Working in Fitness

Apparently only 35% of personal trainers are women. That’s because we know there are loads of other fitness jobs out there too. Fancy being a sportswear designer, nutritionist, yoga teacher, part time PT, blogger or, err, massaging rugby teams? Then read on my friend, read on.


The Sports and Leisure PR

 Katie Halliday is a Junior Account Manager at Promote PR whose clients include British Rowing, Volleyball England and England Hockey.Katie Halliday

I got into PR straight from University, where I studied Sport and Leisure Management. My role involves working with companies, brands and teams in the sport industry to get media coverage for product launches, events and campaigns.

It’s hard work as you have to juggle lots of clients simultaneously and deal with demanding (but mostly lovely!) journalists, but that’s the fun of agency life – no day is ever the same. It’s rewarding to see coverage appear in national newspapers and magazines, on TV and Radio, and then see how that translates into getting more people involved in sport and fitness.

 Inside advice

PR is all about seeking out opportunities, driving results, talking, talking and more talking! It’s perfect for anyone who likes a fast-paced, varied and challenging style of working. I think being passionate about the industry you’re working in is one of the most important things. If you don’t believe in the products you’re promoting, then it’s unlikely you’ll be especially convincing. I’m lucky as I have always been a fitness nut!

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The Yoga Teacher
Olga Allon, Founder of Hot Bikram Yoga combined her love of Bikram Yoga and architecture by completing a teacher training course and then designing her own studios.

Olga AllonIn my early twenties I was working as an architect, sitting at a desk all day, and was beginning to feel aches and pains. I started doing Bikram Yoga to try and combat this. I had always been into sport and fitness but this was something so different. It complemented other exercises I did and challenged me at the same time. It was addictive and made me feel fantastic.

I knew that I wanted to do it every day and in order to do that I had to become a teacher. I also knew that if I could one day design my own studio, I could marry my love of Bikram with my love of architecture – and so Hot Bikram Yoga was born.

I had to be recommended by the Head Teacher at the studio I was practicing at at the time to be accepted onto the teacher training course, which takes place with Bikram Choudhury himself for nine weeks. The nine weeks are incredibly intense and tough – you practice two classes a day, every day, as well as learning about the history of yoga, physiology, anatomy and much more. It was an incredible experience and a chance to fully immerse myself in Bikram Yoga. After returning from training I did a six-month internship teaching as many classes as possible before I could consider opening my own studio.

Inside advice
Whatever your dream is, you can achieve it. If you believe in something enough never give up or take no for an answer. Learn early on to delegate and trust people around you.

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The Nutritionist

Henrietta Bailey is Clinical Lead for Nutrition at Nuffield Health. She retrained as a nutritionist after originally working in PR and started her career as a Nutritional Therapist in a multi-disciplinary Sports Medicine Clinic in London. 

Henri BaileyI grew up in a family where a balanced diet and regular exercise were valued as an important part of a healthy lifestyle and my interest in nutrition developed from there. Following university and an initial career in Public Relations, I decided to retrain as a Nutritionist. I took advice from people already in the industry and enrolled on a Diploma in Dietary Therapy, followed by Nutritional Therapy, at Raworth International College. While I was training I also worked at a Sports Medicine Clinic, which was great as it taught me an enormous amount about the healthcare industry from all sorts of new and valuable perspectives.

Learning about the human body and how what you eat can affect your health was fascinating, but it really comes to life as you begin working with patients. Nothing beats the reward of helping a client transform their health and happiness often through some simple dietary changes.

Inside advice

Do your research – sit in with other Nutritional Therapists and, if you can, work in an environment related to health to help you build background knowledge as you train.  Start interacting with health professionals in your local area so that when you are ready to practise you have a support and referral network.

 Nutritional Therapists are not bound by statutory regulation (like Physiotherapists or GPs for example) instead they opt to adhere to regulation and governance set out by voluntary bodies (BANT and the CNHC). Nuffield Health Nutritional Therapists all have a minimum standard of qualification and report into our Professional Head of Nutrition, overseen by our Medical Director.

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The Sportswear Designer

Charli Cohen is a Sportswear Designer and Personal Trainer, which could explain why she looks so good in her own designs.

Photo: Caitlin Charles-Jones

Photo: Caitlin Charles-Jones

Fashion was always my dream job. I first dabbled in the industry in my teens, designing and customising T-shirts to be sold in boutiques and travelling to South East Asia to have a womenswear collection produced. Alongside this, I also developed an interest in fitness.

I qualified as a personal trainer during the first year of studying for my Fashion BA Honours at Kingston University, London. It was around then I had the sportswear epiphany – how better to combine my two passions than to specialise in activewear? There aren’t many sportswear brands out there good at balancing style and function, yet there’s a huge market for fashionable performancewear.

Since graduating nine months ago everything has moved amazingly quickly! In 2012 I was selected as a finalist for the WGSN Global Fashion Awards, through which I was awarded an incredibly exciting sponsorship from Lycra®.

With Lycra®‘s backing, I’m now working on my first independent collection, which I’ll be exhibiting later this year and which will hit stores in January 2014. It’s humbling to have this level of support so early in my career as this job has been my long-time dream. It’s tough, there’s no such thing as a 9-5 day, but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else!

Inside advice

A lot of people will tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, what they like and what they don’t – and everyone you speak to will tell you something different. While feedback is essential for progress, you need to have enough confidence in yourself to only take on the advice you agree with. Only YOU fully understand your creative vision and your brand should communicate your personal point of view. That’s what makes you special.

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The Part-time Personal Trainer

Jane Woodhead combines working as a Personal Trainer and fitness instructor with a full time job as Partner at Paver Smith PR and Marketing. Busy lady!

Jane WoodheadI’ve always been passionate about sport and training and wanted to encourage and inspire others too so I decided to train as a Personal Trainer. As I work full time, I looked around for a course which I could do while still working. I found a part-time course at The Training Room, which I could do at the weekends. It was perfect as it gave me the flexibility to learn and study while continuing to work.

Since qualifying as a Personal Trainer I have completed numerous other courses including Extreme Kettle Bell Instructor and Les Mills Body Combat, and I’m doing a fat burning course in April. I have built up a great client base with varying fitness goals and I have started teaching numerous classes which I really enjoy. I love inspiring people to train and achieve their personal goals – seeing people shed weight, gain muscle definition and transform both their lifestyles and their bodies – fitness is an amazing industry to work in.

Inside advice

Focus, stay passionate, show enthusiasm and commitment and you will get all of this and more back in return.

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The Physiotherapist

Kathleen Walker is a Senior Physiotherapist at Penarth Physiotherapy Practice and Sports Injury Clinic. She has treated elite athletes at UK athletics events, been physiotherapist for a rugby team and toured with the Wales Hockey Under 16 teams. She also writes a running blog

Kathleen post marathon

Kathleen post marathon

As a teenage track athlete I sustained a fairly serious back injury requiring surgery. Physiotherapy got me running and competing again and, from then on, I was interested in becoming a Physio.

I chose biology as one of my A-levels, did work experience in Physiotherapy departments and studied at the University of Hertfordshire, before becoming a Junior Physiotherapist within a large NHS trust in 2002. Quite early on I decided I wanted to specialise in musculoskeletal physiotherapy, which includes sports type injuries. I attended weekend courses to advance my knowledge and enrolled on a Masters course in Advanced Physiotherapy, eventually becoming a Clinical Specialist in Spines.

At the moment, as I have two young children, I work evenings in a private Sports Injury Clinic. Recently I’ve treated and rehabilitated a gentleman who has been unable to run for more than nine months and now he’s at  the point where he’s talking about marathon training. Things like that make me realise that I’m lucky to be able to combine my love of sport, especially running, with my job.

Inside advice

Becoming a physiotherapist requires a BSc. If you want to work purely in fitness and sport then a Sports Therapy degree may be most applicable. However, I don’t feel you can discount the all-round experience a Physiotherapy degree gives you. Do your research on different universities and attend open days where you can ask lots of questions and see the facilities. I would also recommend that you look for work experience or ask to observe in a Physiotherapy department or Clinic so that you can decide whether it’s definitely for you.

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The Fitness Entrepreneur

Shara Tochia founded a website for finding and booking the best fitness classes online.

Shara being a hottieFitness Freak was founded out of the frustration of not being able to find and book fitness classes easily online. I’ve worked in digital marketing for years and also teach fitness classes part time, so it made sense to start a business within a familiar environment and industry I enjoy. I’ve seen friends set up businesses in the past and they all told me how much work was involved, but I still don’t think that anyone could have prepared me for it. Fitness Freak launched just before Christmas 2012. It has been a very busy year. In fact I can say, I have no idea where the time has gone. That said, I am super excited about what’s ahead.


Inside advice

Do something you enjoy. You have to want to get out of bed, work long hours, sacrifice a social life etc. It’s all a life experience!


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The Fitness Bloggers

Oh hello, that’s us, Charlotte and Emma.

CharlotteEmma - HeadshotWe founded Lunges & Lycra in October 2012 after meeting at running club and realising we both liked fitness, sweating and gin, and we both wanted to write about it. Strength in numbers as they say, strength in numbers.

Running a blog is great fun, you get to try out new fitness trends and meet fab people with shared interests. It’s also a lot of hard work. We both have other jobs – Emma works in branding and marketing, Charlotte is a freelance journalist – so sometimes we can’t do as much on L&L as we’d like. That said, our day jobs have provided us with contacts and knowledge that have helped us develop the site into the wonderous beast it is today (thanks for design help, modelling, reviews, interviews and everything else guys). We’ve got loads of plans in the pipeline for the future and won’t stop till we’ve taken over the world! Maybe.

Inside advice

Our five top tips are:

  1. Pimp yourself out – network in fitness circles, you never know when you’ll meet someone with a great story.
  2. Social media is your friend – Twitter and Facebook are great place for sharing content and making contacts with people you may not get access to otherwise. We’ve made some lovely friends via Twitter too, many of whom have now contributed to the site.
  3. Stand out from the crowd – there are loads of blogs out there, make sure you have something to differentiate yours.
  4. Share the love – guest posts on other people’s blogs and hosting guests posts on yours mean you meet new readers and new bloggers and the world is a happier online place.
  5. Enjooooooooooyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

1 Comment

  • Wow! Excellent article that came out at the right time for me. Thanks a lot! It made me realise that I can do what I want and combine 3 or more things I love at once. Well done to all above girls

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