The Realities Of Being A Personal Trainer

Tom Fitzgerald
7 min readFeb 25, 2020

I spent 2.5 years working as a Personal Trainer at the start of my career. I was fortunate enough to do it the easy way — I worked in a private facility, set my own hours and choose the clients that I worked with — which likely played a role in my enjoyment of that time working with clients in the gym.

Many people look down on personal trainers and consider it to be an easy job — you stand near your client, count to ten and then check yourself out in the mirror at every opportunity you get. The reality is somewhat different — personal training is a challenging and rewarding job that demands a lot from you to get the most out of it. Like most jobs, the key to getting good results is doing the less glamorous work such as finding the right clients, being prepared for sessions and ensuring you are always bringing value to the client’s training session.

A lot of people who get into the job enjoy the gym and look at the hourly rates that personal trainers charge and decide it looks easy, so they set up a business training clients outside their primary employment to earn some extra money. But they often neglect, intentionally or otherwise, the hard work that comes with being a trainer. If you are considering getting into the fitness industry and working as PT, I would recommend considering some of the realities of the job before you jump in.

You’re Always On

My clients trained three-times per week, which meant we had three hours of time in the gym to improve their strength, fitness and body composition. Most people turned up to their sessions with a neutral level of motivation — they were there, which was a good start, but it was important for me to bring them up to a higher level to push themselves during the session. If I was tired or complaining about something, it would quickly bring down their motivation and compromise the training session.

I often thought about personal training as putting on a show. No matter how tired, sore or sad I was, I needed to deliver a motivated coaching service to each and every client who I saw that day. Of course, there were times where I was ill and simply could not do it, so I would have to cancel those sessions because if I was working with a paying client, I had to be on my game.

Tom Fitzgerald

Nutritionist & Exercise Scientist writing about health, business and my everyday life in Australia.