Personal Fitness Trainer – Real-Life Experiences
From the perfect course to securing your ideal job and career, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to finding the ideal personal fitness trainer pathway…
So we’re delighted that our PT graduate Beth Boxall is here to lend a helping hand, sharing her own experiences and shining the spotlight on what it’s really like to work in the fitness industry. Read on and discover her inspirational journey and top tips for career success.
Tell us about your background and how you decided you wanted to specialise in fitness?
I have always been very active, playing hockey, tennis and any sport I could get my hands on. However, it wasn’t until University that I started going to the gym and even then, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I studied psychology at University and did a masters in sport and exercise psychology where I had modules looking at exercise for clinical populations. It was then that I decided this was an area that I really wanted to go into. I strongly believe that ‘exercise is medicine and if it were a pill, it would be prescribed to everyone’.
What made you decide on Personal Fitness Training?
After studying the benefits of exercise for clinical populations, I decided this was an area I wanted to go in to. My degree was Sport and Exercise Psychology, so I had done less work in the physiological side. Although I went to the gym, I didn’t really know much about the body and structuring an exercise session. I decided to do my level 2 fitness and level 3 personal trainer qualifications to enhance my skills in exercise physiology and learn about how to tailor an exercise programme to suit an individual’s specific needs.
Congratulations on your role at The Exercise Clinic. Tell us about what it’s been like to join this inspirational team.
The Exercise Clinic was set up by Chris and Emily in 2016 to help more people diagnosed with cancer experience the benefits of exercise. I joined the Exercise Clinic in October 2018. Since then I have enjoyed delivering personalised exercise programmes, running group exercise classes and providing ongoing support and daily motivation for many clients. We believe that within a few years, exercise will have become part of the treatment pathway of cancer in the way that chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy are today. We are working closely with clinicians to achieve this goal.
We’d love to know about your typical working day?
A typical day starts with a one to one 60-minute exercise session between 7am and 9am. What I do between exercise sessions will vary each day. Some days I will focus on session plans and providing clients with goal setting, feedback or providing remote support. On other days, I may be reading the literature on exercise for clinical populations or look at ways to progress the business and reach more clients.
We have recently started group exercise classes for cancer patients which take place on Wednesday’s at 3pm. As we structure our day around when clients want their sessions, the working day depends on when clients are training. The latest sessions we run are at 19:00.
What types of clients do you assist with exercise prescription?
We started working with prostate cancer patients but have now moved on to working with different cancer populations including ovarian and breast cancer.
What are your experiences from your Fitness Instructor & Personal Trainer courses?
I found the Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer courses at the Academy of Fitness Professionals (AOFP) incredibly helpful. It enhanced my knowledge of exercise physiology and different training techniques. It also made me feel confident in delivering good exercise sessions in line with industry best practice. I found the practical training days most useful particularly as we did a lot of work on core exercises which are especially important for the clinical populations I have been working with.
Would you recommend training to become a fitness instructor to others?
I would definitely recommend training to become a fitness instructor. The AOFP course covered all aspects of fitness instructing and personal training and gives you the confidence and skills to deliver great exercise sessions. I found the practical days incredibly helpful and it was great that they were tailored to help us in areas we wanted more support. I enjoyed the different modules and have loved putting my learning into practice.
What was the stand out moment in your personal fitness trainer education?
The standout moment in my training was the level 3 assessment day. I found it incredibly helpful and after finishing, I was excited to apply my learning to my one to one sessions.
And finally, your top tips to AOFP students thinking of being a personal fitness instructor?
Do it and make the most of the practical sections in each module. They are there to help you and it gives you a chance to note areas you feel confident in and areas you need more focus. Make a lot of notes and take photos at the practical assessment. You cover a lot of important information and the notes and photos are extremely useful when you leave and find yourself next to your client trying to think back to the important information you learnt.
Quick Fire – Getting to know Beth
Exercise of choice – squats
Favourite snack – bananas
Sports team – easy…team Federer!
Top way to relax – going for a stroll on the beach
Your weekend must have – Hockey match!
Healthy tip – If you don’t feel like exercising, plan something small. Once you have got through the first five minutes, you may find you don’t want to stop.