Updated: Aug 10, 2019
I remember and will never forget when I passed my PT exams, really proud and super excited to get going!
I wasn’t the sporty guy at school, although I tried, perceptions would’ve concluded otherwise. So when word got out that a decade later, Seb Ferrari from school is a PT, there was an element of disbelief!
I gained my first client from an old school friend. The client was a recreational hockey player that was looking for some conditioning to improve her performance.
Sessions were conducted on Clapham common, I lived in Lewisham, travelling 2 hours for a 1 hour session wasn’t ideal and far from business savvy! I also had my full time job co-owning a motorsport team based in Basildon, Essex. So the commutes were real! Stress of traffic and occasionally trying to rip the steering wheel off to throw it out the window.
I came to the decision that personal training was a career I wanted to pursue. Therefore I started to make the necessary steps. I explored the typical options;
Employed Personal Trainer for ‘XYZ’ Gym;
This involved an initial application online followed by a telephone call. After the call I was invited into said gym for a day of ‘assessment’ and interviews. The interview lasted around 30mins in the café area. I was then asked to conduct between 1-2 hours of ‘ground work’. I’d be occasionally watched on my performance on how well I tidied up, wiped down the equipment and how I interacted with the members.
I then had a follow up straight after, where I was asked for feedback. I was thrilled to have then received a phone call the next day offering me the job. It was a reasonable monthly base salary which would increase based on the amount of hours I’d conduct with clients.
I couldn’t help but feel used from the second I walked in however. The initial interview felt rushed, the groundwork was more like free labour and unless they were hiding, the ‘assessing’ was non-existent. Instead, it felt as if they were helping me, preaching from their big brand expecting trainers to drop to their knees begging for work!
I couldn’t help but feel that this was a small insight to how life would’ve been if I took the job.
I’d been told I would have to conduct 30 hours a week on the gym floor, at this time I cannot train clients. I could then train clients on top of this. However, my gym floor rota was more important than client needs. Furthermore they’d be paying me circa £10 per PT session I conduct, despite charging £50 to the client.
This seemed floored and although I almost fell for it, a friend of mine warned me how brutal and demoralising it can be.
Hours for Space;
Another very typical model is the free labour for free space. I also explored this option, had similar interviews with these gyms.
It didn’t bode well that I was being asked to work prime hours, when potential clients would need me. Furthermore it became evident there was a huge amount of PTs per gym. Creating a hug amount of competition.
This is the option I chose, pay monthly and get on with it. An option I was happy with until the truth came to light. Seems simple, pay rent, use our space. However, you must abide by their rules, wear their branding, use their marketing material, only train members as any externals you introduce must become a member first.
I spent three years under this method, received one referral in that time, all others were achieved through my own efforts.