My Brilliant New Career: From Financial PR To Personal Trainer

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  • Sarah O’Neill, 30, had been working as a financial PR since leaving University, but her passion had always been for fitness. Here she tells us how she finally took the step to make it her career

    ‘Even though I had a degree in English and qualifications in aerobics and fitness, somehow I fell into financial communications because I was success driven and thought it would be exciting. Then I just stuck with it.

    One minute I would be discussing million pound deals and working through the night; the next I would be ordered to pick Blu-Tack off the walls by my ghastly Devil Wears Prada boss.

    I’ve always loved fitness and my PR job sometimes felt like a bit of a distraction, to the extent that I would often find myself doodling workout routines on my notepad.

    ‘Then, one night, I came home stressing about a PowerPoint presentation and my husband, who works in cardiactheatres conducting life-changing operations, made me realize that I had to get things into perspective.

    What was stopping me from following my heart and trying a careerin fitness?

    ‘I completed Lifetime’s Diploma in Personal Training while still doing my city job and finally took the plunge in January by sending an email to the office entitled ‘New Year, New You’. I was lucky in that loads of my colleagues were up for me training them, so I had no trouble finding my first clients.

    The lifestyle change was a bit of a struggle to start with – my annual income dropped to £12,000 for two months before I launched my Personal Training business, so my daily Starbucks and M&S fruit bowls had to go.

    I don’t have a studio but run most of my group training sessions between Hyde Park and Clapham Common; and my boxing class is in a nightclub, which is fun.

    I’m studying for a nutritian degree at the moment too, so it’s hard work but I’m finally doing what I love.

    ‘The hours are still very long, with training starting at 6am, but it’s so rewarding making a difference to people’s lives. There are times when I just think, ‘I’m bloody knackered’ – but I don’t regret my career move for a second.

    To find out more visit Sarah’s website at


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