A Day in the Life of a Personal Trainer: Trainer Bonnie

For this week’s installment of Personal Trainer for a Day, it’s time to take a peek into a day in the life of Trainer Bonnie!

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Bonnie is one of my newer blog friends, and like me, trains both in-home and in-club.

Previous Trainers for a Day:

Take it away, Bonnie!

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1. How long have you been training?

I’ve been training for about 4 years now, since May 2008.

2. What’s your schedule for a "typical" work day?

My schedule for a "typical" workday (as "typical" as it gets for a trainer!) consists of:
- Waking up depending on when my first client is – usually around 6:30 am for an 8 am home client.
- Dropping my home-client gear off and packing up my food for the day before catching a ride or the bus to the train to commute downtown to the gym I work at, Fifth Avenue Club.
- Training clients throughout the day
- Taking breaks if clients cancel/getting my own workout in in the down times.
- Pack up and head home between 5 and 7 pm, clients-depending, for home clients.
- Dinner & bed!

Paige here – Bonnie, you’re a hard worker. What a long schedule!

3. What’s your favorite part of being a personal trainer?

Hands down my favorite part about being a trainer is motivating people towards healthier life change. It’s not about their initial goals or even achieving all of their specific goals that I love the most, it’s helping people realize that their new fitness regime is a new part of their life – for the rest of their days! The accomplishments along the way make me smile and inspire me to stay fit too, but I love getting to know people more intimately and cheering for them as they make one life change at a time.

4. What’s your least favorite part of being a personal trainer?

My least favorite part about being a trainer is probably the way the job ebbs and flows. To me training is my livelihood; to my clients it’s just a recreational part of their day – a luxury or "add on," so they don’t always have the same kind of urgency and consistency with which I approach my job.

5. What’s your training "style?"

I operate from a “functional fitness” approach to personal training, that is, the movements I teach people are movements that make life better, easier, and more enjoyable. My goal is to help improve my clients’ quality of life through  physical fitness, and to do so through unique, fun, and shorter. Specifically, I almost always incorporate some type of high intensity interval training (HIIT) into my plans for people. These are simple, compound movements that recruit more muscle than isolated muscle movements and use primarily four moves: squats, pushups, dead lifts, and press-ups while getting your heart rate up and wiping you out! In a word: functional, high intensity workouts.

6. How does a typical personal training session go?

Although I do work with people specific to their fitness-level and experience, a typical session starts with the client warming up (on a treadmill or elliptical, usually) and us chatting and catching up before the workout starts (food check-in, movement check-in, life check-in etc). Then I’ll usually do two circuits of different types of exercises, usually total body workouts with each client unless their goals dictate otherwise. I create and log their workouts and the sessions last 50 minutes at the gym or 45 minutes when I train on my own house to house. I love taking workouts outside in the summer with body weight and TRX workouts too!

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7. Do you have a training "niche" or specialization?

I’m certified in TRX Suspension training and my niche around the gym and as I market myself is definitely functional fitness and high intensity training. I also love different and unique body weight exercises and am known for not using machines often if at all.

8. How many clients do you train in a week on average?

I just started working at this gym downtown, so right now I’m working on building up my client base. My goal is to be at 30 hours a week but right now I’m closer to 15 hours and typically train anywhere from 10 to 25 clients a week (some are a few at once).

9. Do you participate in another fitness-related job in addition to training? (group fitness, gym employee, boot camp, etc) If so, how does that work around your training schedule?

While I’m hoping to start a TRX + Cardio class this fall, right now my training commitments are split between the gym where I train out of and training clients in their homes on my own (which I have been doing for the last 3 years).

Paige again – a TRX & Cardio class sounds SO fun! I’d totally take it Smile

10. What advice would you have for someone thinking of signing up with a personal trainer?

The few pieces of advice I would give for someone interested in signing up with a trainer is this: go for it! All of us (trainers included!) work harder when there is someone watching and guiding you, and the benefit to the rest of your life is worth the money and initial investment. Secondly, make sure you click with your trainer. It’s important to like them (maybe not what they make you do!) rather than not connect and dread your appointment each time.

Your turn: What questions/comments do you have for Bonnie?

What’s the least favorite part about your job? Most favorite?

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Comments

  1. Thanks so much for this neat interview, Paige! I’ve loved reading about others’ schedules and lives and I’m thankful to share a bit of my story too. :)

  2. Great insight! I’m new to your blog (just discovered it last week), and I’m loving catching up on this personal trainer series! I’m glad I’m not the only one with an insane schedule – I just started training & teaching group fitness last summer, so I still have a full-time job in addition to training/teaching in the mornings and evenings around my 9-to-5. Hoping to make the leap to full-time trainer & instructor soon, but if Bonnie’s schedule is any indication, it looks like I’ll be just as busy and over-scheduled then! :)

    • Yes! You will fill up, Michelle – but it certainly takes time. Give yourself grace as your schedule fills and way to go making that full-time leap! :D

  3. YAY, Bonnie! Love you!

  4. great post! i love hearing from other personal trainers! i gotta hand it to you guys, you have to have the patience of a saint to deal with some of the whiney & not so committed clients that prob come through!

  5. gosh i love bonnie. She has the best TRX workouts too! killer. COme train us all Bonnie!

  6. LOVE Bonnie! I would love for her to train me! My fiance is very into the functional fitness as well :D. And I would totally take part in a TRX and cardio class! That sounds like it would be fun and a great workout

  7. Hey Bonnie!
    I’m a teacher, and I have considered looking into personal training as a summer job? Do you think it’s possible to do it seasonally, or would it be a waste of my time unless it was year-round?

    I certainly do love teaching, but it can get exhausting!

    • Hmmm – great question, Amy! I think the hard thing about doing it seasonally is that you’d be in a perpetual state of building up your business. That means long days without full hours training, just being in a gym and putting in hours before you transition to the next season of work. For that reason I’d say it would be hard. If you could do it on the side and without needing to make a full-time income, it could work! …lots of pros and cons to weigh.

      As far as teaching goes, you have a great schedule there – summers and holidays off! But I know how hard teachers work and value them so much – I really respect what you do! Good luck in your decision; feel free to email me if you’d like to chat more about it (bonnie.lang.fitness@gmail.com). :)

  8. I love this series! Thanks Bonnie for sharing! I’m definitely checking out her sight!!!

    • Hey Sarena! I’ve seen you comment on posts from different bloggers and checked your site out before; thanks for the kind note! Hope to get to know you a little better. :)

  9. If Bonnie lived any closer, I’d hire her to be my trainer!!
    Bonnie – you should teach Outdoor Bootcamp classes!

    • I would love to! I do with my clients (take them outside) but have had trouble getting a full class to sign up and commit to a bootcamp. LOVE that in the summers though (and ps – I’d LOVE to train you!). :D

  10. Really enjoyed this post as I am a personal trainer as well! I love hearing how other trainers train clients!
    Check out my blog http://www.starsystemz.blogspot.com

    Thanks C

  11. Love this! I love TRX training and HIIT! Sounds like you are a great person trainer, you love all the things I do :) Thanks for sharing Bonnie, I loved everything you had to say!

  12. Great interview Bonnie!
    I totally agree with you about the challenges of paying the rent as a personal trainer. I find that even when I’m at peak capacity, I never say no to a new client (if we can find a time that works), because next week, half of my clients might drop off the face of the planet (well, not that extreme, but you know what I mean).
    At my gym, I only get paid for the clients I actually see, so if someone cancels or leaves a whole in my schedule, I’m out an hour of work.
    And I agree with Lindsay; love your TRX workouts!

  13. You mentioned that you do HIIT training then you spoke about the compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench, etc.

    HIIT training is a form of cardiovascular exercise. It has NOTHING to do with compound lifts. HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and it’s all about short periods of intense bursts (sprints) and then a short rest period, and then right back to the intense bursts, for the duration of the time. Usually lasting from 10-30.

    HIIT has nothing to do with weightlifting or the compound lifts you described.

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