Your personal trainer schedule - a full year's view

A Strategic Approach to Your Independent Personal Trainer Schedule

Personal Trainer Schedule
David Bohmiller

by David Bohmiller
Co-founder of Epicenter Training

Create Your Personal Trainer Schedule with the Whole Year In Mind!

As an independent personal trainer, the idea of a flexible schedules and being your own boss is undeniable. However, disorganization in the short-term can quickly lead to the same in the long-term. In this guide, we'll explore why and how you, as an independent fitness professional, should meticulously organize your personal trainer schedule, not just on a daily basis but with a keen eye on the entire year.

let's explore how to design your personal trainer schedule!

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1. Understanding Your Business Seasons

Running your personal training business independently means understanding, and planning for, seasonality. Consider the ebb and flow of client availability during holidays, school vacations, and other annual events. Align your schedule to these cycles to ensure sustained client engagement and steady income.

Is your client roster full of teachers, looking to travel during the Summer? It isn't uncommon for this to cut the average weekly sessions of some trainers in half. There are 3 options to consider in preparation:

  1. Plan for, and accept it, enjoying some downtime of your own in the process
  2. Provide alternative services (e.g. - virtual sessions or programming in place of in-person training)
  3. Establish seasonal offerings for other client types (e.g. - students with increased availability over the Summer)

2. Avoiding the Burnout Trap

Saying yes to early morning and late evening sessions may seem like the pathway to success. However, a sustainable personal trainer schedule goes beyond maximizing daily hours. By understanding your limits and avoiding over-commitment, you'll prevent burnout, ensuring longevity in your career.

Co-founder perspective:

  • "In the mid-2000s, there was a stretch of 18 months where I consistently performed 140 - 180 sessions per month. On Mondays, I had 15 hour-long sessions in a row, starting my day at 7am and finishing my last session at 10pm. The rest of the week was a slowly-descending staircase of number of sessions, with Saturday mornings consisting of 3-5 sessions and group exercise classes. While the money was great, my clients were happy, and I felt connected to my purpose, I began feeling the negative consequences that come with an unbalanced and unsustainable schedule. My commitment to my own workouts suffered, as did my sleep and nutrition. Nearer the end of this stretch, I could tell that I wasn't able to give each client the consistent energy and focus they deserved, for lack of energy and enjoyment. It was an important experience that taught me the value of my time, self-care, and long-term planning to support my career, clients, and purpose." - David Bohmiller

3. Prioritizing Planned Vacations

One of the perks of independence is the ability to dictate when and how you take breaks. Build planned vacations into your yearly schedule to recharge mentally and physically. A well-rested personal trainer is not only more effective but also exudes the energy and enthusiasm that clients seek.

As you look at the calendar, a year in advance, make not of each of the holidays. Are there those, recognized locally, where your clients or their kids might have the day off? Could this sometimes mean that their families might take an entire week off? How could this impact your schedule?

For some trainers, this can mean the opportunity for a greater number of sessions on those days. For others, their typical average session count might be cut by half or more. To the former situation, one might choose to load up on sessions. While, to the latter, one might elect a half-day or a full-day off, while proactively rescheduling the sessions that might have occurred to other days and times. Whichever you choose, be clear and timely in your communication with clients so they can also plan accordingly.

Align your own vacations with those of the majority of your clients, and you'll never end the year saying, "I didn't take one true vacation this year."

4. Balancing Business and Personal Life

Your personal trainer schedule shouldn't monopolize your life. Create boundaries and allocate specific time for personal activities, family, and self-care. A balanced life not only enhances your well-being but also positively influences your business interactions.

The conversations and experiences that you have outside of the gym can refresh your mind and body, giving you fresh ideas, perspectives, interests, and knowledge with which to fuel your future client interactions. Prioritize harmony of your business and personal lives so one doesn't overwhelm the other.

Annual Personal Trainer Schedule

5. Strategic Client Communication

Being proactive in communication is key. Keep your clients informed about your schedule and any planned breaks well in advance. Transparent communication fosters trust and understanding, mitigating potential client dissatisfaction.

Through in-person communication, email notification, handwritten notes, newsletter broadcast, or a combination of these, there's a wealth of communication channels available so that your clients are never left in the dark when it comes to being in-the-know.

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6. The Power of Reflective Practice

Regularly assess the effectiveness of your schedule. What worked this year? What didn't? Adjust and refine your approach for continuous improvement. A reflective personal trainer is a successful one.

Did you make yourself available on a holiday Monday, only to have 2 clients show up? That same day, in the next year, might be better-planned as a full day off. Conduct these reviews each year, and your annual planning can be based on evidence of data instead of gut feel and guessing.

7. Investing in Professional Development

Allocate time in your schedule for ongoing professional development. Attend workshops, conferences, and courses to stay ahead in the fitness industry. This not only enhances your skills but also attracts clients looking for a knowledgeable and evolving personal trainer.

Co-founder perspective:

  • "I recall planning some vacations to coincide with seminars, workshops, and conferences, for which I'd earn CEUs toward recertification while also getting to see parts of the country that I hadn't visited before. One that stands out is a trip to Tempe, Arizona for a workshop, instructed by Gray Cook and Lee Burton, at what was then Athletes' Performance (now EXOS). Following the workshop, I'd planned for several more days in the area, with which I chose to enjoy the beauty of Sedona." - David Bohmiller

key takeaways of the annual personal trainer schedule

Crafting your personal trainer schedule is an art that extends beyond daily bookings. It's about understanding the rhythm of your business, avoiding burnout, and prioritizing personal well-being. By adopting a holistic approach and considering the entire year, you not only ensure your success as an independent personal trainer but also pave the way for a fulfilling and sustainable career. Your schedule is not just a list of appointments; it's your fitness empire's foundation!

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