After having my daughter, I felt horrible, I hated what I saw in the mirror.
I’ve always struggled with my weight and got sucked into every fad going.
When she was around 11 months I started running, I lost a little weight and then started with a personal trainer (PT), then I got pregnant with my 2nd, this was a huge shock as I’d had IVF with my 1st, I carried on with the pt until I was 16 weeks then stopped.
After my 2nd was born, when she was about 4 months old, I started going to the gym again and had a pt for a couple of month but he wasn’t specially post natal trained. I lost weight quite quickly and found a real passion for it and as I lost weight people started to ask how I was doing it, and this inspired me to become a personal trainer and specialise in pre and postnatal because I found from personal experience that there was a lot of misleading info out there around diet and exercise when pregnant and in the 1st few years following. I found a deep desire to help people to feel better about themselves and cope with life better in what can be a negative world.
In Jan 2017, 3 days after I decided to enrol in my course my husband got made redundant, this meant I had to stay in my part time job at a bank, study and be a mum. He quickly found a job and things got back on track.
I did all my pre-coursework and went for my 1st exam to become a fitness instructor at the end of Feb (you have to do this before you take your personal trainer exam) to then prepare for another 5 weeks later. The weekend I was away doing it, my eldest daughter broke her thigh bone, she then had to spend 10 days in hospital, my work were not very understanding about the fact that someone had to be with her 24 hours a day and my husband didn’t get paid if he didn’t go in and couldn’t get holiday. She was 2.5 years old and our 2nd was 10 months old at the time. She was released and was in a cast from the waist down for 6 weeks. I managed to produce a body of work and pass the 2nd exam, whilst being at home looking after them both. She had her cast on for 6 weeks and then took her another 3 weeks before she walked again.
…by this point I had gone back to work from maternity and my job had become unbearable so I decided to get a job in a gym to gain some experience whilst I finished my course.
My next exam was October, by this point I had gone back to work from maternity and my job had become unbearable so I decided to get a job in a gym to gain some experience whilst I finished my course. I finished my well paid job and started working part time on minimum wage in the gym at the beginning of October 2017. 2 weeks later, I passed my PT exam and pre & postnatal qualification. I setup my own company and started to train people.
It wasn’t without its challenge, I would sometimes work 8 hours in the gym then have clients so wouldn’t see the girls for a couple of days. In June of 2019, I made the decision to go fully self-employed and this gave me a better work life balance. 2 days after I handed my notice in my eldest daughter broke her collar bone, seems to be a habit, but not having to answer to anyone and being able to look after her confirmed I made the right decision.
It’s was very daunting becoming fully self-employed and having 2 young children. If I don’t make money we could end up with no food on the table. Unfortunately, we’re not in a position where my husband earns enough to pay all our bills. So I have to go out everyday and try to better the day before.
The fitness industry and especially personal training is a very male dominated industry, I’ve had to overcome people saying I don’t know enough about a sport to train someone, I’m not lean enough, I’ve not been in the industry long enough, I’m not good enough and I didn’t deserve some success.
But what inspires me to push through this (and moments of self-doubt) are the clients I train and when they hit goals. Helping people feel better about themselves inside and out, everyday. Helping people understand that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be a chore. My girls also inspire me to be better as they are always watching and they are the future. What I teach them will go with them through life and I always want them to feel like they are enough.
The hurdles I’ve had to overcome are redundancy, hospitalised child, self doubt and there has even been times where I’ve questioned myself…have I made the right decision?!
The fitness industry is also very crowded and I’ve had to try and stand out, be different and not just be another fitness person. Yet still be someone that understands where my clients have been and able to help them get to where they want to be.
I cope managing a business and parenting by mostly winging it and juggling (LOL). But seriously, I try and set my days that I work and in that day I will have 1-2 hour ‘power hour’ blocks. I work solidly for those times when I’m home and not get distracted by the million and one things I have to do in the house. I write a ‘to do’ list for the week to work through on a Sunday but I don’t book any PT sessions on Sundays as this is family day and I try to book clients in when my husband is home in the evening, as well as set days where my youngest (who is now 3) is at nursery.
I started my company in 2017 with no clients, I advertised and hoped for the best, I have built it up over the last 2 and half years so I now earn enough regularly to support us. I not only offer in person personal training but also offer online coaching as well. I’ve written and ebook and in the process of writing a recipe book between tantrums and bed time. I hope to have my own studio in a couple of years.
Tips for people starting out – go for it. Just do it, even if it’s not perfect yet just put it out there.
Save up a month worth of wages before leaving a regular paid income job and if you don’t have one, just go for it.
It will be hard, there will be times you cry and you feel like you’re not enough but believe in yourself and trust that you will get to your goals!