REAL WORLD PT: KARLEEANNE CHAU, PT STUDIO OPERATOR, VIC
A SNAPSHOT OF HOW TODAY’S PERSONAL TRAINERS ARE WORKING, LIVING AND SHAPING THEIR CAREERS
Hot & Healthy Personal Training, hotandhealthy.com.au
How long have you been a PT?
Are you full time or part time?
Full time PT and studio operator, working with my team of 3 other PTs and a physiotherapist.
Why did you become a trainer?
After having my first child, I decided I wanted a career that could be flexible and allow me to work around my family.
Do you specialise?
Yes, my specialty is small group personal training.
What’s your signature style of training?
Animal Flow, Bodyweight training, TRX, ViPR and THUMP Boxing.
How many hours do you train clients for each week?
35 to 40 hours.
How many hours do you spend working on your business?
5 to 10 hours a week
What hours do you work?
Monday to Friday I work splits of 6:30am to 1pm and then 6 til 9pm. On Thursday, Friday and Sunday I spend an hour or two on admin.
What do you do in between training clients?
Kayak, run, bodyweight training, eat, dance and raise three children!
How much do you charge for training?
Our packages are detailed on the website. I ask for a minimum 13-week commitment and offer two packages, GOLD (all inclusive) and SILVER (PT only).
How many clients do you have?
Currently 120 regular clients visit our PT studio on a weekly basis.
What do you do in terms of your ongoing education?
I have attended FILEX every year since becoming a PT, as well as fitness workshops for areas I am interested in and programs I believe are going to reshape our industry. Online courses don’t work for me as I love being around other exercise professionals and sharing our experiences, expertise and skills.
How long do your clients stay with you?
60 per cent of my clients have been with me for longer than 5 years, 20 per cent longer than 3 years, 20 per cent longer than 1 year and 10 per cent recent (I have these stats as I conduct an annual client survey).
How do you get new clients?
Being located in a rural area (Phillip Island, Victoria) word of mouth, referrals and social media are my three main sources of generating new clients. I have a wonderful network of allied health professionals who are clients and/or close friends, which is also a great source for networking and education.
Do you vet clients before you agree to train them?
Always, I provide a complimentary consultation prior to any client commencing with me.
Do you ever turn clients away or refer them to other PTs?
Three weeks ago I had a rather fierce looking dude come into the studio asking about my boxing classes. My THUMP Boxing classes are 90 per cent female and based on fitness and fun, and this guy looked like he wanted to unleash, so I gave him the details of our local MMA instructor and sent him on his way! It’s important to know your client base, your limitations and what other exercise professionals offer in your area to refer on. Both parties can then feel better knowing they’re getting exactly what they want.
What makes you different to other trainers?
I have an undercut and lots of tattoos?! When you have that sparkle in your eyes whenever you talk, write, move and breathe about something you are passionate about, you know you have got what it takes and, after 10 years, it’s still there… even at 6:30am!
What’s the best thing about being a PT?
It’s a privilege to see any person at their most vulnerable or most celebrated. During my career I have worked with clients that have cancer, strokes, spouse deaths, troubled teens, relationship breakdowns, life altering weight loss, new business ventures, career changes, pregnancies, births, marriages and even instigated an engagement. Getting personal with my clients is my number one commitment and reward.
And the hardest?
What’s the biggest misconception about working in fitness?
You’ll earn $100+ per hour and become a superstar... If you’re in it for the money and fame, you should rethink your choice.
Where would you like your career to take you?
My career has already taken me to some wonderful heights within my own PT studio and client base. I have proudly mentored numerous exercise professionals in their own careers. Next I would like to try my hand at presenting and consulting within our industry.
What is your fitness philosophy?
My commitment to my clients has always been unrelenting: I give 100 per cent and ask for the same in return. I am a pioneer of change and growth – when I know my clients will benefit and enjoy their regular training sessions through the work and passion I provide, and are proud of me as their PT, I am fulfilled.
What advice would you give to someone starting out as a PT?
Don’t take your job lightly, implement an administration system, find yourself a mentor (my door is always open), be happy and humble, but most of all ensure your clients are getting hot and healthy!
Follow Karleeanne on Instagram @hotandhealthypt