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Reflections of a Personal Trainer

By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Gym | on September 27, 2018

It’s the start of my fifth year running Dynamic Fitness Training, my Personal Training company based in Muswell Hill and north London,  and it feels like the right time for a little bit of reflection.

Why I started Dynamic Fitness Training?

I was in an office job, albeit with fitness industry links, and was personal training on the side training clients for another company. I had built up experience of training clients for five years whilst working full-time. I felt stuck in my office job with little direction as to where I was going. I asked whether there were any development opportunities and was given a ‘well, um, uh’ type answer. I’d made the decision before this meeting that if I didn’t hear what I wanted, I’d resign…….so I resigned there and then. I was ready to take the step. To train people. It was what I enjoyed. Plus, I desperately wanted to be my own boss. I’d gained experience of training clients on a part-time basis (1122 sessions by that time) so knew I knew what

I was doing and people liked training with me. So DFT was born!

Into year 5 doing this full-time, any regrets?

It’s a cliché to say but my biggest regret is undoubtedly not doing it earlier. Part of me feels like if I had jumped ship sooner, I may not have been as ready, but the way everything fell nicely for me, I think I would have been ready whenever.

Lessons learned as a Personal Trainer?

When you first start your personal training business, you say yes to everything. 5am sessions, working both weekend days, travelling to 10 different locations on back-to-back sessions, all of these got the thumbs up from me. It’s important to do that, but only at the start. You’ll reach a point of burnout if you continue for too long. Also, I have learned that price point reflects who you are and the clients you’ll attract. At first, I was desperate to get clients so would strike deals, and essentially lower my worth. Now, these are my prices, you can pay and get a wonderful service, or find someone cheaper and get a poorer offering. It sounds heartless but you have to know your worth. I’ve more experience than most PTs in the industry. The ones who have trained clients for 10 years are so few and far between. Some who do are just going through the motions. I have experience and enthusiasm but adjusting my price point allowed for that. I did 500 sessions fewer last year than in my first year. Why? Because now I can offer a service where I am completely charged up rather than hustling about to fit more sessions in. Every client pays a certain amount of money and expects a certain service. My first or tenth client of the day should get the best of me. Reducing client numbers and increasing prices allows for this.

Greatest successes?

The ones that always feel good are when clients subtly bring up how their friends and family have been saying how great they look. There is professional pride in that. My favourite ones are the wedding crew. As a married man, I know what a huge day the wedding day is. I have photo albums which will be shown to kids and grandkids. Looking and feeling great on that day is super important. To know that clients feel amazing walking down the aisle because of the work you’ve put in together and it will be documented forever more is a fab feeling.

Plus, as a runner, I also love my marathon clients. So many of my clients were completely averse to running a half or full marathon. Then through training and gentle coaxing, they’ve committed and in the end, got the buzz. Going up to watch some complete the London marathon is brilliant. I always feel like a parent as I usually have a bag of water, energy drinks, painkillers, plasters, electrolytes, think the only thing I am missing is a spare set of nappies!


It’s very much a ‘watch this space’ situation as there may be some super exciting things happening in year 5 of Dynamic Fitness Training. Whilst I preach about sharing your goals for emotional support on weight loss and fitness journeys, when it comes to business, I often feel it’s better to work in the dark and then surprise and excite in the light.

Key DFT facts

6645 Personal Training sessions delivered
2 trainers at Dynamic Fitness Training
8 clients at DFT have trained in preparation of their weddings
5 female clients have had fabulous, healthy bouncing babies
4 marathons have been completed
16 half-marathons have been completed

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