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  • Ashlee Macchetta

My Journey to Personal Training

For the entirety of my adult life, I have worked numerous 9-5 corporate jobs. I had mastered the art of pretending to care about jobs I wasn't passionate about and I was exceptional at pretending to look busy. During my last corporate job, I had a lot of really cool benefits most jobs don’t allow. This lead me to believe I should stay in a job I wasn’t passionate about because of a few perceived perks I had. I was constantly told how good I had it and I had planned to stay in this job long term. ...Until I couldn’t maintain it any longer. It started with me leaving work early just so I could get in an extra gym session. I’d sneak off an hour early so I could workout early enough to fit in a CrossFit class and then head to the gym after. I had to be in bed by 8.30pm to make sure I had minimum 8 hours sleep every night. At the time, this was a non negotiable for me and a standard 9-5 was getting in the way. I lived and breathed health and fitness. On the nights I was studying my fitness certificates, I’d voluntarily give myself a half day so I could fit in two sessions (after already doing a morning session) and then study my Cert 3 and 4 until 9pm. Sleep was super important, there’s no way I was going to train after. Protein shake and straight into bed. At work, I’d eat my lunch at my desk and spend my 30 min lunch breaks walking the surrounding streets of my workplace. I couldn’t sit still for a second longer. I’d take any excuse to get out of there and move around. I was restless. But I had a company fuel card and a great boss. Why would I give that up? Then I landed myself my first Personal Training clients. I was working 4 hours in the morning, going to my full time job 45 mins late so I could fit in that extra client - and then leaving early so I could fit in my own training as well as another 4 clients before I went back home. I even managed to get myself a disciplinary meeting and warning letter to follow, for wearing ‘sporting attire’ (My PT uniform) in the office and was further reprimanded for not seeing an issue with this.


(See below actual screenshot from the letter)

I was stubborn, defiant, and wasn't about to let someone else dictate what I wanted to do or get in the way of my big plans. It’s very obvious where my priorities were. As my work ethic declined, my Personal Training business grew.

I was doing 14 hour days, five days a week and running myself into the ground. My own training went out the window. I went from 10+ sessions a week to maybe 1 or 2 if I was lucky. I’d leave the house at 4.30am with enough bags for a week away. Weekends were for sleeping. Hobbies and passions went out the window. I didn’t pick up a book to read, I didn’t go to any cafes or spend time with friends. I was wired, my brain didn’t switch off. I didn’t know how to relax or sit still. My life was planned to a T. Every second was accounted for and mapped out on a calendar. I was constantly wishing for more time in each day. I was grumpy and moody and those closest to me can attest to the Friday evening meltdowns I’d have from pure exhaustion. All I wanted was to go to CrossFit and lift weights. But I was rundown, burnt out and physically didn't have the energy to even get myself there.

(Picture below of me legitimately asleep on my desk on a Friday afternoon. )

All in the name of perusing a career in fitness. Of helping others. And following a passion. At the time I didn’t realize that it didn’t need to be this hard. In fact, it should have been quite the opposite. I wanted to keep the security of my full time job. I wanted to do it all. I wanted the best of both worlds. I legitimately intended to keep this lifestyle going for as long as I possibly could. I was determined to make it work. Until I didn’t have a choice. The global pandemic caught up to me and I was made redundant. More than anything, it was a relief. I didn’t realize how happy I’d be to leave a job I so badly wanted to keep. I took that redundancy payout and didn’t look back. I knew this was my time to really go ‘all in’ on my Personal Training business and establish myself in the fitness industry. I was a little apprehensive but deep down I knew I’d excel. I knew I’d make sure of it because I didn’t have a choice and failing has never been an option for me. Working for myself now means no guaranteed income. It means no annual leave, no sick leave and buying my own petrol. It means if I don’t turn up and put in 110% every single day, I don’t get paid. But it also means freedom. It means picking my hours. Working as much or as little as I’d like. It means being able to help more people. It means having time to refine my skills and become a better coach. It means being able to train everyday. It means having time. I genuinely now don’t understand how I managed to sit at a desk for so long working for someone else. I wasn’t made for that. I was trying for so long to hold on and let go at the same time.

I’m now the happiest I’ve been in a long time. I have a lot of really great clients who make 'work' feel like a dream and allow me to do what I love. I still get up damn early, I still map out my life on a calendar and I still leave the house looking like I’m going away for a week. But now I'm excited to do it.



Lessons Learnt:

  • Doing one thing exceptionally well is better than doing a half ass job at many things.

  • It's cliché, but follow your passion. It almost always leads to happiness.

  • Taking action is better than standing still.

  • If your work ethic is shit, you should find a job that you genuinely care about.

  • Things always work out how they're meant to.

  • I will never in my life work a 9-5 job again.

  • Paying for your own petrol really isn't that bad ;)


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