If you haven’t caught Ban Hass’s no-BS fitness account on Instagram, you’re missing out. The personal trainer is not only a social media sensation, her common sense approach to fitness is a breath of fresh air. But did you know that this straight-talking trainer has only been in the business for three years? Here’s how she went from being a recruiter in the City of London to becoming a personal trainer who’s now whipping the city into the best shape of its life.
Name: Ban Hass
Job title: Personal trainer
Years since changing career: 3
TAP: You haven’t always been a personal trainer today. Tell us about the path you took
BH: Like many graduates, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I left university. When I researched recruitment and search, it looked like a good fit, so I accepted a position with a recruitment firm that specialised in legal search. It suited my personality and my skill-set, and I liked the fact that my income was directly related to the amount of work I put in. I admit that no one dreams of becoming a recruitment consultant when they grow up, but it can be rewarding, fun, emotional and f*king insane if you’re with the right people.
However, I relied on fitness and the gym throughout the two and a half years I spent working in an office environment in my early twenties. It became my therapy – making me feel good, giving me purpose and making me feel proud of what I could push my mind to do, even after a long and stressful day.
TAP: How did you know that moving into personal training was the right thing for you?
BH: I toyed with the idea for many years before taking the leap. I loved fitness but I felt that wasn’t a good enough reason for quitting my job to become a trainer. When I finally made the decision, I knew it was the right thing to do because it was no longer about me. My focus had switched from being on my goals and workouts. Instead, I found that I genuinely wanted to help others feel as good as I felt. That’s when the penny dropped.
TAP: What would you say was the most important thing you did/didn’t do to succeed?
BH: I went into personal training accepting that it was going to be hard work and that I would be tired and fed up at times. I went into my new career acknowledging that I was going to have to take an initial pay cut and that it would be a while before I started earning. I believed in myself and I was very realistic.
TAP: Did you ever feel at a disadvantage and how did you overcome that?
BH: Not at all. I often felt I had a great advantage. My first career provided me with skills I never imagined would be so useful for a personal trainer. Customer service, business and commercial skills are key to becoming a successful personal trainer. There’s no point in having really great knowledge if you can’t sell your service or maintain lasting relationships with your clients.
TAP: What piece of advice were you given that you wish you’d ignored?
BH: I was very lucky to be surrounded by people who supported my decision. I don’t make decisions lightly so when I am determined to do something those around me are usually aware that I’ve thought it through and that there is no stopping me.
Having said that, my mum would have preferred it if I’d continued in my stable job in the City and pursued personal training part-time. I didn’t listen. Sometimes you have to accept that your parents want the best for you, but follow your heart and instinct and ignore them.
TAP: What’s the one thing anyone wishing to break into personal training from another field should do?
BH: Make sure it’s for the right reasons. Make sure it’s because you genuinely want to help OTHERS live a healthier, happier life. Make sure it’s about them and not about you.
TAP: Can you share three resources that you think are invaluable for breaking into the fitness industry?
BH: When it comes to the ‘resources’ you turn to, it’s important to question EVERYTHING. Question your sources and your ‘fitspiration’. Question those who are unqualified, but also question those who are qualified. You are an investment so take the time to question everything. Question me.
TAP: What is the biggest misconception about working as a personal trainer?
BH: That you spend all day training, have lots of time to train and/or enjoy training all the time. People also think personal trainers can eat whatever we want because we’re always training – we can’t. On the other hand, many think that we eat super healthily all the time, we have great willpower and we have lots of free time during the day when we’re not actively training clients. Once again, that’s not true.
Finally, there’s the issue of money. Personal trainers aren’t all really rich or really poor. It varies depending on where you work, how you work and your work goals.
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