A day in the life of a Personal Trainer

Grads Corner
20 August 2018 | Grads Corner | Guest Author

Getting qualified as a personal trainer means that you can work on a freelance basis, fitting classes around a schedule that suits you. It’s a fantastic qualification to have, as it means you can teach private classes around other work, if you have other skills, and you can take your work anywhere in the world. Many people thrive on the flexibility and social aspects of the work, and take it on as a full-time career. Many big corporations hire internal personal trainers in their company gyms, and with health and wellness being a high priority for many people, it can prove a lucrative industry to break into.

Nikita Johal is a personal trainer based in North London. She has given us an insight into a normal day for her.


Working in health and fitness means an early start! I wake up & get ready before 6:30am and make a coffee for the walk to work. Luckily I only live a 5 minute walk from the gym where I’m based, otherwise it would be much earlier!


Open up the gym and do opening checks. I need to make sure all equipment is in the right place, and that everything has been wiped down from the night before. I have half an hour, and members will start arriving pretty much as soon as the gym opens, so I need to be on hand to answer any questions too. 

06:45-11:45 - Morning shift

I’ll take a class at 7:15am, usually a high intensity workout like HIIT or Spin. I won’t have breakfast until afterwards; no-one wants to exercise on a full stomach! I’ll have a quick 15 minute break to eat, usually something I’ve prepared the night before.

For the rest of shift, duties include chatting to members, answering the doors to new people wanting tours, keeping the general gym area tidy and performing weight area and toilet checks every hour.


I start training my own clients now that I am off-shift. This can vary from day to day, but I would usually have clients through till about 4/5pm with a couple of short breaks for lunch and snacks.


This is usually the end of my official working day. This can vary and I often finish around 3pm. However, I have regular evening clients who want training sessions after work, so I’ll have an early dinner and be back at 7pm, usually taking two sessions back-to-back, so I won’t properly get home and switch off until about 9pm. It’s a long day!


Pros of the work:
  • The money can be really great, as you are running your own business, charging your own rates. I am contracted to work 15 hours over the week for the gym, including taking classes, and in return I keep 100% of profits from private training.
  • I have formed great relationships with my clients and it's a social job, where you can really see that you’re making a difference to people’s lives
  • You can pick and choose when to train your clients around your shift times in a way that suits you, which is great if you’re planning on taking further qualifications
  • You make lots of contacts, meeting different personal trainers and industry professionals on a regular basis
Cons of the work:
  • It can be incredibly tiring working early or late shifts when you also end up training clients all day around it. Days can often be 12/13 hours long with minimal breaks
  • Although you can pick and choose your hours, people often want very early or very late sessions around their work times, which means that you’re home late and up early. Ironically, it can be quite challenging keeping yourself healthy!
  • It’s very common to have last minute cancellations, meaning you can go all the way to work to find you have to go straight home.
  • Depending on how you structure your booking policy, it can be hard to budget effectively. Some weeks will be packed, and you need to learn how to manage your finances so you’re not left short of money in a quiet week.
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