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  1. #1
    Registered User sonti's Avatar
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    Calling all PTs who are also parents

    Can you share how you are balancing your career and kids?

    I'm ready to "take the plunge" into my PT certification now that my last child is born but I would like to know your personal experiences (ie balancing peak hours with childcare responsibilities).

    I don't need to work full-time, so I am wondering if things like weekend boot camps or afternoon strollerfit/even kettlebell mom classes would be a good niche to try and fill (since most are between 10am-2pm). I want to get RKC certification too, I've been doing KBs for about 7 years and through two pregnancies/postpartum.

    Thoughts? I don't have family to help out with childcare so I would need to pay for childcare (which is only $7/day here though so worth the money).

    I guess my main question is - can I get away with only occasional evenings (or none, during the week) and any time on the weekends? Can part-time trainers still establish clientele? Obviously I won't be making a lot, but can I still get some clientele this way?
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  2. #2
    Registered User PeteratCastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sonti View Post
    Can you share how you are balancing your career and kids?

    I'm ready to "take the plunge" into my PT certification now that my last child is born but I would like to know your personal experiences (ie balancing peak hours with childcare responsibilities).

    I don't need to work full-time, so I am wondering if things like weekend boot camps or afternoon strollerfit/even kettlebell mom classes would be a good niche to try and fill (since most are between 10am-2pm). I want to get RKC certification too, I've been doing KBs for about 7 years and through two pregnancies/postpartum.

    Thoughts? I don't have family to help out with childcare so I would need to pay for childcare (which is only $7/day here though so worth the money).

    I guess my main question is - can I get away with only occasional evenings (or none, during the week) and any time on the weekends? Can part-time trainers still establish clientele? Obviously I won't be making a lot, but can I still get some clientele this way?
    Can you do your marketing during the weekdays? Weekends and evenings are your peak times so weekend stuff will work.

    No evenings during the week won't work IMO,
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  3. #3
    Registered User SFT's Avatar
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    Anything will work, but you restrict your ability to make money when you restrict your hours. Traditional clients are generally most interested in mornings (5-10am) and evenings (4-7pm). There is some potential for lunch time workouts as well in the 11:30-1:00pm time frame.

    Easiest way to know is just to do it. Most people here will probably be of the opinion that you can't be successful not working evenings, but I intend on doing the same. I don't want to be at the gym early and late. I will probably offer later classes 3 days a week and ultimately try to have someone else cover them.

    I am a morning person, so I am looking to start at 4:00 or 5:00am and end somewhere around 2:00-4:00 each day. Ultimately, I'll probably end up working nights, but it sounds good for now. I would get the early morning crew (5:00-8:00am), the seniors citizens (8:00-1:00), with a break in between for a lunch crew from 11:30-1:00. Then, I could likely find a few people to fill odd personal training hours at a reduced rate.
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  4. #4
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    Afternoon stroller fit will definitely work tbh. I would love to be a mommy and able to market myself to that market.

    I don't know how much a course costs in Canada tbhat the end of the day,if you think you can make enough money then go for t.
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    You can build the business any way you want to, including without evenings - it just might take you a bit longer to get busy. You also have to market yourself properly and have the skills/qualifications to appeal to your target market. For example, if you want to work 6am to noon, then seniors or retirees are a big part of that market, so having a cert that deals with older adults is probably a good idea. Injury management for people with bad backs and hips would be a good idea too. You can also look for shift workers or people who own their own businesses who have more flexible hours.

    Weekends are another option if you are willing to work Saturday and Sunday - you can fill a lot of hours there because few trainers want to work on those days, especially Sundays if you have a facility. However, if you are doing at home workouts then it is largely a no go because families are home and have other things going on.

    You have to do whatever works for your family, so find a way to make it fit and just figure it out as you go.
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  6. #6
    community gym PT KyleAaron's Avatar
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    As others have said, if you restrict your hours of work, you restrict your potential income. But whether they have children or not, not everyone wants to work every hour God sends.

    40% of PT happens 0600-0900, 20% 0900-1800 and 40% 1800-2100. The most successful PTs will be there all day. Still, choosing just evenings or just mornings, plus a bit during the day, this gives you access to 50-60% of potential clients. I deliberately restrict my hours, doing PT in the mornings Sunday-Thursday, almost never working past 1400. I'm home by noon a few days, and mid-afternoon other days. So each night I can be around to play with, feed, bathe and bed him. My son is 18 months, my wife who is a professional took off the first 6 months, the next 6 months she did 3 days (Mon-Wed) a week, the most recent 6 months 4 days (Mon-Thu) a week, and next year she'll go back to a full 5 days a week. The boy went in childcare Tue-Wed, then Tue-Thu, I looked after him Mondays. Next year he'll be in childcare Mon-Thu. I'll look after him Fridays, we have all of us together on Saturdays, and my wife will care for him on Sundays.

    Childcare is a bit more expensive here, but there are numerous government subsidies, taking it from I think $87/day to $32/day or thereabouts - it's available 0630-1830. Obviously being a full-time professional my wife is earning more than me, so it's definitely worth it. If I were a single parent it'd be different. My 4-4.5hr gym shifts pay $23 an hour, my PT pays $38/hr, so if I do an hour of each that's basically worth the childcare. But of course there'd be bills, etc. Were I looking after the boy on my own, I'm not sure I could do much PT, simply because of the hours childcare is available, earliest I could train anyone would be 0730 where I'm working now, or 0700 if I worked closer to home, that cuts out 4-6hr potential PT each week, which is $200. I would probably push harder to recruit clients than I do now, things are comfortable for us so there's no pressure, on my own it'd be different - and when I do push for clients I get them, this would balance things up a bit but...

    I'd still do it but overall earn less than I do now, it'd be quite a struggle. I think I'd try to do more training people from home in my garage. A few 0700 bootcamps, plus some people coming in the evenings when the boy's asleep, I could do that.
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  7. #7
    pirate ninja kitteh rockangel's Avatar
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    As the others have said, you can do it anytime. For me, im pretty much in the same boat as you, though i find child care harder to find and more expensive.

    For me, i do two things, i teach evening classes and have someone who watches my children during those times, I am open to weekend classes but so far have not done them (my current job has not asked and i have not pushed it). I also take online clients, as i can communicate with them anytime, it also means that i can have clients who are deployed or not in my area. I also do in home fitness during the day while my children are at school, i know yours are younger so this may be something you look at for the future, this is the first year where i have had both of them in school.

    Im working on getting more equipment so that i can open my garage to training others, right now the area is a mess and doesnt look too professional so i have not opened that aspect, but plan to in the coming months have it done. The hope is to eventually open a small studio of my own, but that will take more time.

    All this works for me because this is not our main income. It would be different i think if i had to rely solely on what i make. But for now, this works.
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  8. #8
    Paige's babydaddy Suprabuc's Avatar
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    Is it safe to say this is a harder career than most to have a family life? I'm wondering because I'm looking for a career change. I currently do not have a family, but I plan on doing this long term.
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  9. #9
    Registered User SFT's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Suprabuc View Post
    Is it safe to say this is a harder career than most to have a family life? I'm wondering because I'm looking for a career change. I currently do not have a family, but I plan on doing this long term.
    It might be safe to say that if your income will need to be the majority of your household income, you shouldn't expect to work 9-5 and be living above the average standard of living in your area. My father had a 6:00am-7:00pm job in engineering. We never had to worry about money, but he worked for it. Likewise, you can have a family, work all day, and probably make some good money. You just will likely need your spouse to be at home taking care of the kids.

    I see a lot of people out there who use personal training as supplemental income for their family. If your spouse has a full-time job that pays well, then you should be all set. You will make pretty good money for part-time work.

    I think the biggest difficulty for most people is finding something to do during off hours. If you had clients from 6:00am-7:00pm straight, even at $25/hr you would be making $80k+ per year. Unfortunately, this would both be unsustainable for most people, and it would be very difficult to schedule every hour in there.

    I don't know how many times people ask about changing careers to fitness, but I tell everyone the same thing. Fitness and working out is really fun. However, it is a better left a hobby for most people. I've found that the game changes when it becomes a job.
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  10. #10
    Paige's babydaddy Suprabuc's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SFT View Post
    It might be safe to say that if your income will need to be the majority of your household income, you shouldn't expect to work 9-5 and be living above the average standard of living in your area. My father had a 6:00am-7:00pm job in engineering. We never had to worry about money, but he worked for it. Likewise, you can have a family, work all day, and probably make some good money. You just will likely need your spouse to be at home taking care of the kids.

    I see a lot of people out there who use personal training as supplemental income for their family. If your spouse has a full-time job that pays well, then you should be all set. You will make pretty good money for part-time work.

    I think the biggest difficulty for most people is finding something to do during off hours. If you had clients from 6:00am-7:00pm straight, even at $25/hr you would be making $80k+ per year. Unfortunately, this would both be unsustainable for most people, and it would be very difficult to schedule every hour in there.

    I don't know how many times people ask about changing careers to fitness, but I tell everyone the same thing. Fitness and working out is really fun. However, it is a better left a hobby for most people. I've found that the game changes when it becomes a job.
    I have no doubt that I would love being in the fitness field for a career. I was just wondering if personal training is possible when you want a family, which I want one day. Thanks for the information.
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  11. #11
    Registered User SFT's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Suprabuc View Post
    I have no doubt that I would love being in the fitness field for a career. I was just wondering if personal training is possible when you want a family, which I want one day. Thanks for the information.
    I'm in the same boat as you. I think it is very possible to have a career in fitness and a family life. I just believe that there are easier careers to be in and have a family. Most of your potential employers will be unprofessional, offer no benefits, and give you no room to grow. Did I mention that the pay will suck too? There are maybe 5% of gyms/facilities that aren't like this. The real problem is that there are so many people willing to work on a part-time basis under the conditions I described. These are usually people with no other good options, or who don't really need the income or benefits, but like some extra spending money.

    Going out on your own, or finding one of those small business that will value you, is the way to go for most people who are really trying to develop a career. There is certainly more risk and hours that you will have to put in. You have to be good with managing money as well. Businesses don't go under when they are having a good year. I know a small business owner who made $10 million in a year. You would think they are probably still doing well. Unfortunately, the business climate changed and they are no longer business owners. They blew a lot of money that they shouldn't have during those good years, money that would have had them ready for retirement in a few years.

    Anyways, I don't mean to sound like I'm lecturing on a topic. I just think that there are safer and better options depending on your background. Like I tell anyone else who asks me, if you really want it, you will ignore my advice anyways.

    Best of luck!
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  12. #12
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    Hello,

    Thanks for all the great feedback. Sorry for my late reply, I'm an idiot and left a coffee cup near my laptop. That + my 2.5 year old, you can probably guess what happened.

    I appreciate all the details. I'm definitely in this for a part-time supplemental career only, at least until my children are much older (the youngest is barely 8 weeks, so it's slow going). I have an education degree (unrelated subject, ESL) so I will need to upgrade my education.

    I have a standalone gym on my property that is set up for powerlifting, I may also consider modifying it to work as a home PT gym.

    I think perhaps working towards city recreation training and/or programs geared towards stay at home moms may work best, considering this is a part-time venture. San Diego trainer Lauren Brooks has a popular class called BuggyBellz which is strollerfit but with kettlebells, I wonder if that sort of thing could take off here? Maybe not. I know the SoCal mother population is a lot different than here.

    Lots of time to think - thank you for all the replies again.
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    community gym PT KyleAaron's Avatar
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    For a standalone gym, you don't need much. If you've got all the power rack and barbells and plates, all you need add is,
    • kettlebells OR adjustable dumbbells
    • a mat or two for lying on for stretches
    • a foam roller
    • something to do chinups on, preferably variable height for variations to accommodate different strengths eg inverted row
    I say dumbbells OR kettlebells, because you do need decent coaching skills for kettlebells, I don't know if you've done that. Kettlebells are a good tool for general strength, mobility and conditioning, not really for top levels of any of those. They have the advantage of being compact and you don't need many of them. A pair each of 8kg, 12kg and 16kg is going to be plenty for 90% of your clients, a few clients down the track you may want a 20 and 24 as well. I'd go for a pair to allow for double KB work and if you've small groups working out, for example four people share 2x KB, one pair does squats for one minute while the other pair does a plank, then they change over, etc.

    Dumbbells are more of a pure strength tool, and work better as assistance stuff for the barbell work, and are harder to use for conditioning and mobility stuff. I'd go with adjustable just to save having to have a million of the things.

    I don't think you need to limit yourself to stay-at-home mothers. This is a common mistake women trainers make, especially once they're parents themselves - thinking they should only train other women like themselves. If you're thinking mainly of the hours, working during business hours, you'll be surprised at how many males are stay at home parents now, and how many people of either gender are retired or work from home or do shift work, eg those working in restaurants or hotels. And of course you should be able to go just a bit outside business hours and get a few people working normal hours.
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  14. #14
    Registered User sonti's Avatar
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    Thanks Kyle. I have all this equipment already, although I have a set of competition KBs but will want a 2nd set so that clients can do double KB exercises too. I have the SelectTech adjustable DBs, I'm wondering if it's worth it to get another set of non-adjustables?

    Yes, you're right about limiting clientele - I'm new to this town (and culture, and language) so I don't know my audience very well yet. I need to do a lot more research about this population. One of the tricks here is that daycare is completely subsidized from birth so the majority of the population works, there are very few stay at home parents. However, I do live only 2 minutes from the hospital and that is a good target as well. I might also consider training for people interested in law enforcement as I have a lot of experience with that myself. Maybe targeting shift workers is a good idea too, when I worked in policing & my shifts were wonky, I trained at noon-4pm quite frequently.
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