This month at Spark+Mettle we’re thinking about vitality, and what better person to talk to about vitality than a personal trainer? We caught up with Ryan Thomas, Personal Trainer (PT) at LA Fitness to talk tips, gym phobia and…cheat meals.
What’s the best part of being a Personal Trainer?
Seeing growth in the clients I’ve had the opportunity to train and helping someone physically and mentally. Just getting them to enjoy training and looking forward to coming to the gym.
How did you decide to become a Personal Trainer?
I was working at a bank whilst training after work although I was into sport from a young age. I studied Sports Science at university and was always training throughout my time there, as well as watching popular YouTube videos of people training. Travis Stoetzel is a big influence on me. I follow his blogs and have learnt a lot, including different exercises.
I realised that people’s work situations don’t allow them to live a healthy lifestyle. There’s pressure to hit certain targets. It’s not about the person but about how many sales they’ve made. People start skipping lunch to get more work done and I found myself putting on weight. I started to think about if this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life? That’s when I decided to pursue training as a career—plus people around me had encouraged me to teach because they told me I’m good at explaining things.
What was your relationship with physical education during school?
I was good at most sport but football was main one. I also enjoyed basketball, hockey, and table tennis. I was given lots of opportunities within sport at school and my PE teacher was very good. He played sports outside of teaching. PE was my favourite subject. Whilst at Sixth Form I even won Sportsperson of the Year.
What’s a typical day as a Personal Trainer like?
7am: Early start. I train one or two people in the morning.
9am – 10am: This is when the gym is quiet and I train myself. Then I eat.
12pm – 2pm: The lunchtime rush. I’ll talk to existing clients about progression and injuries. I’ll try to get new clients.
2pm – 3pm: It’s quiet again so I’ll read a newspaper or maybe watch a fitness or stretching video. I try to have material for clients—stretches that they’ll like and remember.
5:30pm – 6pm: Three or four clients come in after work. PTs are busy in the morning or evening.
8pm – 9pm: The last clients usually come in at this time. After that, I go home.
It takes a while to build up a client base, that’s why you have to enjoy it. If there’s a big gap in-between I might go home, sleep some more and come back. It’s a really good job to do. PTs tend to start young and it’s hard if you have children.
What would you say to someone who has gym phobia?
Everybody has to start somewhere. People are actually more likely to be friendly to you if you look like you need help. Choose a good gym with PTs that can see you’re unsure and will offer you guidance.
What’s your favourite cheat meal?
Chinese—special fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, prawn crackers, or rice with cashews.
This month we’re focusing on vitality. What does vitality mean to you and why is it important?
Being healthy—physically, mentally, spiritually. Not feeling shackled or confined within a certain space. For example, your job. Feeling purposeful, valued, cared for and loved—all of that leads to feeling good about yourself.
What 3 tips would you give to someone wanting to increase their vitality?
1) Spend 5-10 minutes per day thinking about tomorrow—how you’re going to do better than you did today. WRITE IT DOWN. It makes you more productive and you feel more free.
2) Get some exercise in at least once every two days for half an hour. Do something. Even go for a walk. Walk around your area (you’ll discover more things)
3) Speak to someone new each day or learn something new everyday.
If you weren’t a Personal Trainer, what would you be?
Maybe a police officer!
Photo courtesy of Ryan Thomas