Fitness fun

How To Be Friends With A Fitness Professional

Comedic fitness writer Marie Anagnostis shares a humorous guide for potential pals.

I’m not saying we’re not regular people, but…

When your professional life doesn’t follow the traditional Monday-to-Friday-9-to-5 scenario, teeing up time (and mental capacity) for social events can be tricky. Beyond being unavailable at times when everyone else is, there are additional complexities that might contribute to any declined invite.

Truly, it’s not because we don’t want to be there.

So, for the benefit of friends of fitness professionals everywhere, I thought I’d list a few considerations that will help you understand what’s going on with your fitness industry bestie: 

On reservations

If you have the choice of making dinner reservations with us for the 6pm sitting or the 8pm sitting, for the love of God make it for the earlier one! Same with movies. 9pm session? At that time of night, we’re just buying an expensive nap.

On surprises

Surprise farewells, surprise weddings… surprise anything. Don’t get me wrong, please keep inviting us to fun things. But understand that the engagement party we thought we’d escape at the civilised hour of 8pm that turns into a surprise wedding… you better believe we are now calculating the hours of sleep we will not be getting before our 4:30am start (not to mention the dumpster fire of a day that will follow). We thrive on plans… we survive on keeping them.

On ‘normal’ hours

Make no mistake, we too are bummed that we work at prime-weekend-brunch-time. And that dinner times are our peak working hours. Please don’t guilt us into attending gatherings at these times. As much as we love an eggs benny and your company, most of us work for ourselves; no work = no pay.

Don’t cry for us too much, though. While you’re in a meeting that could’ve been an email, we’re having brunch on a Tuesday.

On alone time

We ‘people’ all day.

It’s a big part of the job. We need to be switched on, pleasant and motivating. On any day, this kind of output is draining. Some days, to the max. And one of the ways we replenish this vital energy system is via alone time. So even though we’re technically not doing anything and we could fill this time with social ‘peopling’, for our sanity and longevity we occasionally need to turn down plans and retreat to our cocoon.  

On guilting

“Aw can’t you just miss this one training session to [insert something here that is not your training session]???”

We can. We just don’t want to.

Our clients and members are probably training more than we are because we are too busy training them. So, when it comes to our own time to exercise, that’s sacred. It’s not you. It’s us.

On what you see

What you see is a couple of hours of work sporadically throughout the day. What you don’t see is the preparation time that goes into these working hours.

I can appreciate it looks like we have a lot of spare time to do things and the rejection feels real when we turn down offers to hang in our seemingly spare time. The reality is, in between actual gym hours, personal trainers are writing programs, chasing up clients and hustling for new business. Group fitness instructors are learning choreography. And fitness business owners are very busy rocking back and forth in the corner (that could just be me).

To conclude, on behalf of fitness industry professionals everywhere, we do love you. We do want to socialise. Please keep inviting us to things. But if we do decline, remember, it’s likely for nothing more than a quiet lie down. In the foetal position.

You understand.


Marie Anagnostis

Owner and Coach of UBX Boxing + Strength in Belconnen and Fyshwick Markets (ACT), Marie’s love and curiosity for fitness runs deep, as she also moonlights as a BODYPUMP®, BODYBALANCE® and Reform Pilates Instructor. Marie is also the author of ’12 Hours In The Life Of A Fitness Professional: Because I’m Too Tired For The Other 12’, and the Wretched blog, for fitness consumers.