“I fell into personal training while at uni and have been doing it ever since”

Most people lust after the perfect set of abs or an inch-perfect body, but few consider helping others achieve their fitness goals. Personal trainer Lisa Cunningham says why not do both?

Australian-born personal trainer Lisa lives and works in London. She’s a super inspirational lady: Her aim is to “inspire, lead and teach” any person she meets to lead a healthier, and ultimately happier, lifestyle.

Living in a fit and healthy way can be tough, she admits, but it beats feeling body conscious all the time. We caught up with her to find out what it’s really like to be a personal trainer.

Lisa Cunningham

Image Credit: Lisa Cunningham

1. How did you know you wanted to do your job?

I’ve always been passionate about sport and used to run and swim at a high level. I fell into personal training while at uni and have been doing it ever since. After six months I worked as an outdoor trainer. It wasn’t until I moved to London that I started learning more and really improving my skills as a trainer.

2. What’s been the most important moment in your career so far?

Opening my own small studio four years ago. I was working in a gym as a freelance trainer and had the opportunity to branch out on my own. It’s only a small space but it’s a great start towards opening a bigger one. Not knowing if it would work and really laying it all on the line was tough, but the best move I have ever made.

3 What are the best things about your job?

Seeing people change physically and mentally. If they commit to training and eating right and are patient, they are rewarded. When clients start to believe they can do it and start putting the work in that’s just the best feeling.

4. What are the worst?

Admin is tough. Invoices, emails, calls, paper work – it’s tedious but necessary. Following up on clients who have stopped training and trying to motivate clients who have given up is hard as well, but part of the job. You can’t help everyone.

5. What do you think people don’t realise about being a personal trainer?

It’s hard work. Managing 20 plus clients, staying on top of their training and nutrition, guiding them each session towards a goal that can seem so far off. Keeping myself educated and getting on to courses to keep up to date with what’s happening is also vital for your longevity as a trainer. Then putting it into practice. You really have to love helping people and stop at nothing to help them as best as you can.

Image Credit: Lisa Cunningham

Image Credit: Lisa Cunningham

6. Have you ever had a moment of self-doubt? What happened and how do you get through those?

All the time. You have to go back to basics, trust what you know works and give it time for every client. Even in my own training I doubt myself. You have to keep track of what worked and didn’t work and try a new avenue and see how it goes. Most people want results straight away and aren’t patient. They lack consistency and staying power to see it through.

7. What would you say to your 15-year-old self?

Don’t worry about how much you weigh. I have struggled with this for many years. Seek health above all and be happy with who you are and love yourself no matter what the world thinks. Set goals and go for them. Never give up. The best is yet to come.

8. What are your life goals as a personal trainer?

To open a larger place in London over the next two years. I also want to move back to Australia and set up a place there in about three years time. I have to regularly go on courses to learn to be a better trainer to my clients, and to make more time for myself outside of the job.