Personal Trainer
Virgin Active

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Robert J

00:00:02 My name is Robert. I’m a personal trainer and I work for Virgin Active in Mill Hill. It tends to be an early start, at work for maybe six thirty for the early morning clients that want to get in some training before they go to work. Each day is varied because you’ve got different clients have different goals, whether they want to lose weight, or whether they want to increase their fitness, or is it just rehabilitation from a knee injury or lower back pain, maybe some posture correction. So each day is varied and clients are different from week to week, so there’s different challenges you’ve got to overcome.

00:00:40 After I did my GCSEs I went on to do AS levels. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life clearly so I just kind of, I was good at art, so I decided to study graphics. I thought computing would help, so I did an AS level in computing. The other thing I studied was music technology because in case I wanted to be a music producer. And the fourth one I did was mathematics because I thought I should do something a bit academic. Unfortunately, I failed three of them, so the only one I passed was the graphics one. It did come as a bit of a shock because I did quite well on my GCSEs, but I think it was more my priorities changed when I went to college and it wasn’t sixth form, so I left school and went to college, and I kind of switched my focus, I guess.

00:01:30 I spent a lot of time playing basketball, and that’s what I really wanted to try and move into. I wanted to be a professional basketball player, so kind of studies took a bit of a hit there. It was when I got my results, after that first year at college, is when I thought to myself I either go for the basketball all the day, do you know what I mean, and fully commit to that, or I kind of go down the kind of academic route and stuff, and although basketball was doing well and I was good, I don’t think I was quite good enough. I decided to play basketball for fun and more recreation rather than a career, and decided to continue with my studies but to switch what I was doing.

00:02:12 I decided I wanted to be a sports nutritionist, and I decided to go to a different college and I did a BTEC National Diploma in sports science, and I really excelled in that. I did two years in that, so it was a big contrast from the AS levels I was doing, and it was just the change of subject. It wasn’t that I wasn’t intelligent it’s just I wasn’t motivated by those subjects. I think if I hadn’t have failed at that point there on my AS levels, it wouldn’t have given me the drive and passion to really work at what I’ve done now to get to where I am now.

00:02:48 So I was working at Virgin part-time throughout university just to help pay the bills but also because I was studying sports science and then I was working as a sort of fitness consultant/gym instructor on the weekends, so it helped apply my knowledge from what I was learning into working with members, and clients, and stuff. So when I finished, I decided to go fulltime as a personal trainer, as opposed to just doing the gym instructing. So now what I’m currently doing is fulltime personal training, and, yes, it’s going really well. I’m really enjoying it.

00:03:22 My sort of first role model has been Michael Jordan when I was younger, as he’s a really successful basketball player. I always wanted to be as good as him. He trained so much more than everyone else in the team. Like, I’d read about how he stayed behind at the end of practice and he’d just carry on shooting the basketball, or he’d stay really late at night, and it’s just being so passionate about something and having that determination to just follow through on everything until you get the result, and even when things don’t go too well to come back stronger.

00:03:54 End

Robert J is a Personal Trainer at a Virgin Active health club. He didn’t do well in his AS levels – he had been spending a lot of time playing basketball. So he changed to BTEC sports science and excelled in that. “I think if I hadn’t have failed at that point there on my AS levels, it wouldn’t have given me the drive and passion to really work at what I’ve done now to get to where I am now.”

More information about Sports coaches, instructors and officials

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

61%  male 
39%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Sports coaches, instructors and officials work with amateur and professional sportsmen and women to enhance performance, encourage greater participation in sport, supervise recreational activities such as canoeing and mountaineering, and organise and officiate at sporting events according to established rules.
There are no formal academic requirements although individuals must have experience in their sport and the relevant coaching and refereeing qualifications. Applicants to coaching courses must normally be over 18 years old and hold a first-aid certificate. Some courses encompass coaching awards within broader programmes of study. NVQs/SVQs in coaching are available in the context of certain sports. Background checks including a CRB check are required for those working with children.
  • Coaches teams or individuals by demonstrating techniques and directing training and exercise sessions;
  • Controls team selection and discipline and recruits ancillary staff such as coaches or physiotherapists;
  • Monitors and analyses technique and performance, and determines how future improvements can be made;
  • Deals with administrative aspects such as arranging matches, contests or appearances for athlete or team, and organising required transport and accommodation;
  • Provides information and develops facilities to encourage greater participation in sport, and to enhance the standards of participants;
  • Understands health and safety aspects of various activities and ensures any statutory requirements are met;
  • Inspects and maintains specialised clothing and equipment;
  • Manages the playing areas and competitors, starts race, competition or match and controls its progress according to established rules.
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