A day in the life of… a personal trainer

08.07.15 Fitness

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Ever wondered what personal trainers really think about exercise and whether they practise what they preach? What their favourite snacks are or their top tips for starting out? We shadowed Fitness First PT Amanda O’Hare, 27, to see what a typical day holds.

5.30am – Wake up and have breakfast

I’m a qualified nutrition coach so I’m very conscious of how important a healthy diet is to your fitness and general well-being. I like to start the day with plenty of protein so I’ll have two eggs scrambled with a little butter, and a homemade green shake –(based on whatever I have in the fridge, but my favourite is organic spinach, berries and almond milk whizzed together with a sprinkle of protein supplement). In terms of diet, my top tips are to opt for natural, unprocessed food and to focus on fresh vegetables and lean proteins as much as possible. Avoid sugary foods or any diet products – they’re usually loaded with chemicals and sugars to replace the fat.


6am – Walk to work

I’m originally from Aberdeen in Scotland but I’ve been living in London for a year and a half. I’m lucky enough to live just around the corner from the clubs I’m based at. I walk fast enough to get the circulation pumping so it takes just 15 minutes to get to work. Along the way and through the day I’ll nibble some unroasted, unsalted nuts – cashews are my favourite.

6.30am-1pm – One-to-one personal training sessions

The best thing about my job is getting to know my clients. It’s so satisfying seeing them progress, becoming fitter and more energetic. People who start exercising regularly are often really surprised by how much it affects everything else in their lives: from their posture and confidence to their ability to handle stress – looking great is almost a bonus. When I see their results, I’m often more excited for them than they are! Between morning clients I’ll have my second breakfast. A light meal packed with protein and good fats to keep me going. I love a salad made with grilled chicken, half an avocado and sliced peppers. I have a pretty active day so I need a little extra to keep my energy levels high.

1-2pm – Spin class

I teach seven spin classes a week and always try to lead by example, making sure I really give it my all every time. It’s a fantastic cardio workout and gets your energy levels pumping. It’s vital that you keep hydrated when exercising like this (I drink three or four litres of water a day when I’m working). Muscles are thirsty – if you want to build and maintain definition, you really need to keep well hydrated. To me, water is the most important nutrient of all. It’s essential for every part of your body. Two litres is usually enough for a non-exercise day but as a rough guide, allow 0.5 litres for every hour you exercise.

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2pm – Lunch in the staff room

I’ll go for carbs to refuel after the spin class I’ve just done and whole grains to keep me fuller longer. A perfect example is chilli made with lean turkey mince, tomatoes and mixed veggies, with brown rice. For dessert, I’ll have some fresh fruit, usually pineapple – it’s great for digestion (and delicious). So I always have something healthy to hand, I prepare my meals at the start of the week, freeze in individual portions and then top up with fresh veggies each day.

3-7pm – One-to-one personal training sessions

Before I see each client I’ll review my notes from our last session and plan the workout. It’s easy for people to feel unenthusiastic before a workout so it’s my job to get that level of motivation up – I want to help my clients to work hard but also to have a lot of fun with their fitness. Clients feed off of your enthusiasm, so if you love what you do, it’s a lot easier to motivate them because they want to feel it too. My advice for anyone just starting out is don’t try to do too much too soon. Start with small, manageable goals – you don’t want to burn out or risk injury. Two to three times a week is ideal, and always remember to warm up properly – five minutes on a cardio machine is perfect. And enjoy yourself!

7-8pm – My own training

The spin class earlier will have sorted out my cardio so for my own training I focus on weights. The benefits are incredible, for strength and body sculpting especially. Women can be a bit nervous about trying weights – I remember I was once too – but it’s a wonderful way to shape any areas you might want to improve. Once my clients get into it and see the results, they love it too.
I didn’t always know I would be a PT. I was a naturally thin child – teased at school for being so skinny – then when I got to university, I slid into the typical bad student habits: a rubbish diet and lots of drinking. I put on weight and was feeling really sluggish so I started going to the gym. At first I had no clue what I was doing and it was a bit daunting, but I began learning different techniques and exercises from magazines and online. I loved the feeling of being healthy and strong, and in control of my body. Then people started asking me for tips. It was lovely to help people and pass on what I’d learned, and I decided that’s what I wanted to do for a living.

8pm – Review the day

I’ll go over my notes from the day’s sessions, and look over anything I’ll need for tomorrow before heading home to dinner. Usually more eggs – nutritionally they really are the perfect food – in a large omelette with stacks of fresh vegetables and a handful of sliced chorizo. It’s a great balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. I might also have a Greek yoghurt to finish.

9.30pm – Bedtime

By 10pm, I’ve done all my pottering around, updated my blog and am tucked up in bed – and very ready for sleep. If I can stay awake long enough, I’ll listen to a meditation app or read for a while.
I love my job and can’t imagine doing anything else. You can learn so much about yourself and what your strengths are – there’s always another opportunity to push yourself and grow. I also compete in Bikini Fitness competitions, such as the UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation events, and I’m working on a book. Fitness is a really exciting industry to work in; it gives you a lot back.

Find out more about Amanda at www.amandaoharept.com

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