Updated: Mar 4
Running my own business is something that has always been in my blood, my father was a former CEO of H Goldie & Co; one of the original six De Beers diamond brokers and very distinguished in his 45 year career in the diamond industry. It has always been my dream that I would follow in his footsteps and run a successful business but most importantly, like my dad, have a passion for the core values at the centre of that career choice.
After two attempts to appeal a deferral on my army reserves application I took this as a sign that a more realistic, secure and complete future would be personal training. I committed to a Fast Track personal training course in October 2017, one which I had trained for physically and prepared mentally for, over Summer in order to be ready to ace all the exams so that I could have my pick of gyms after qualifying. Despite my father passing away before the completion of my studies this is exactly what I achieved.
I made another pro/con list after scaling down a list of gyms that might be suitable to my goals and personality. I had also remained friends with Sabrina, my previous personal trainer, she gave me some insight on how to prepare for the Gymbox brand of gyms which, having trained there, was on my list despite being a higher end gym than many wouldn’t choose to start at. I also had selected Third Space; to achieve a higher earning client base and Fitness First; to provide a more numerous range of clients.
I arranged to visit all three gyms so that I could see the layout and feel the “vibe” of the three gyms I had selected as I believe it’s always important to do your research. During my visit to Third Space I discovered that they have a policy of not hiring PT’s who haven’t already established themselves and that haven’t done the requisite number of hours. While Third Space invited me to reconnect with them after the number of hours had been claimed I did manage to secure interviews at both of my other choices.
At my Gymbox interviews I was thrown in the deep end: Starting as a personal trainer in a gym its all about the hustle and new trainers are often overlooked and ignored. The manager picked a random man, listening to his head phones no less, who was clearly a long time gym attendee and doing tricep pushdowns; it was obvious that he didn’t want to be disrupted. My task was to give him alternative exercise selections. He was clearly embarrassed to be selected but little did he know that he was just a guinea pig and that this was the hustle a PT needs to stick it out and make the gyms rent fees*.
You needed nerves of steel to work at Gymbox and Fitness first was somewhat the softer and less intimidating option. However, even though he was a really lovely interviewer and very keen to have me the other manager who was also interviewing me made a variation of my name from time to time and that lack of detail and attention failed to impress me. I also felt that with the support they claimed to provide for the first month to new PT’s it would be like having a hovering mother figure looming over me. Being someone who was setting out to be their own boss, in a role that is actually self employed and not an employed position, this was a total negative.
I was ecstatic to be offered a personal trainer position for both Gymbox and Fitness First - on the spot, at the interviews, rather than after the usual few days taken for an offer to be made. Both of these gyms are selling an image of you as a PT just as much as they are selling the facilities and ambience to their clients. Except they aren’t as sweet to the PT’s; once they’ve wrapped you into the contract you’re stuck with extortionate rent so picking the most proficient and profitable company was vital.
I picked Gymbox at their Stratford location which I heard had a reputation for being very competitive and intimidating for new personal trainers. This was very soon after my father had died and I was already quite fragile and struggling through each day but determined to make my father proud.
*I’ll perhaps write a blog on this in the future as it’s a side of gyms that many of their members don’t know about and is very revealing.
Photo Top left: Exterior Gymbox, Stratford 2018
Photo Top right: Interior Gymbox, Stratford 2018
Photo Bottom Left: Dressed in uniform for my first day at Gymbox (01/02/18)
Photo Botton Right: Training previous client Valeria in July 2018