BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Therapy
Help patients back to optimal levels of fitness with this SST-accredited degree. Learn from clinically active staff and gain real-world experience with placements in a range of settings.
BSc (Hons) Health, Nutrition and Exercise Science
I began work in the fitness industry as soon as I was qualified to do so – which I did as part of my undergraduate course. Upon graduation I continued on with David Lloyd in an employed role when I decided it was time to get out there on my own and started working as a sole trader, training people in their homes and local parks.
The time came for me to take the next step when I took on the lease for my own premises from which I trained my own clients as well as hiring space out to other personal trainers. When I started a family, I decided it was time to start employing a team to work with me and in time we took up full use of the training space, no longer hiring out to freelancers.
I’ve had three children since then and the business has certainly had its ups and downs (of course including the last couple of years of Covid madness) but as a business we are excited about the future and the fact that people are starting to realise the value of their health a little more is no bad thing as we hope business will grow as a result!
Now my role within the business is very much different to how I started out. I am a business owner rather than a personal trainer – carrying out very few, if any, coaching sessions myself. Instead I have a team of excellent coaches who work with me to deliver a 5-star service to our client base.
It’s my job now to look more at the ‘bigger picture’, improving on how we deliver coaching to our clients and also how we can attract more people to what we do, enabling us to have a positive impact on the physical and mental health to a greater proportion of the local community.
It’s tough to pick a single thing. I do try to take a moment now and then to consider all that I have achieved and put together. To look at the studio, the staff who work within it, and the clients who train with us and think that none of it would have happened if I hadn’t put the effort and consistency in, and it all started at Solent! But there’s always more to be done and ways to improve so I’m often too occupied looking at the future to spend much time appreciating the achievements that have got me to this point.
Fitness was a real career swerve for me, I had spent my A-levels and the year after them trying to get into musical theatre. At the time fitness was a keen hobby of mine and so I decided to make the switch. Music became something I pursued as a hobby, joining various function bands and gigging at the weekends. Fitness was to become my career. Solent was one of the top universities in the country for that course and having grown up in Southampton and already living with my partner just a mile from the campus… it was a no brainer!
Although I had already been working full time before I started at Solent (I took on a job as a secretary in my gap year), my time at the university continued to teach me about independence and the importance of organising my own time, essentially getting the job done because no-one was going to do it for me. That being said, there was as much support there as I wanted to reach out for, it goes both ways – if you show willing and commitment, the staff meet you where you are at and propel you forward. If you sit at home twiddling your thumbs … you are on your own!
Firstly, you will have spent three years being a sponge and cramming all you’ve learned into your head, but ultimately this is only a small slice of making you into a great coach and smart business person. If I could start over again, I’d still go into employed work because I learnt a lot in that job which has helped me since then. You need practice. When you have overheads, the stakes are much higher and mistakes can cost you (and they regularly do because I still make them now!). Learn from people who have been in the job for longer. That doesn’t mean you need to copy them, but you can learn from everyone.
Secondly, don’t stop going on courses, or to seminars and workshops. I think when you leave uni you feel a bit saturated with learning as the course contains so many great modules, but then learn about something different. Learn from entrepreneurs, business coaches, and join strong networks like the IFBA.
I’ve got a brilliant team around me now. I’m excited for how we as a business are going to expand over the coming years. First and foremost, we are going to develop and improve what we do where we are. Then when we’ve got it right, we’ll pick up and plant another location somewhere else.