REAL WORLD PT: Matt Grant, PT Studio Owner, NSW

A snapshot of how today’s personal trainers are working, living and shaping their careers

Life’s too short to live off kale! When he's not training his clients, Matt Grant shares burgers, beers and a few laughs with them.

What’s your business called?

  • MG Fitness, mgfitness.com.au
  • facebook.com/mgfitnesssydney
  • instagram.com/mg_fitnesssydney
  • How long have you been a PT?

    12 years.

    Are you full time or part time?

    Full time.

    What made you decide to become a trainer?

    My love for sport and my passion for helping, teaching and inspiring people to live their best lives. Sounds a bit cheesy, but very true.

    Do you specialise?

    Along with personal training I run big group strength and conditioning classes both in the gym and outdoors. We also run events including health retreats, special guest training sessions, Palm Beach sand dunes, social events and corporate wellness days. I love and thrive on the energy that’s created when groups of likeminded people come together.

    Do you have anyone else working for you?

    I have six contractors who work for me. They are a bunch of super humans and I’m so fortunate to have them on board. I place very high importance on surrounding myself with good people. These guys are very good people!

    Do you have a signature style of training?

    I have a personal spin on group strength and conditioning.

    How many hours do you train clients for each week?

    20 hours (including groups). The other PTs who work with us train varying hours of classes and one-on-one clients.

    How many hours do you spend working on your business?

    10-15 hours per week.

    What hours do you work?

    Like most trainers, I work in blocks. From 5:30 to 8:30am I train groups and clients, after which I spend a couple of hours until 11am on admin, in meetings or socialising. At lunchtimes, between 12 and 1pm you’ll find me playing basketball or touch footy. From 1:30 to 2:30 I train a corporate session, and after that I go for a walk or have a little downtime until 4pm, then it’s three hours of training clients and groups until 7pm.

    What do you do in any downtime during the day?

    I get outdoors. Whether it be playing sport, socialising, going for a bushwalk or hitting the beach, I aim to get my mind away from work when I get the chance. I’m a firm believer in having downtime to avoid burning out. I’m a family man and my kids come first, so they will always play a part in my day in some way, shape or form.

    How much do you charge?

    $100 for 45mins of private training, and $250/month for our unlimited group training membership which entitles members to 20+ weekly training sessions, both indoor and outdoor, as well as access to all of our events.

    What do you do in terms of your ongoing education?

    I work with mentors and take part in events and workshops, and I’m always listening to podcasts and audio books.

    How many clients do you have?

    100+ (including group members).

    How long, on average do your clients stay with you?

    I’m still training some of the first clients I picked up around 12 years ago. If clients aren’t going to be the right fit, it’s a transition that happens immediately. Otherwise, people only usually leave if they’re moving away.

    How do you get new clients?

    As I mentioned, we are big on events, which bring the community together and are a great way to network. Outside of our events, we have ongoing promotions in the gym and run Facebook/Instagram ads, however word of mouth has always been our number one source of new business.

    Do you vet clients before you agree to train them?

    100%. I make sure I, or other staff, sit down and go over the client’s background and what they’re after, specifically. This clarifies whether they’re suited to the program or not, and which trainer is most suitable for each client.

    Do you ever turn clients away or refer them to other PTs?

    Yes. Every trainer and training model is different. If a client is more suitable to someone else, I’ll send them their way. We want people to find a program they not only get results from, but that they can stick to. If other trainers are more knowledgeable or suited to a specific client, they should be training that client.

    What differentiates you from other trainers?

    The personal connection I have with my members and clients. I genuinely care about everyone I see. If there’s no connection it simply doesn’t work out and we’ll know this immediately. I also have a different outlook to most. I eat burgers and drink beer with my clients. I am a strong believer in living a balanced lifestyle. Life is too short to live off kale.

    What is the best thing about being a PT?

    Watching people’s lives change outside of the gym. It’s all well and good to see clients lose a few kg’s or add size to their biceps, but the ultimate reward is watching people become happier. The happier a person becomes, the better their life becomes.

    And the hardest?

    Work-life balance. PT hours are extremely long and if business is not systemised correctly it’s easy to burn out – which I have done previously – and it’s not pretty.

    What’s the biggest misconception about working in fitness?

    That it’s easy money. From the outside looking in, people work out that if you’re charging $100/hr, you only need to work 20 hours/week and you’re making over $100K a year. They don’t see the cancellations, the tax bills, the rent, the fitness registration, the insurance, what happens when winter hits, the early mornings and late nights, and the hard work that’s put into picking up (and keeping) those clients.

    Where would you like your career to take you?

    I simply want to reach more people. I currently run a training facility, outdoor boot camps, events and health retreats. I want my voice and message to be heard by as many people as possible. My aim is simply to expand upon what I’m currently doing. Whether that be in the form of more facilities or bigger events, I’m still working it out.

    What is your fitness philosophy?

    Be real, don’t believe everything you see on social media and surround yourself with good people.

    What advice would you give to someone starting out as a PT?

    Firstly, experience as much of the fitness industry as you can. Secondly, find your niche. Thirdly, find a mentor that compliments that niche.

    Want to be a future featured Real World PT? For details, email editor@fitnessnetwork.com.au