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Why I became a personal trainer

Lauren Allen, 29, from Portsmouth is a personal trainer and coach. 

I have been in the fitness industry now for 10 years, starting as an apprentice in a little tennis club while at college where I was studying media.

For the majority of my career, I’ve been employed which has allowed me to gain some really valuable experience with the security of employment.

I first started personal training on a self-employed basis on the side for a bit more freedom, but it wasn’t until Covid and lockdown struck that I really focused my attention on my own business. I hadn’t really had the confidence to go completely self-employed before but it was the best decision I have ever made.

My passion for fitness

My first introduction to exercise and fitness was when I was much younger, between the ages of 12 and 15. I was training as a competitive dancer training three to for days a week and competing on the weekends. I learned the importance of fitness. mobility and stamina and soon started to develop my own training to improve my performance. At this time I didn’t realise a career within fitness was possible until I stepped into the gym for the very first time at 16 years old.

I’m going to feel very embarrassed here, I really did not like PE at school. I was very self-conscious. Despite dancing in front of hundreds of people my confidence outside of dance was very low. Many years after leaving school I bumped into an old PE teacher in the gym and she couldn’t believe I had entered a career that involved exercise. I think we all have some things we love and others we hate. A class full of different abilities and hobbies is always going to be hard to cater for.

What I love about being a personal trainer

I love working with people and getting to know them. Personal training is about so much more than just exercise, it’s about helping others build their confidence, climb out of their shells and face battles.

There is so much satisfaction in helping someone achieve what they thought would be impossible, whether that’s running a certain distance or finally being able to appreciate their body and accept it.

Read more: I left my finance job to become a personal trainer and firefighter

Body positivity on social media

Social media has the power to make everything look perfect when in reality no one can sum up a life, day or personality in an image. You mindlessly look at an image or scroll through your feed and if you are not careful you may fall into a comparison trap. We need to see bodies of all shapes, colours and sizes to not only relate to but also broaden our minds. There is no normal and there is no perfect and that’s what makes us all incredible.

For years magazines and other forms of media have gotten away with airbrushing and photoshopping images but now we are seeing these movements grow on social media ending this false and misrepresentation of women’s and men’s bodies.

Misconceptions on being a personal trainer

I think the biggest misconception about being a personal trainer is that you only focus on weight loss. The majority of my clients’ goals are related to strength, ability and rehabilitation. Sure weight loss can be a goal but it isn’t always the main focus point. I like to share the other benefits to exercise like cardiovascular health and skeletal strength and make this a big point for encouragement.

Overcoming challenges

At the start of my career, I really think I was overlooked because at the time I was a female in a male-dominated environment. Even though I had knowledge and experience with weight lifting and strength training my advice was always brushed off in the favour of a male trainer.

I had to really push and prove myself for promotions and opportunities and I studied harder to made sure my knowledge couldn’t be questioned or dismissed. I found my worth and ensured I worked with people that respected me and what I did.

Advice to my younger self

I wish I could have given her a ton of confidence. I would have told her that it really doesn’t matter if you fail as long as you try.

Do not be embarrassed by failure or what people will think of you if you fail because each time will teach you something new.

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.
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