9 Top Tips for Successful Time Management


sporty young woman in sportswear using activity tracker in fitness gym while standing on treadmill

As a personal trainer, good time management is essential. You’ll often have a busy diary of early starts and late-night finishes, especially if you are just starting your career. To effectively balance your work schedule, promote yourself, attract new clients and live your life, you need to be able to manage your time like a pro.

Listed below are nine key ways to manage your schedule to increase productivity, reach your goals and see overall results. As an experienced personal trainer, these are the steps I found the best for managing my schedule. There are, of course, other methods, but these are tried and tested. You can learn from my mistakes and avoid burnout.

Now, I know it’s not as sexy as talking about exercise routines, fat loss techniques or what supplements can give you the best gains (heads up, if you’re not a professional bodybuilder, chances are supps won’t make much difference to you or your clients’ results). However, correct time management will put you miles ahead of other personal trainers and help you set the bar for the performance you deliver in all aspects of your life.

Why Learn about Time Management?

Time management is a factor aspiring and current personal trainers regularly overlook, and their personal and professional life ends up taking the hit. It’s never been easier to become a personal trainer, but it’s always challenging to become the most successful personal trainer you can be.

When you learn how to properly and effectively manage your time, you’ll deliver a better service, increase your earnings, your clients will see better results, and you’ll begin to enjoy more freedom.

Now, this topic has become a lot more interesting, hasn’t it!

man doing chest press with spot

The mistake every personal trainer makes is taking on too much and then subsequently realising they don’t have enough time throughout the day to complete everything to a high standard. It is very easy to get tangled up with earning more money and working every hour under the sun to run your business.

But the issue is having so much to do and little time to do it.

For example, let’s take a look at the typical tasks a personal trainer has to fulfil on a daily and weekly basis.

  • Train clients: This one is pretty obvious, but it takes up most of your day, especially if you’re running back-to-back sessions. This can see a large portion of your day taken before you’ve done anything else.
  • Write client programmes: I’m not talking about your copy and paste job here. I’m talking about proper kick-a$$ programmes that make you stand out from other personal trainers in your gym.
  • Client check-ins: This can vary from a phone call for those who need additional support and guidance to a face-to-face consultation to check in on progress and help your client remain on track, motivated and improve their overall well-being. Depending on your clients, this can be a large chunk of your day and an ongoing daily task.
  • Consultations/Sales: Well, how else are you going to run a successful business? You’ll find yourself spending a lot of time responding to queries and scheduling phone calls. To be successful, you need to be at the top of your game because first impressions do count. If you appear distracted or harassed, chances are people won’t sign up.
  • Marketing: Whether it’s talking to members of the gym, posting content on social media or responding to enquiries, you need to take the time to build brand awareness to help boost you and your business.
  • Your own training: Let’s face it, you most likely got into this industry because you went through some form of transformation yourself am I right? For your own mental and physical health, we must continue to prioritise our own training.
  • Eat: Come on, we educate clients about how important it is to eat at appropriate times. Don’t you think you should be doing the same?
  • Present classes: Not for everyone, but it can still eat up a lot of time. Running classes in your gym can be a great way to get in front of potential clients and spread awareness of you and your services. It’s one of our top marketing tips for personal trainers, but there’s no denying that fronting regular spin classes or kettlebell sessions can dig into your time.
  • Unwind: You aren’t a robot. You’ll need to relax to re-energise and be ready to deliver the next day.

This isn’t even mentioning how many hours a personal trainer works or the early starts and late-night finishes. I’ve lost count of the 6am to 10pm days I’ve encountered in the past. With your energy sources drained, your standards will inevitably slip. Many personal trainers will begin to cut corners, and clients will no longer receive the same level of enthusiasm or service you provided when they signed up. This isn’t laziness. It just becomes impossible to give everything 100%.

Does all of that sound familiar? Successful time management can ease the strain. Here are my top tips for managing your time better.

Practical Time Management Tips for Personal Trainers

The key thing to remember about time management is that productivity isn’t always about doing more or being exceptionally efficient. It’s about being more effective. Essentially, your goal should be to make more impact while not having to commit to more work.

A lot of time management is being more disciplined with your schedule. The following time management tips have one thing in common. They’re all about being more proactive with your time. Working hard as a personal trainer is a given. There are many reasons to become a personal trainer, but working smart is something every personal trainer needs to integrate into their working schedules. Here’s how.

Manage Your Energy for Bigger Tasks

Schedule your most energy-sapping tasks for when you have the most energy. Don’t try to squeeze those bigger tasks in wherever you can fit them. This can be clients, social media, check-ins, etc. You can complete work that requires more power output (both mental and physical) far quicker and effectively if you do it with more energy.

woman doing cable pull down

Create Automated Systems

I honestly don’t know how many hours of work this has saved me. I have systems and automation for most parts of my business. From video tutorials on using MyFitnessPal to nutrition tracking or monitoring a calorie deficit, tech can be one of your most essential time management assets. 

I have links available to automatically book in for calls or sessions via tools like YouCanBookMe, so clients and I aren’t going back and forward trying to arrange a time that suits. I even have an automated email system asking current clients for referrals. Find what areas of your business you can automate and create a strategy to take the pressure off and give you more freedom to do what you enjoy: training clients!

Reverse Engineer Your Week

It is very easy to fall into the trap of scheduling as you go, but that costs you valuable time. Start by planning your must-do tasks for the week and build around them. This ties in nicely with the first point. Assess when you have more energy throughout the day/week and plan accordingly.

Set Consistent Boundaries

When you first start your business as a personal trainer, the chances are that you scheduled your day around the needs of your first clients. That’s very common, especially as you start building up the necessary income needed to meet your financial responsibilities. How much you earn as a personal trainer depends on having clients, so it’s hard to set boundaries on your time when you’re starting out. However, as you grow your personal trainer business, you can take more control over your boundaries. Start by setting up a cancellation policy that gives clients a specific time window (one that gives you enough time to schedule a different task for that window).

Free up Time by Moving 1:1 Clients Online

If you’re a personal trainer, you should have set up an online training platform because of the pandemic. But even with gyms reopening, look at your most competent clients and keep them online. This means you won’t need to worry about sessions running over or fitting clients into your busy schedule. Plus, you can accommodate far more online clients than in person, so you’ll be getting the maximum value for your time.

Consider Secondary Exercises

Gyms can get very busy, especially during peak times. So the equipment you planned to use may not be available when you need it. Now, you could sit around waiting for the pec fly to become free, or you could avoid wasted time by having readily available, planned-in-advance, secondary exercises. Let’s say you planned a back and bicep session with a client that requires a lat pulldown and some bicep curls. The equipment is in use, so having a secondary exercise saves a lot of wasted time thinking of alternatives on the spot or hanging around waiting for equipment to become free. This has the added benefit of making you look a lot more professional, too.

man doing barbell deadlift

Create Partnerships

Another great way to free up some time is to partner up clients with similar goals and training experience. Running a semi-private model is great for friendly competition and motivation, but it also allows you to win back some freedom as it’s one less session to worry about.

Have a Public Timetable

This is another time management tip that reinforces those boundaries you’ve set for yourself. You can have as flexible a schedule as you like (a lot of personal trainers like that flexibility), but you need to be very clear about when you will be working or available to talk. Create a timetable that clearly states when you’re not available, and make sure it’s on your website and included in any marketing materials you’re using. You need your clients to know when you won’t be available.

Do a Time Audit

One of the best ways to take control of your time management is to be aware of how well you’re managing your time right now. How long are you spending opening emails and then marking them as unread so that you can reply to them later? Are you spending more time browsing Instagram or marketing yourself on Instagram? It’s easy to get lost in tasks, which leads to running around and trying to catch up on lost time. Use a stopwatch (or the timer on your phone) to gauge where you’re wasting time, and you’ll find that simply being aware of wasted time is inspiration enough to prevent it from happening again.

woman on a spinning bike

Personal Trainers! Take Control of your Time Management

Hopefully, this has given you a lot to consider and how to manage and free up your time accordingly. Incorporating these tips into your fitness business will make it easier to gain more freedom, allowing you to focus on things that matter.

When you have more time to think and recharge, you’ll be able to serve clients to an even higher standard, get them better results and earn more money in the process.

Personal training is one of the most rewarding careers available. You not only help your clients physically improve, but you build a close relationship with them and become invested in their mental and physical well-being. Seeing the improvements in your clients as they get fit and healthy after taking your advice is a feeling that never gets old.

If that sounds appealing and you’d like to get involved, maybe it’s time to consider becoming a personal trainer. Find out more about our personal training courses and CPDs, and get in touch with the friendly team at The Fitness Group today. We won’t just help you become a personal trainer; we’ll make sure you become the best personal trainer you can be. 

From our rock-solid money-back guarantee to the wealth of support you get throughout your course and beyond, maybe it’s time you took your next career step, fully supported by the experts. Contact the team today, and start taking those first steps towards an exciting new future.

Are you already working as a personal trainer? What are your best time management tips? Share them with us in the comments below!

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