Personal Trainer for a Day

Afternoon! Hope this Monday is going by swimmingly for you.

Just another Monday over here! You know, it’s funny. Normally after I go away – even for a weekend – I take the following day off of work. If I don’t, then I feel behind, frazzled, and frustrated. However, today is a 9 + hour day for me today, and even though Shane and I just got home from our weekend away last night, I feel just fine. I like these every day confirmations that I made the right decision in my big job switch Smile


Luckily I had time to pack a lunch this morning. Salad, Chobani, cottage cheese + strawberries + granola. So far I’ve eaten the salad, which is spinach> two hard boiled eggs > 1/4 avocado> grape tomatoes> balsamic vinegar and the half-frozen Chobani.




While dining, I enjoyed a side of provocative.


You guys. Fifty Shades of Grey is scandalous right from the get go! Brandi and Kaitlin – you were right! I feel so naughty reading it! Especially when Shane’s in the same room as me. You have to read it to know what I mean, because there’s no way  I’m getting into it here! Embarrassed smile

Let’s go ahead and jump right into today’s topic.

Personal Trainer for a Day

When I get emails from readers, 90% of them fall into two categories: those wanting the advice of a certified personal trainer, and those interested in becoming a certified personal trainer.

I received a question from Kara the other day asking several questions about the life of a personal trainer, and after answering some specifics, decided to just write a blog post to refer any future questions! Smile

Keep in mind that the info below is only my experience as a personal trainer. This field varies greatly, and I have experience working in a gym as well as in clients homes. I know many (most) trainers’ situations are much different than mine. Because of this, I’m going to be doing a weekly series for the next few weeks – Trainer for a Day – featuring other personal trainer’s (bloggers you may know!) “typical day” of training.



So here’s mine!


I do both in-home and in-gym training. I train more clients in the gym than in-home, and I always ask if they’d be willing to join the gym before accepting them as an in-home client. I don’t typically train anyone farther than 20 minutes away from my house, but have made exceptions before.

As far as the gym I train at, I’m very lucky in my situation. I train at the gym I’m the manager for, so I don’t pay a fee to train there, nor does the gym take a cut of my price. I’ll discuss more about $$$ later though. It’s something everyone is worried/interested about in becoming a trainer!


My schedule is pretty all over the place, but for the most part, I wake up around 6 in the morning, and either get dressed to train or get my own workout in. I train 2-3 clients before 9:00. Then I usually have a couple hours break before I head to the gym – either to work the desk or train. Then around 4, I train a couple more clients. A typical day consists of about 5-6 clients total for me, but I also manage the gym now, so I average about 40 hours of work between the two each week.

In order to protect my sanity, I have created a couple rules for my schedule:

  • Earliest session of the day is 6:00 am.
  • Latest session of the day is 6:00 pm.
  • One day completely off both (managing and training) jobs
  • No more than 4 clients in a row (3 is preferable)

The thing about training is that I can create my own schedule. However, I also have to accommodate to others’ schedules – if I want to book any clients, at least

Favorite Parts – Pros

I’m the first to say that I love my job. I love the work I do. It’s rewarding, fun, and I feel like I’m giving back to the world – helping it out. The best part about training for me, hands down, is when I get an email/call/text from a client telling me how good they feel about themselves. Last night I came back home to see this text message on my phone:

“Paige, I had a physical this weekend. Down 17 pounds!!! I’m so happy! All credit goes to you.”

– and I was smiling the entire rest of the night. I also responded that she was the one who made it happened, and the credit goes to her. Seriously.

Aside from making a positive difference in people’s lives, there are other benefits of being a trainer:

  • I wear nothing but yoga pants Monday-Friday


  • “Researching” new exercise trends, studies, etc. is leisure reading to me


  • It gives me motivation to keep up with my own workouts
  • I’ve met a lot of inspiring people and those who have positively made a difference in my life

There’s more, but that’s what I have right now Smile

Least Favorite Parts – Cons

The section above might make my job seem all sunshine and roses. But it’s also still a job…work. Sometimes I’ll have a day where I start at 6:30 and end at 7:00 pm and I’ll go home and just collapse. And actually that’s probably my least favorite part – the schedule. It’s not something I dread, but I do enjoy my evenings at home and getting home later than dinner time isn’t something I prefer.

Also, to counterbalance my favorite part above, there are also moments where I feel like I failed. Some clients don’t have as much progress as others, and whether that has to do with their workouts or not, I can’t help but feel a little defeated when it happens. There are also times when clients expect the pounds to magically drop off just because they “have a personal trainer now.” And when they don’t do their share of the work – the additional workouts, healthy eating, and lifestyle changes they get angry and frustrated. You can only motivate and advise someone so much. I sometimes wish I could do that part of the work for them, too, though.

Some other “leasts:”

  • Risk of injury – every day someone’s life is in your hands. I’m as careful as I can be, and I’ve never made anyone puke yet (and hope never to!) but I have had some who were close. There’s also the inevitable “I pulled my _____” that happens with working out, too.
  • You have to be on 100% of the time. The way I see it, people pay good money and expect a good workout, so I have to be 100% on and excited for that person’s workout. If I’m not excited, how am I supposed to expect them to be excited about their workout? This isn’t usually a problem, but everyone has their off days Winking smile
  • Lack of anonymity for my own workouts. I have a separate gym membership at a different gym than I train at for a couple reasons – I don’t want to get burnt out on my own gym, and to be just another “gym member” instead of a trainer while I’m doing my own workouts.


I’m technically self-employed. Although I don’t have to pay a gym a rent or a cut of my dues, I do have to pay the government a hefty amount of taxes each year. They really stick it to those who are self-employed! However, I also get to write a lot off – anywhere from trips that qualify as business trips to gas mileage to workout apparel! There are pros and cons to both sides, but I’m very happy with my situation.


As far as pricing goes, although I won’t divulge into what my exact prices are, I have a certain guideline. I offer packages, so if clients decide to pay for, say, a month’s worth of training sessions, it will cost them less per session than buying individual training sessions. I also do group training, which follows an entire different price range.

For in-home training, I charge a minimum rate, and increase it by how far I have to drive. In order to decide my prices, I researched on the internet, and called gyms both in my town and in different cities in the country “inquiring about personal training.”

This post is getting rather lengthy, so if you have any additional questions, please feel free to let me know by sending me an email –

Have a great day!

Other posts in the Trainer for a Day Series:

What’s your favorite part about your job? Least favorite?

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  1. Ok, the first paragraph just makes me happy for you. I am the one who takes off the day after being away as well. So to get home and not feel like you have to do that must be beyond refreshing. Thanks for sharing all of this info too. I am definitely not in love with my job. I really hate the rut of the schedule and sitting all day long.

  2. I love that my job allows me to be very active in the community, and encourages me to be part of community committees and events. I also get to meet a lot of people, and have awesome networking opportunities.
    Downside? I sit at a desk most days from 8-5. And there are periods when I am so slow (summer and Christmas) and then other times I do not have enough hours in the day – typical the fall months.

  3. Loved reading your take! Hoping I can get something to you for it too. It’s a fun series. :)

  4. That was super interesting, Paige. I really enjoy reading about how other’s spend their days and personal training is especially interesting. I’ve KIND OF thought about it as a possibility in the future but not sure if I’m up for it. I feel like I’d be happier working in the fitness industry but it would be a big leap. Anyway, enjoyed a peak at your day!

  5. This was fascinating to read as I’ve entertained the personal training field for some time now. I’m not sure I’m up for long hours. But it would be doing something I love….hmmm…
    Thanks for the insights!

  6. Ohh I love this! I love getting a “behind the scenes” look at what being a personal trainer is all about. Even if it’s not 100% as glamourous as it sounds ALL the time, the sheer fact that you LOVE your job is huge. And it’s your dream and that’s so, so, so cool. It makes me so happy for you!

  7. Loved reading this! I think if I was a personal trainer, I would definitely want to be in a position like yours where I could work at a gym and train in-home. Right now my “job” is grad school haha. I can’t wait til I actually have a job and don’t have to study and do projects anymore!

  8. I just got hold of the second book I can’t wait to start it. I feel like I can’t read it in public haha. Thanks for posting about a day in the life of s personal trainer I know at some point in my life I want to get certified and do it as my day job so this was really helpful!

  9. This is great! I love seeing the inside scoop and what people do as their professions

  10. Wow, great to hear the inside scoop! Thanks for sharing! You sound like an amazing trainer.

  11. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this series! You’ve been super helpful & have already answered so many questions for me! You rock!

    Thanks, again!

  12. Sable@SquatLikeALady says:

    THANK YOU for this post! I am currently trying to decide whether I should take a PT exam/certification or get certified as a CNA. On the one hand, I have a passion for fitness and helping others achieve their goals, BUT I also love taking care of people and *will* be an RN (and, eventually, hopefully an ARNP) one day. This definitely gives me some perspective and something to think about!

  13. I’m a dietitian and before getting pregnant, I purchased all the ACE materials to get certified. I only have 2 months left to take the exam and I’ve had so much going on that I’ve barely studied! I just thought it would help my business to have some background in fitness!

  14. You live my life!!! It feels so good to have someone get me! Incredible post Paige!

  15. Alexandra says:

    So interesting to know some details of the job! I’ve been thinking about being a personal trainer for a while and this series is definately going to give me tons of in sight :)

  16. Hey Paige!
    This post was EXACTLY what I needed. I am hoping to complete my ACSM cert this summer to become a certified personal trainer. I wonder about scheduling, income, etc. My biggest worry is being a good personal trainer…making sure I make a difference in someone’s life. I have a huge passion for physical fitness and push myself, but I worry that I won’t be able to do enough for someone..or disappoint them. I put so much pressure on myself to be the best sometimes. I hope that personal training won’t be too hard for me! For instance, how do you think of workouts? I do a lot of research myself, and I am studying Nutrition, Fitness, and Health at my college, but do you feel like you run out of ideas sometimes?

    Also, I feel kind of like a “cheater” when I follow other trainer’s programs…I mean, I feel like I should be doing something of my own to practice with and represent. I don’t know, maybe I am just crazy! =P

    I have had experience working in two gyms, and I used to teach a core class and a water class called Water In Motion. I loved teaching a class, and I can’t wait to start helping others though! :)

    What kind of cert do you have? And sorry for the wordy comment!

  17. Thanks for this post Paige! I loved reading about your experience and daily life as a person trainer. I am actually looking into taking a course to be certified in personal training. Did you take a course at college/university? Or did you do something online? Anything you would recommend? Sorry for all the questions! I’ve been looking around and trying to figure out what is best!

  18. Marie-Sophie says:

    I am a lawyer in a law firm. Favourite part of the job: honestly, it’s knowing that I get paid a decent salary (after 8 years of study and training, anything else would be kind of unfair though) and generally don’t really have to worry about being unemployed. Least favorite part: the hours. I generally work from 8am to at least 8pm plus on most weekends. And the general pressure in that industry is pretty high as well, so that can be really exhausting.

  19. Interesting to hear about your hours and how you spread out your training. I’m a trainer, but I made my schedule to train early (6am-1 or 2pm) on M,W,F and later (1pm-8pm) on T/Th, as well as Sat mornings 8-12 usually. This allows me to have the evenings free some days of the week, and option to sleep in other days. However, it also means I train 7-8 clients in a row without any breaks, but that’s my choice! My work day is much shorter and flies by as a result.

  20. Great post Paige, I really like this idea! I know a lot of blog readers have questions about being a PT (and dream of doing so) and this will be super helpful for them.

    That lunch looks so delish! Love the salad and the colors.

    I am the only person who hasn’t been sucked into that Shades of Gray book I think! Haha

  21. I’m going to check out Fifty Shades of Grey now!

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  1. […] Personal Trainer for a Day – Paige has come up with a great idea for a weekly series, based off all the questions she gets about being a personal trainer. The first edition gives readers an interesting “day in the life” perspective, as well as pros and cons of being a trainer. The timing is especially insightful since she recently left her other job to be a trainer full-time. […]

  2. […] excited to continue the Personal Trainer for a Day series. Each week on Monday afternoon, I’ll be featuring a day in the life of a personal trainer. […]

  3. […] Now I’ve got a few more hours of work for the day, but I have a special treat for you guys! – the third week of Trainer for a Day Series! […]

  4. […] itIt’s Monday afternoon…you know what that means. Time for another installment of the Personal Trainer for a Day Series, where personal trainers help those thinking about getting into the career field by […]

  5. […] to show up to their first session but fail to tell their trainer” to the “cons” section of my Personal Trainer for a Day post. When it comes to my schedule, I’m pretty organized, bordering on OCD. When you’re self […]

  6. […] And now, onto the 6th installment of Personal Trainer for a Day! […]

  7. […] Being a trainer, my schedule is often all over the place. Actually, I try to maintain as much of a regular training schedule to keep  my sanity in check, however, my schedule is more or less at the mercy of my clients’ schedules. […]

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