by Paul Dunn on
Tags: Personal Trainer
Categories: Aim Higher Interviews
Paul Dunn is founder and tutor at PT Skills Academy. An industry experienced Personal Trainer and Manager, having traveled globally as a Master Trainer Paul is now based in Leeds delivering vocational education to the industries next generation of trainers.
Today Paul gives us the background to how he started in the industry, the challenges he faced as a newly qualified trainer and advice for future trainers.
Tell us about yourself; who you are, and where you live.
I'm a fitness & food lover who has always had a keen interest in fitness, I live in Harrogate and enjoy being around the countryside. I have grown up in the country but I’ve always been in commuting distance from the major Yorkshire cities. 11 years on from my qualification and graduating from University I am now teaching, something I thoroughly enjoy . It is very rewarding working with trainers coming into the industry, just like working with clients and seeing them grow, it is just as rewarding to see the students I work with develop themselves and their own personal training careers.
How did you start out in the industry?
Back in 2002 I had finished college and started working in a local leisure centre as a lifeguard. I was always interested in fitness and quickly realised my opportunities would be better at University. During my degree, I completed my PT courses and worked as a gym instructor. I was lucky to get involved in professional football working as an assistant conditioning coach for some football clubs in League 1 at the time, a great experience, I learnt alot about myself and professional future, football was not my passion but fitness was and it was a real buzz seeing the players perform better as a result of training. I have worked as a freelance gym manager, personal trainer and fitness coach through my career. I have also travelled as a Master Trainer supporting health club chains with product education for their gym equipment, delivering workshops and training in; gym floor interaction, small group training, and fitness management. I love working with people, and it has lead me to teach health and fitness, my one true passion in life.
What challenges have you faced during your career?
When I was younger than I am now, I found it hard to say no, when you’re starting out you can get caught up in the buzz of the industry and being self-employed, income is king. I would work too much and give up my personal life to either deliver more sessions, or take on other work for some of the operators I worked for as a freelancer. I’m better at it these days and I’ve become more attuned to managing myself to ensure I perform well and that I have the balance between work and home life. It is really important to plan your diary as a new or experienced trainer. It helps you set weekly goals that are achievable and maintain the balance with family and friends.
How has your personal training career changed since you started?
I have a natural energy that has continued to drive my own development in the industry, and as my commitments have changed I found myself in management. I have managed health club teams in personal training, sales, fitness, front of house, café bars, and cleaning teams. My education has been highly transferable; working with people has helped me develop my team members. Working with colleagues is exactly like working with clients; educate, develop and support them to become a better version of themselves. My qualifications have given me the grounding and understanding of the fitness industry that helped me progress my career.
What do you enjoy about the industry?
The energy it creates, the industry has evolved so much over the years and we are now learning so much from other FMCG sectors and the hospitality industries. Really valuable knowledge for any trainer learning their way through the first year of qualification. No day is the same and if you do have a bad a day, you have friends around you who are there to support you and give you a boost when you need it, we are not immune to a bad day, and, from time to time it happens, when it does, remember that tomorrow is a new day and keep aiming higher.
What’s the best advice you could give to future students?
Reflect every day. Have goals for yourself that are either personal or business related to your career. Always ask yourself if you have given the day your all, did you commit enough time to finding new clients in the gym, did you introduce yourself to the right number of new gym members, have you made every gym member feel special, or have your studied enough to become an expert in your area? There are dozens more to this list, but reflection is personal, never compare yourself to others, just yourself. Then you will grow and achieve the things that you want to achieve, not what someone else wants to achieve.
The one phrase I use to keep me focused is our Academy motto, Aim Higher, it helps me stay focused on my own goals and when I review them. Right now I am aiming to improve my social media skills to share more information and video content with my peers and students. For those of you out there with good social media skills, please share your content with me. Collaboration is always good when you have a skill set that is not as strong as you would like, learning from each other is mutually beneficial. As a "Personal Trainer" it is always helpful to have a network of supportive peers, never be afraid of your weaker skill sets, be aware of them, work on them and ask for help when you need it.
Don't forget to join us on Facebook as we will be sharing daily content on our page, a like and share would also be very helpful. Thanks for reading, I hope the information I have shared can be of benefit to you, if you do have any questions you can always get in touch and contact us via the website.