Saturday 11th September 2021 – Vol 001 Edition 0015
by Jim Campbell
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Andrew (Andy) Murphy
A Fitness Instructor, also known as a Personal Trainer, provides training and instruction in fitness programmes to individuals and groups.
The personal trainers motivate and guide clients towards their physical fitness goals, including building muscle, increasing core strength, or improving cardiovascular fitness.
Fitness Instructor Andy Murphy from Tinryland, five kilometers south of Carlow Town, is the profile for Edition 15 of my series ‘A Day in the Life of.’ I met up with Andy in the Urban Gym facility in the Woodbine Business Park in New Ross, County Wexford.
Passionate about Sport Health and Fitness
From a young age, Andy wanted to be a PE Teacher. “I wanted to be a PE Teacher as I loved helping people and was always passionate about sport, health, and fitness.” Unable to obtain the points needed to become a PE Teacher in the Leaving Certificate, Andy chose a different route to achieve his goal.
“I got a good buzz at marking off the checklist”
At the age of 16, when Andy was a Transition Year student in the Presentation College in Carlow, he did work experience in the Greenbank Health and Leisure Centre in Carlow. “I did my work experience, which included being a gym attendee and swimming pool lifeguard. I got a good buzz at marking off the checklist, making sure the place was clean and tidy, and helping in the gym”.
Andy’s sporting background included Athletics and Mixed Martial Arts. He has competed up to the international level in underage middle-distance athletics. He has fought professionally in MMA on MTK Global, BAMMA, and the second-largest organisation globally, Bellator.
At this stage, Andy knew the path he was about to take
The Carlow man studied Recreation and Sport Management at Waterford Institute of Technology. In 2010, he graduated with a BA (Honours) in Recreation and Sport Management following his four-year studies. “The plan was to use this as a bridging gap and travel to England or UL to do the H. Dip, but I got involved in the Gym and the Health and Fitness sector. I just got hooked when I did my work experience in the Greenbank Health and Leisure Club in Carlow. I love the work.” At this stage, Andy knew the path he was about to take.
“I loved being in the gym“
Andy continued to work in Carlow’s Greenbank Health and Leisure Centre for eight years. “I loved being in the gym; I loved helping people in the gym. I loved the social aspect, sitting down and having a coffee with members of all ages. Listening to people talking about sport, fitness, business, or whatever.”
Andy went from being Fitness Instructor in the Greenbank Health and Leisure Centre to Leisure Centre Management in Whites Hotel in Wexford Town.
Having been employed in several leisure facilities in the South-East, he felt that now was the time to open his own premises. In 2019, he opened his own ’boutique-style’ function fitness facility in New Ross called the Urban Gym. His wife Marina (who looks after the graphic design and social media for the business) assists Andy and fitness trainer Aoife Keenan at the gym.
As trainers, we work unsocial hours
Andy commences work at six in the morning. At first, he checks the premises to ensure the area is clean and welcoming. “As trainers, we work unsocial hours; we are working at times when people can attend. Many people come to us before work, and we usually would be busy from 6 am until about 11 am. That typically entails a mix of group classes and personal training sessions as well. “
Two training sessions are scheduled each morning, one at 6.15 am and the second at 9.45 am. Also, there would be other personal training sessions in between.
“Know who you are, and that is your superpower”
During these sessions, the fitness instructor is responsible for accurately assessing clients at the start of their journey, compiling reports, and developing their fitness levels. “Know who you are, and that is your superpower and to help them to have a passion and drive for health, wellness, and fitness.
Their duties are to support the development and delivery of fitness programmes, to assist members in reaching their goals, assist in maintaining and improving the purposes of the organisation, ensuring the safety of clients during training sessions.
“The energy that you have provided to people in the morning must be replicated again in the evening“
From 11am to 4 pm, Andy has a little downtime. “It is a bit of downtime, but we don’t switch off. The energy that you have provided to people in the morning must be replicated again in the evening. You may be following up with clients to discuss their training schedule – some trainers do online training during this period.”
During this middle section of the day, the Fitness Instructor finds the time to attend to other duties. “What goes on between sessions is that you are programming your sessions, planning your sessions. I might be making phone calls and replying to emails. You might be visiting schools, doing some networking, updating your social media page.”
And more importantly, as a family man – the father of three young children, he spends some family time during the day with them.
“It is very important to have routine in our lives”
Andy explained to me how routine is essential in our lives. “It is very important to have routine in our lives. When we were living with our parents, mum or dad called us for school. Mum would call us for dinner at dinner time and so on. But when we leave home to attend college/university or get married, we seem to change our routine. We should be keeping the routine going.” says the Carlow man.
“As a trainer, you want to be doing some form of training yourself. You’ve got to practice what you preach. As a Professional Trainer, training makes me a better person. Also, fuelling yourself is very important; you need to eat properly throughout the day”.
“I love bringing out the best version of people“
Andy returns at 4 pm. “Again, as in the morning session, you welcome clients with that smile and make them feel welcome. You are coming back in the evening fully recharged, bringing that same energy you had at 6am to the people at 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, and 8pm training sessions.
I love what I do, and it’s worth it. I love bringing out the best version of people. I think it is a great industry to get involved in if you enjoy being active. To help others to see that fitness can be fun.
My big mission here is to help people create a more robust and resilient version of themselves that is ready to combat the burdens of everyday life. We are all going to have struggles in life. Coming into a place like this helps you to fight certain demons and create a better version of yourself.
“Know who you are, and that is your superpower“
“Know who you are, and that is your superpower. If you want to be a Fitness Instructor, use your strengths and abilities, don’t try to be someone else. Be your authentic self. Wear your smile – your biggest asset. Make someone feel comfortable in what can be an uncomfortable situation a lot of the time for some people.” says Andy
To be successful as a Fitness Instructor, you should keep up to date with the latest trends in the fitness industry and provide solutions to your client’s fitness needs. It would be best to distinguish yourself as an outstanding Fitness Instructor in a highly competitive market while still being a team leader.
An exceptional Fitness Instructor will possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills
Ultimately, an exceptional Fitness Instructor will possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills, be attentive to detail and add value to a growing organisation.
My sincere thanks to Andy Murphy and Rev Conor O’Reilly for their contribution to this blog. Very much appreciated. JC
All Images and Original Text © All Rights Reserved-Jim Campbell 2021
About the author:
Jim Campbell is an Irish photographer, freelancer and photojournalist. Campbell has being contemporary photographer for more than two decades.
A native of Wexford town in the south-east of Ireland, Campbell studied photography in the Dublin Institute of Technology before going to work with a newspaper.
Since 1998 he has been working with local and national papers in Ireland and the UK. His work has appeared in publications globally including newspapers, magazines and online publications.
In 2013 Campbell made his first of what would become many trips to the conflict areas of the world. To observe more on Jim’s work vist the link to his website below.
Jim Campbell has been covering conflict areas since 2013. Check out his website www.warlens.co.uk