A day in the life of a female personal trainer in Manchester 

Meet Ray, Female Personal Trainer in Manchester

Meet Ray – A Female Personal Trainer in Manchester

Hi 👋 I’m Ray, a female personal trainer in Manchester, pronouns she/they, and I work with people who have done no/limited strength training before, or who are trying to get back into it and need some support. I offer both personal training and partner training, alongside nutrition and lifestyle coaching, as required.

I have recently taken on a member of staff, whose primary role is to boost motivation, by telling you how great you are, through unlimited affection. Nugget has driven and sailed all the way from the streets of Romania for this position, and he couldn’t be better suited to the role. Nugget is a dog, just FYI, and my clients already love him more than me – although I think that’s pretty reasonable, he’s doing one hell of a job.

Together we provide a safe, inclusive, welcoming space at our private studio at Pollard Yard. A space for those who fancy a different environment than the average gym. Where they can learn and grow in confidence, both in and out of sessions. If you’re interested in what I get up to day to day as a personal trainer in Manchester, then read on!

Preparing for the Day: The Early Morning Routine

You might have an image of personal trainers being up at the crack of dawn, raring to go, and while I’m pretty good in the mornings, I still only usually do a few early ones each week. I love a slow morning and they are often reserved for me-time. I work weekdays, evenings and certain times at the weekend, and so a lot of the time, the mornings are mine, or at the very least, a slower start doing some admin in bed!

Getting ready for the day though is pretty simple – shower, breakfast, pack my bag (a couple of meals, lots of snacks, protein shake, laptop and chargers) and check the weather before getting dressed. I walk/cycle a lot and so I like to dress strategically, although as any Mancunian knows, it’s often completely pointless as the weather often does the complete opposite of what’s forecast. But I still try.

The Importance of a Healthy Breakfast

Now the importance of breakfast is widely debated and I want to clear this up. There is no right or wrong answer here. It may be that you need to eat a certain way for particular goals – for example, if you need to be consuming a certain amount of protein each day and it’s difficult to hit that within your other meals and snacks, then breakfast might be the answer. Or perhaps, you are wanting to train in the morning and have felt low on energy if you haven’t eaten. But if your nutrition suits your lifestyle and goals just fine without breakfast, there’s no reason why you need to be having it.

Personally, breakfast is my favourite meal, and while I can last a few hours without it, I generally don’t! I find that I’m much more productive and on the ball once I have some food in me, and so it really is the most important meal of the day. But isn’t necessarily for everyone.

First Client of the Day

My first client of the day is usually anywhere from 8am to 12pm and the fact I never wake up and go ‘urgh, I’ve got to go to work’ is always a good sign. I love getting started with my first client, after getting the studio open, set up and ready for the day. In the morning the sunlight streams through my side window and I’m a sucker for a bit of that glorious Vitamin D, on the odd morning the sun decides to peak out. The joy I get from seeing the first satisfied, happy client at the end of the session always sets me up nicely for the day.

Client Consultations: Setting Goals and Expectations

I generally conduct client consultations in person if it’s convenient for the potential client. This is because it’s important to me that we are a good fit, not just in terms of your goals, but also personalities too. After all, we’ll be spending a good few hours each week together. This partnership should be enjoyable for both of us – for you it means that you give more to the process, and for me it means I can enjoy my work, which is really important to me.

In a consultation, I’ll ask some questions regarding your training/nutrition/lifestyle both historically and at present. We will also discuss what it is you are wanting to achieve in more detail. I can then detail my process for you, and from there we can see if we’re a good fit to work together! I generally like to grab a brew and chat at one of a few different places in rotation: Queer Lit, Feel Good Club or the Active Wellness Cafe, all in Manchester city centre. These can be at any time of day really, depending on when suits both/all of us.

Me time: My turn to Train!

So this part of my day can be any time of day as well, depending on when clients are coming in, so I keep this pretty flexible and also structure my meals/snacks accordingly, so I can get the best out of my sessions. For me, this is my time to switch off and reset. Lifting for me becomes a form of meditation and is a great way to break up the day and give myself a boost of energy for the next few clients. This time is essential to me and I always try to prioritise this time for myself. I feel it’s important to make sure I give myself what I need to then be able to give 100% to my clients:)

Mid-Morning/Early Afternoon Energy Boost: Snacks and Hydration

If I’ve trained in the morning, I’ll make sure to have a snack and protein shake afterwards, and the same goes for any other time I find a slot to train in. It’s important to replenish carbohydrate stores following a workout so you don’t start the next workout on depleted stores (if training regularly).  Protein is essential for building muscle and therefore strength, and so I never leave the house without a protein shake! Keeping my body fuelled up and hydrated throughout the day means I can train myself and other people, while feeling on top form. My snacks tend to be a mix of the following: some sort of oat bar (either bought or self made), a peanut butter sandwich, a protein yogurt, protein shake and sometimes fruit like a banana or some blueberries.

Essential Admin

At some point during the day I will always have some admin to get done. This typically includes: nutrition reviews for clients, progress reviews, programming, programme adjustments, rescheduling sessions if clients need to swap theirs, and content writing – like this blog! I can do anywhere up to 6 hours of admin per day depending on how the rest of my week is fixed for in-person sessions – this often surprises people, as it all goes on behind the scenes.

Afternoon Clients: Accommodating Different Lifestyles

Many clients train with me during the day between 11:00-16:00, usually if they’re not 9-5 office based. They often comment that it’s a great way to break up the day, to boost productivity and overall mood (love some cheeky endorphins). Whether they work from home/office locally, have flexible work hours, or are freelance themselves, it’s a great way for me to split up the hours I spend with clients. I generally have a block of sessions during the day and block in the evening, and try to fit everyone around each other’s schedules, in terms of rearranging sessions for their various social events/appointments/holidays etc.  

Programmed Workouts: A Goal-Orientated Approach

The workouts I have my clients follow are always tailored to their specific abilities, as well as suited to their goals. To achieve muscle growth, strength building, weight loss, or whatever the goal is with weight-lifting, following a structured programme over a set period of time is essential to force your muscles to adapt in a specific way. Too much variety and the body becomes a master of none. However, stay on the same programme for too long and progress plateaus. I monitor every client’s progress and adjust/reprogramme accordingly at the right time. I ask for constant feedback throughout the process in terms of whether the client’s goals have stayed the same, or if they have developed new aspirations, as well as how they are finding different areas of the process. This means I can effectively support clients to achieve the goals that they have set out.

The Importance of Motivation and Support

How many times have you been productive, or worked harder, simply because someone else is in the room with you? Well, personal training is similar, in that you’re more likely to push yourself further because your trainer is there, but even more motivating because they set you goals for each set, rep and the session as a whole. I’ve had many clients say ‘I definitely wouldn’t have pushed for that last rep if I was by myself!’. And it’s true – even the most internally motivated of us can still be highly motivated by someone else encouraging and pushing you further.

Personal trainers are also here for support. Support that you’re performing an exercise safely and effectively, and if not, working with you to correct it. To support you in building your confidence and gaining independence in the gym. Having someone in your corner like this can be the difference between sticking with your new gym routine for a few months vs a few years…and beyond!

Lunch Break: Refuelling

Depending on how my day is structured, I often don’t have my lunch until late afternoon, usually between 15:00 and 18:00. As I can have anywhere up to 5 clients back to back in the evenings, I need a decent meal to see me through, or I’ll be getting hungry. This meal always has a good source of protein, whole grain carbs and around 5-7 different vegetables. So my food intake usually looks like: breakfast, a decent snack around the typical ‘lunchtime’ hours and then another meal in the early evening and then another snack when I finish for the day. As I mentioned before about breakfast, it really doesn’t matter when you eat your meals/snacks – there are no rules, only that it works well for you and your lifestyle.

Evening Appointments: Adapting to Individual Needs

As a female personal trainer in Manchester, I often work unsociable hours – the hours that most other people aren’t working! This is so that I can fit around my client’s schedules. Some people want to come straight from work at 16:30/17:00 and get their session boxed off before relaxing for the evening. Other people have post-work commitments and prefer slightly later, while others prefer 20:00 or 21:00 to finish the day off with some me-time, and to decompress after a long day. So my weekdays usually finish at 21:00/21:30.

A Post-Work Wind-Down: Stress Management Techniques

I used to live in the city centre and appreciated how quick it was to bop home at the end of the day. But the centre was getting crazy expensive and so I moved further out!

However, I don’t think I’d even want to move back, even if prices go way down, because I enjoy the short commute out at the end of the day to help me wind down. Whether I jump on a tram straight away, walk part way and then tram or just cycle, it’s time that I can spend away from my phone, which I tend to spend a lot of time on – between communicating with clients and tracking progress on my app during sessions, it racks up a lot of screen time! I like to put on some music that’s more ambient than engaging, such as jazz, classical or anything that helps me to switch off. 

I‘d encourage you to take some time, whether you have a commute or whether you can take a few minutes at home to simply ‘be’. To take a second and take a step back from the everyday business of life and acknowledge all the great things you have in yours. Then to take a few deep breaths, focusing on the inhale and exhale, how it sounds, how it feels, and try to quiet the thoughts, by placing them to one side, while you bring everything to a stop. Just for a moment.

Personal Growth and Continued Education

Either after work (with a rare early finish) or during the day, at a minimum of once per week, I like to make sure I listen to or read something new or educational – basically something that allows me to keep learning, whether it’s a podcast, a book or a course (I like to book onto courses whenever I can carve out time). This means I can keep adding new knowledge and add more value to my clients sessions, and lifestyles outside of the gym too. If I come across anything particularly valuable to clients, I generally send it on, and often send out new guides I have written or links to information they might find useful. I never want to stop learning – you can probably guess I was a bit of a nerd in school;)

“Dinner” and Relaxation: Unwinding for Tomorrow

When I get home, there might be a few small admin bits that I need to get done in preparation for the following day, or a few client messages to respond to, but once that’s done, I love to get in bed and snuggle Nugget with a small meal/light snack in front of whatever series we’re watching at the time. As I often get home quite late, I usually don’t want to eat anything huge before bed, and so I don’t really have a proper tea. I’ve had two big meals, a bunch of snacks, and so later, a lighter meal will do me, in place of a proper tea.

A Day in the Life of a Female Personal Trainer in Manchester

So that’s how a day in the life of a female personal trainer in Manchester generally tends to look, in various different orders of events. They do tend to be pretty long, but that’s the life of a personal trainer! But would I change it? Nah. The job is so worth it.

I get to work with some truly awesome people and watch them grow. I get to dispel countless myths and conflicting information from the mountain of fitness and nutrition content posted online, to simplify things for my clients. I’m my own boss which means choosing my own hours, choosing who I want to work with, and ultimately putting into my business what I want to get out of it. And I live every day walking a balance between working hard to keep my business successful and yet also living in the moment and enjoying each session where I can provide some value to my clients. If you’re interested in working together, drop me a message by filling in my enquiry form and we can have a chat:)

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Picture of Ray Hickford

Ray Hickford

Hi, I’m Ray, a health and wellbeing professional in Manchester working with clients through training and nutrition programmes to help them feel more confident, strong and happy both in and outside of the gym.
As a Qualified Personal Trainer and Level 4 RSPH Nutrition Advisor, I am constantly learning myself - from my clients, from other industry experts and sometimes myself! And sometimes I write some of this down for ya.

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