By Ryan Porter — Founder
Our third Trailblazer named Alex. This Alex is a Personal Trainer. Here's his story:
What was your first job ever?
Petroleum transfer technician (I pumped gas)
Did you like it?
No, it sucked.
Most important lesson you learned from that job?
Don't be a petrol pumper. other than that, the only thing it helped me with was talking to people, which would help later on in life
What do you do for a living now?
How did you get into it?
I've been an athlete since I was a kid, started out with running competitively, then I got into kickboxing at about 16. I didnt think I could make a career with it though.
Finished high school, went to university, but it wasnt for me and I didnt know why I was there. Tried again at university doing sport and exercise science, but just couldnt get into the physics etc that was required. I left, worked as a car valet for 6 months while saving money to do an 8 week full time Personal Trainer course, finished it up and got a job in a gym.
How do you like it?
I love it. People pay me money for me to punch them in the face, whats not to like?
Being my own boss. I decide what each day is gonna be like.
The hours. I will often roll out of bed at 4am, and finish work at 9pm (gaps during the day though).
Describe a typical work day:
Wake up at 5, coffee, coffee, kiss wife goodbye, go to the gym for first block of clients.
I typically come home at around 9ish, chill with wifey while watching starcraft on twitch for a little bit and have breakfast, then take her to work (shes an engineer- the brains of the operation).
Depending on the day I'll either go back to work or chill at home for a little bit (I live very close to the gym which is quite handy).
The training I do with my clients depends on them and the level they are at but generally it consists of boxing or kickboxing training- padwork, bagwork, conditioning exercises etc. and sparring if they are advanced enough/want to do it.
I'll always be back in the gym in the evening either doing a shift for the gym manager (babysitting the gym basically) or training clients.
Doing the shifts obviously pays less but it's a good way to meet people and it's the cruisiest job in the world.
Like I said earlier this usually means me going home pretty late, on the days that I dont, I am at my wifes disposal for watching a film, date night, going ceroc dancing (we're both awful) etc.
In between this i will usually train at least once a day. Running, swimming, kickboxing, weight training... gotta keep up appearances.
Has anything wild/crazy/ridiculous happened to you while working?
I've broken up a few fights between gym goers.
Because of the number of people coming to our gym we always have several "odd" people at any one time. For a few months somebody was secretly taking dumps in various locales around the gym.
We have had one guy dubbed "the book murderer" who would walk on the treadmill for hours, reading and tearing pages from books.
I have been propositioned by clients several times which is always a chest puffer, but unfortunately this has only happened since I met my wife, maybe I was too scrawny before that.
What was the hardest thing about becoming a personal trainer?
For me personally, accepting that I wasnt gonna cut it at university.
My mother is working on her doctorate, my sister has a masters in molecular biology. I was always clever at school but I just did not work in the university environment--I fell asleep in the first ten minutes of most lectures.
When did you know that it was a job you’d like to stick with for a while?
The first week working at the gym. I loved it. I spent all day talking to people, helping them out with (mostly obvious to me) questions.
Having a spa and pool 10m away from where I worked was great too.
What would you do differently if you could go back in time?
Nothing to be honest. While I failed several times at different things, the only people who never fail are those who never try.
If I hadnt ever gone to univeristy I wouldn't have met the friends that introduced me to my wife (I gatecrashed an engineering party with them).
Whenever I make a decision I base it around whether I will regret passing up the opportunity or not and so far its worked out great for me.
What advice would you give to somebody who’s trying to figure out what to do with their life?
Do what you enjoy even if it means making less money. Of the people I know, those who enjoy their job end up being much happier than those who make more and hate their work.
My parents both worked less hours and made less money in order to spend more time with their kids, and we are the closest family I know. I can never thank them enough for that.
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