It’s Your Journey

I was out for my Run this morning thinking about what I was going to write about today. All sorts of Ideas were floating around my head. I decided to write about what I have learnt in my 16 Years in the Health and Fitness Industry. The reason I wanted to do this is for all those people who are starting/thinking of starting a Career in this Crazy but Awesome Life Changing Industry, explaining both the Ups and the Downs (In my Opinion).


Where it Started

When I finished my A-Levels back in 2000 I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I Applied to UCAS / CAO but when crunch time came I turned down all of my offers because it just didn’t feel right. I decided to take a year to myself (while working Full-Time in NEXT Newry) to figure out what I wanted to do.

A few months into my year, a friend of mine mentioned that there was a course in Gym Instructing in Belfast starting soon and that he thought it would be ideal for me. So, I got in touch and booked on the course – I loved it and knew this was exactly what I wanted to do.

In the middle of my course I thought to myself, what can I do with this qualification? – I picked up the Yellow Pages (didn’t really have Google then lol) and just started phoning gyms and asked them did they have any jobs, no matter what it was doing. I didn’t care how far away from Newry they were, all I knew was I wanted to work in a Gym.

I did have quite a few interviews and checked out a lot of gyms but there was a phone call from a girl who was the new Fitness Manager of a company called L.A Fitness in Armagh (never heard of this company before).  She gave me an interview and I got the job. The Gym hadn’t even opened yet, in fact it had no equipment and no water in the pool (I actually was the first one in the pool to test out the temperature of the water when it was pure black lol).

As part of the job we had to do everything to get the club up and running – Sales, A Full 2 Months of Specific Qualifications, Painting, Moving Equipment etc etc. It was Awesome.

When the Gym eventually opened I fell in love with it – I loved every minute (even the cleaning and very early mornings). From that moment I have been in this crazy Industry ever since (I actually went to college part-time to complete a qualification in Leisure management and Sport development while working full-time, once again I Loved it).

 My Journey since Then

The list of jobs/roles I have done since then (2001) include:

  • Personal trainer
  • Fitness Class Instructor (Soooo many classes)
  • Swim Teacher
  • Lifeguard
  • Sports Team Coach
  • Gym Manager
  • Sales Adviser
  • Pool Plant operations
  • Ran my own PT Studio
  • Leisure Centre Manager
  • Cleaner,Cleaner,Cleaner,Cleaner etc lol
  • Tutor
  • Assessor
  • Internal Verifier
  • Manager of an Education Provider
  • FitMindMatters Founder
  • Director of Platinum Training Institute (The BEST Role of All)

As you can see there has been quite a lot of experience in this Industry and there have been so many Ups and Downs throughout those 16 Years. I wouldn’t change anything because as I always say – You have to experience the Bad to know what is Good. 

In an age of Social Media, where everyone is an expert on everything, you have to step back and Focus on what you want your Journey to be. Try it all, make mistakes, experience the bad. Knowing what you don’t want is sometimes more important than knowing what you do want.


If you really want to be in this Industry the few pieces of advice I have for you are:

Help Others, Collaborate, Refer.

People will try and Put You Down, Keep your Chin Up and Don’t Return the Favour.

Don’t Judge – You don’t know what struggles that person has been through.

Health First and Enjoy every minute of it, It’s Your Journey.


Lee Havern

PTI Director