My journey as a Personal Trainer. The good the bad and the ugly.
Growing up through my late teens and early twenties, I was very much a party girl. I loved dancing the night away with the girls and that was my priority. I had a great time.
But I certainly wasn’t fitnessy or have the active lifestyle I lead today. I did gymnastics in primary school and was actually quite good at it, but I gave it up in secondary school because none of my friends did it. I find that very sad looking back now that I wasn’t stronger and stuck with it despite peer pressure. But 11 year old Kellie had no idea who she was; so the gymnastics went!
Through secondary school I was always on the “chunkier side” and just accepted that was me. I got called names a bit but nothing major. I liked food and I wasn’t involved in any kind of fitness or sport so I’m not sure what else was going to happen! I had no idea about nutrition.
For my 16th birthday my parents set me up a gym membership at the local gym in holbeach and I thought it was great fun. (I asked for the membership – my parents aren’t that cruel! ) I really enjoyed going and I also started swimming and when I was 17 I was probably the smallest I’ve ever been but like “skinny” small. I thought it was great though. I look back at photos now and I had ZERO ass! Nothing. Like if my ass could see its former self it would be shocked.
I’m not sure that my relationship with food was that healthy at this point.
After sixth form I got into a relationship with someone who was very jealous of me going to the gym and encouraged drinking, eating and smoking lots. (I used to smoke – gave it up when I started running) So, as it happens a lot in relationships, I put on weight in the 2 years we were together.
That was my biggest I think. I’ll never forget trying to find something to wear for a night out after we broke up and NOTHING fitted me and I went to find my mum and just sobbed because none of my clothes fitted me. It was a horrible feeling.
I also remember at this point just never having any energy and feeling bleurgh all the time. But I started going to the gym more and got myself in decent ish shape. That’s when I decided to go travelling so I jumped on a plane to Australia by myself and found myself partying my way around the country.
It was the most fun time. I ran a few times and joined a gym in Sydney whilst I was working. But I was doing it for damage limitation more than anything; nothing was gained here! So at this point, a gym had been a part of my life but not to any extent of me knowing what I was doing or getting any good results.
I came back from Australia and kind of decided as soon as I got back I wanted to go travelling again. I’d caught the bug! So that’s what I did. New Zealand, Australia again, Thailand and Indonesia with my boyfriend at the time. I think this is where I realised the person I wanted to be.
New Zealand is just FULL of adventure and fun and is the biggest adult playground ever. SO MUCH LOVE FOR NEW ZEALAND! We did everything the country had to offer – snowboarding, canyoning, mountain climbing, ice climbs, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming with dolphins, bungee jumping, skydives, hiking, surfing… and I just wanted more. I still want more.
Coming back from travelling was a difficult time anyway as we had to cut the trip short due to my grandad passing away. It was the sudden realisation that 2.5 years had passed and I was having the most incredible time…but everyone around me was getting older and I was missing out on so many things that I realised were really important to me. So I stopped travelling.
I worked at a bar and did my level 2 gym instructor and level 3 Personal Training qualifications. I didn’t want to work 9-5 in an office anymore. I wanted to do something different and not forget the active person I have found inside myself!! I wasn’t sure how the personal training thing was going to work out. But I went with it.
Qualification complete and I was offered the opportunity to work on a gym reception with the possibility to PT. I snapped it up and instantly fell in love with the environment and everything about it. I knew it was the best decision I had ever made and I just totally lived and breathed that place for the next few years. I soon built up my client base and was busier than I could have ever imagined so I was a full time PT and I LOVED IT!
Have you ever had a job which involved you working 6am to 8/9pm most days, with little or no breaks in the middle Somedays I had 3 minutes to eat, chill out and go to the toilet in between clients. Serious skills! But I never complained once and barely had any time off. I’m not suggesting that’s healthy but that’s how it was for me. I lapped it up and loved every second. And it wasn’t even about the money. To have that much love for a job is hard to come by but that’s me. I’m an all or nothing kind of gal and I gave it my absolute everything!
At the same time I was starting my second business – Nude Food. A healthy eating meal prep business. The 2nd best decision I’ve ever made (Side Note: This statement is debateable and I will retract it in an instant at any given time! Haha. Nude Food is my baby and it would take a lot for me to give it up, we have been through A LOT together but my god it kills me at times!)
Nude Food started as a trailer at the gym I was Personal Training at but it didn’t work out for a variety of reasons – mainly we underestimated the amount of space we needed for prep and didn’t have that and with meal prep being the businesses priority, we pulled away and continued the search for a commercial kitchen. The beautiful trailer also got ransacked one night which we struggled to recover from with the trailer. What a way to start a business!
After Nude Food, things didn’t seem to work out at the gym anymore. I was a conflict of interest because they wanted to start their own meal prep business.
Yes it hurt.
Yes I struggled with it for a long time.
But leaving the gym was the 3rd best decision I’ve ever made.
I decided it would be best to stop Personal Training all together as I wanted to be the bigger person and stay loyal to the gym. Which in hindsight, wasn’t being the bigger person at all, this was an incredibly BAD decision.
I went from spending all those hours in the most positive, social environment with the most amazing clients 15 hours a day to not Pting anyone. And in that short time, going through a breakup at the same time, I hit rock bottom massively.
Being at rock ROCK bottom wasn’t a pretty place to be and I had an incredibly tough time getting through it. I’ve made no secret of it and I won’t be ashamed of it because that time in my life is what has made me the strong, resilient, focused and determined woman I am right now. And I can quite confidently say that having that break down was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Going back to Personal Training is what gave me my passion for everything back. As cheesy as it sounds…but it is the MOST rewarding, satisfying and motivating job going and it gave me a purpose again. I started to rent a room at the old youth centre and I had to start from scratch again building up my client base.
Persistence is key and I kept going, kept trying to build it up and kept putting myself out there time and time again, building up my reputation and business without the backing of a big gym with thousands of members. It was f***** hard. Emotionally and physically. But persistence pays off and I got there. Turning up at Project K HIIT to have just 1 or sometimes 0 people turn up for the class was hard. But I kept going and kept chipping away. I’d already hit rock bottom, it couldn’t get any worse than that so I just kept going.
What was really nice was that I actually started to access a whole new client base which I hadn’t had before – women who are too anxious or nervous to walk into a commercial gym. There are so many men and women who just don’t want to go to a gym. And I totally get that now. You don’t even need to go to a gym. There are so many amazing classes, personal trainers operating outside of commercial gyms, running swimming. I speak about gym anxiety being such a big thing and it really is. I’ve experienced it myself. Normal gyms just aren’t the right environment for some people and that is absolutly fine! Don’t force yourself to go into one if you really really don’t want to.
That’s my little journey wrapped up in a few paragraphs. Right now I feel like all my christmasses have come at once. I feel like all the hard work, stress, disappointment, sadness, pain and badness last year was for a reason and now I have my absolute DREAM….An exclusive Personal Training gym to work in. And it is absolutely beautiful. It is the perfect situation for me. I get to promote myself to people who don’t want to be in a gym, but I also have
access to the equipment for people that do. I am so excited and honored to be a part of State of Strength.
So to say my journey as a Personal Trainer has been a rollercoaster is an understatement. But I feel like I’ve only just started the real bit now and I have so much more to come. It’s a tough industry to be in and I seem to have made some enemies in the name of business (which I have learnt you can’t not do. If someone is going to dislike you, they will dislike you and cause you trouble. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it! You just have to stay true to yourself, ignore the drama and concentrate on YOU.) But I have also made the most amazing friendships and contacts and I feel more supported and myself than I ever have.
TRUST the process and just BELIEVE that good things will be around the corner.