand next to you for the next hour, the least you could do is two swipes under the arms to help us out. I’ll never forget the time I was working at a gym and someone smelt so bad you could smell it at the other end of the gym. That was some next level stank. One of the best things to come from Covid is the fact trainers have to wear masks now.
Although it may seem like we are rolling in cash and have amazing work schedules, at any given time every single one of our clients could cancel or end up leaving town. Just like that, those 30 hour work weeks could become zero. That scenario plays out in most trainers minds constantly and that pressure can definitely build up at times. We don’t have that stability of a monthly paycheck like most jobs. Being self-employed comes with a lot of added stress.
Trainers have to be available when their clients need them, so 6am starts Monday - Saturday are a regular thing. When you have clients that finish training with you at 8pm most evenings, that leaves very little time for anything else. Forget about going out for dinner or drinks midweek. All I'm usually thinking about is how many hours I have until I need to be up again.
The Covid lockdowns definitely affected a lot of people last year, but trainers got hit extra hard. For a lot of you, the worst part of the lockdown was having to work from home or not being able to socialize after 10pm. Miss me with that bullshit. You were still getting paid to sit at home in your pajamas with your feet up on the couch right?. With gyms closed that meant zero earnings for many trainers. Listening to people complain about only being able to have dinner with two people at a table made me want to rearrange their faces on multiple occasions. “why don’t you just train your clients outside then?”. When it’s a million degrees outside no one wants to be doing that nor is it safe. Also the clients we would normally train at the gym would now have to figure out where to go shower after that outdoor workout so they can make it back to work or to dinner afterwards. Logistically it’s a nightmare.
All things said, being a PT is definitely the profession I was meant to do and I wouldn't change it for the world. Helping people get in amazing shape and also boosting their confidence so that they become almost cocky versions of themselves is what I enjoy most. Just do me a solid and don’t be coming into the gym smelling all types of crazy, please.