Lessons Learned from a Career in Fitness: Insights from a Personal Trainer

Lessons Learned from a Career in Fitness: Insights from a Personal Trainer

In my extensive career within the fitness industry, I’ve had the opportunity to work with various prestigious institutions and sports teams. Through these experiences, I’ve gathered invaluable insights and lessons that have shaped my approach to fitness and personal training. From the demanding schedules of professional sports teams to the structured environment of educational institutions, each setting has offered unique challenges and learning opportunities. Here, I’ll share the major lessons I’ve learned throughout my career, with a focus on the importance of adaptability, trust, and continuous learning in personal trainer courses and fitness certifications.

Students attentive to personal training and fitness course

Appreciating the Experience

One of the most significant lessons I’ve learned is the importance of appreciating every experience. In hindsight, I realise I didn’t always value the opportunities I had while I was in the midst of them. For instance, during my time at Fulham, I often dreaded the travel and the challenges of managing players’ routines. However, looking back, I understand how unique and enriching those experiences were. Working in such a high-pressure, high-reward environment provided me with a wealth of knowledge that I carry with me today. It’s crucial for those pursuing personal training courses to recognise the value in every professional experience, no matter how challenging it may seem at the time.

Different Training Approaches

Working with English footballers at Fulham highlighted the stark differences in training approaches between countries. Unlike Australian league or union players, English footballers were wary of weight training due to the misconception that it would make them bulkier and slower. This required me to innovate and adapt my training programs. I shifted the focus from hypertrophy to prehab and power, emphasising strength without significant size increase. This experience taught me the importance of flexibility and customisation in the professional context of personal training as well as its importance in personal instructor courses, ensuring that trainers can meet the specific needs of their clients.

The Importance of Trust

At the Broncos, under the guidance of Wayne Bennett, I learned the paramount importance of trust. Trust between trainers, staff, and players is foundational for a successful training program. Bennett’s philosophy was that trust enables smoother communication and acceptance of training methods. For those thinking about undertaking their fitness certifications, it’s essential to understand that building trust with clients is just as important as the technical aspects of training. Trust fosters a positive training environment where clients feel confident and motivated to achieve their goals.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation

Wayne Bennett also emphasised the value of continuous learning and adaptation. I began to really appreciate the value of listening and learning. Wayne preached a lot about learning something new and different every day, and then integrating those lessons into your practice. This mindset is critical for anyone pursuing a career path in fitness. The fitness industry is constantly evolving, with new research and techniques emerging regularly. Staying updated and being willing to adapt your methods is key to staying relevant and effective as a fitness professional. 

Concentrated male individual in the middle of deadlift exercise

Effective Communication and Leadership

Rod MacQueen, another influential figure in my career, taught me the importance of effective communication and leadership. Coming from a business background, MacQueen ran everything with a focus on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and strategic planning. He instilled in me the importance of meticulous planning and execution. Plan it right the very first time, and do it right – then you would not have to worry about it again. I don’t know how many times he told me this, but he was right. 

Developing strong leadership and communication skills is crucial. Effective trainers are not only knowledgeable but also excellent communicators who can inspire and lead their clients towards their fitness goals.

The Value of Teamwork

Teamwork was another critical lesson I learned under MacQueen. Success in any organisation, whether in sports or business, hinges on the ability to work together towards common goals. Work together and always work towards a common good – always row the boat in the same direction. 

Rod and I worked hard together with both the staff and the players, and one fantastic afternoon at about 5pm at Cardiff Arms Park in Wales, we were handed the William Webb Ellis Trophy: The World Cup! 

Hard Work and Resilience

Perhaps the most fundamental lesson I’ve learned is the value of hard work and resilience. Success is rarely achieved without effort and perseverance. During times when results didn’t go our way, the solution was always to roll up our sleeves, work harder, and stay committed to our game plan. Achieving fitness goals, whether personal or for clients, requires dedication, consistency, and a resilient mindset.

My career in the fitness industry has been a journey filled with learning and growth. From appreciating every experience to understanding the nuances of different training approaches, the importance of trust, continuous learning, effective communication, teamwork, and the value of hard work and resilience, each lesson has been pivotal. For aspiring personal trainers and those pursuing fitness certifications, these insights can serve as a guiding framework for a successful and fulfilling career. Embrace every opportunity, stay adaptable, build trust, lead effectively, work as a team, and always be ready to put in the hard work. These principles will not only enhance your professional journey but also the success and satisfaction of your clients.


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