The roll of personal trainer is one of the most desirable and lucrative in the health and fitness industry. Fitness enthusiasts are attracted to the job by the thought of being able to keep one’s own hours, choose one’s clients and the satisfaction that comes with helping other people improve their lives.
However, people who enter this roll need to be aware of the potential negative consequences to their health and quality of life in order to guard against them.
People usually work as gym instructors before getting qualified to be personal trainers. Gym instructors work about eight hours in a gym five days a week and have the opportunity to use the equipment as much as they want, so are usually in great shape.
But after becoming a Personal Trainer, if you get a lot of clients, which of course you want to do in order to make as much money as possible, you’ll find yourself mostly self-employed and incredibly busy in the mornings and afternoons tending to the needs of your many clients.
There will be the training sessions themselves, the exercise programs to write, diet plans to email, inquires to respond to and websites and Facebook pages to update. Plus you might have to do some travelling to different locations.
This can all easily add up to twelve-to-fifteen hour work days. You’ll start finding it harder and harder to make time to go to the gym, and you’ll start eating more fast-food instead of cooking healthier meals for yourself. You’ll wake up one day and find yourself neglecting your exercise and diet in the way you tell your clients to avoid doing.
Arnold Kemp of the Discovery training center in London, England, says: “A lot of people have a misconception that personal trainers have a very easy, fun and relaxed work environment. We do our best to warn the men and women we train to be personal trainers about the importance of not allowing the busy lifestyle to cause a detriment in their physical and emotional health.”
Another unhealthy habit you’ll find yourself developing is drinking large amounts of coffee each day. Usually about six or seven cups. It’s important that you keep yourself alert at all times, because it’s unprofessional for a PT to appear tired or jaded when he or she is with their clients. But too many high caffeine drinks on a daily basis can be bad for your health.
You’ll need to force yourself to avoid going out most evenings and get to bed early in order to get enough sleep to keep yourself going without large amounts of coffee. Goodbye evening social life.
You can still have a social life during the day at weekends, but you’ll find people’s behavior toward and around you changes after you get qualified as a personal trainer.
You know how people who work in IT often get approached to fix people’s broken computers and laptops and how doctors are often asked for advice by their friends about little issues they have with their bodies? Well people will often ask you for fitness tips or advice as to how they can lose weight. This can get tiresome when you just want to relax, have a drink and forget about work.
You’ll also notice that people feel guilty about what they eat, how much alcohol they drink, and smoking when they’re around you. Even if you don’t say anything they’ll think you’re judging them for doing something unhealthy.
One of the biggest dangers of working as a personal trainer is burning out emotionally from lack of holidays throughout the year. When you’re fully or mostly self-employed, as PTs usually are, the money stops coming in as soon as you go away on holiday.
If in the first years after they start their business, trainers don’t manage to make and save enough money to be able to stop working for a week or more while they go away on holiday and still pay their rent, then they could end up going years without a holiday, which can cause considerable emotional fatigue, even for people who find their jobs enjoyable.
So if you want to become a personal trainer, which is good because it’s a great job despite these potential headaches, plan ahead and think carefully about how you’re going to balance your work and your personal life.