REAL WORLD PT: Dinny Morris, Self-employed PT, NSW
A snapshot of how today’s personal trainers are working, living and shaping their careers
Dinny Morris Fitness, dinnymorrisfitness.com.au
How long have you been a PT?
Full time or part time?
Why did you become a trainer?
I’m passionate about fitness and helping people transform themselves through personal accountability and training programs.
Do you specialise?
I specialise in working with 10kg plus weight loss, ‘emergency’ weight loss for male and female clients, and in training guys for hypertrophy. People who come to me want to drastically change themselves for the better and that’s what drives me to push them to achieve their goals. I work with a range of clients, from those who are just starting out and have a lot of weight to lose, right through to those who are already in great shape.
What’s your signature style of training?
Classics, keep it simple, don’t over complicate it. Many of my clients work between 50-100 hours a week and don’t need the complication of taking supplements or following no-carb or paleo diets. Every client’s goals, needs, training ages and abilities are different, so I cater programs to each individual using a range of weights, body weight, functional, remedial and biomechanical training.
How many hours do you train clients for each week?
35 to 40. It depends on clients being away for work.
What hours do you work?
6 til 10am, and then 4 til 9pm.
How many hours do you spend working on your business?
About 30 hours per week. I have a few online weight loss and personal training start-up businesses in the works. Watch this space.
What do you do in between training clients?
Education, blogging, marketing and website stuff. I keep in touch with my clients and ask them what they’re eating for lunch or what they’ve done training-wise. I keep their goals at the forefront of their minds.
What do you do in terms of your ongoing education?
I do a lot of online and offline courses to build my skills and knowledge of health and fitness so I can pass it on to my clients. I read, and listen to industry-related audiobooks by authors with real world experience and results.
How many regular clients do you have?
I have 15 regulars.
How long do your clients stay with you?
I’ve been training some of my long-term clients for five years. Other clients come to me because they want to lose weight for a specific occasion, so I work to help them reach their goals in the shortest time possible.
How do you get new clients?
Word of mouth and referrals from physiotherapists, chiropractors, masseuses and other industry or health professionals.
Do you vet clients before you agree to train them?
Yes. There’s no point having someone on your books who wants entertaining instead of training. All of my clients are results-driven individuals. The main thing I look for is that they have goals and are driven to succeed. I tell my clients exactly what to expect so there are no excuses six weeks down the track. I’m not there to do clients’ push ups for them, I’m there to help them achieve their goals through programming and by keeping them focused and motivated. When clients achieve their goals, I make sure they 100 per cent know they are the ones who did that, not me.
Do you ever turn clients away or refer them to other PTs?
Yes. I don't work with people who don’t want to change bad habits or only want general fitness or routines. If someone is an emotional eater and refuses to get help or someone refuses to stop smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, you can't change them. They can only change themselves.
What’s your USP?
I’m very hardworking, passionate and results-driven. No smoke and mirrors. No fluff. I’m not in this business to stroke egos or talk nonsense. I listen to what my clients need and want. I 100 per cent personalise each client’s program using different instructional techniques that cater to individual strengths and weaknesses, such as core, lower back and shoulders. I’m relentless when it comes to training and ensuring my clients get results and maintain a positive mindset. But through all the sweat and hard work, I still manage to make my clients laugh!
What’s the best thing about being a PT?
When clients achieve their goals and freak themselves out because they never thought they could lose so much weight or build so much muscle. I’ve had clients who have been able to overcome various medical conditions and stop needing medication after improving their health and fitness on my programs. There’s not much more satisfying than that. It’s always a win to work with motivated people who have a fire inside them and all you need to do is stoke it.
And the hardest?
Working your ass off to help people who won’t help themselves, aren’t dedicated to achieving their goal, or don’t respect your time.
What’s the biggest misconception about working in fitness?
That it’s easy. Dealing with some people who have developed bad habits over long periods of time or have psychological and emotional attachments to food can be very hard. It requires patience and understanding as poor eating habits and bad health choices can be deeply ingrained and don’t just dissipate overnight. That’s why it’s important for each client to be ready for change when they come to me.
Where would you like your career to take you?
What’s your fitness philosophy?
Keep it simple.
What advice would you give to someone starting out as a PT?
Know the type of client you want to train. I’m an energy person, so if someone is motivated and ready to change themselves, then I’m ready to help them. Helping them achieve their results not only helps the client, it also helps you grow your business. No one cares about your abs or how much you can deadlift unless you can get a client to achieve the same. Looking the part is part of the business, but actually inspiring people and putting sessions together should be your priority. It’s OK to say no to training a client if you don’t feel right about them.
Find a mentor who will give you constructive feedback and stay open to learning by taking courses and building on your education. Be an original, not a copy. Reading other industry leader’s blogs then rehashing the information to clients without having tried the training style yourself is not good practice. Practice what you preach. Stay away from gym politics and focus on your own clients and business. Know your realm of practice and stick to it; you’re not a doctor, you’re not a counsellor, and you’re not a chiropractor. But you do have the ability to help transform lives if you do things right. Lastly, you need to want your client to succeed and achieve their goals as much as they do.