Learner Case Study: Rachel Sissons
Qualified personal trainer Rachel Sissons has worked out of Team Esteem gym in Wakefield since completing her training with CMS Fitness; she also offers sports massage.
Married to Jason, an electrician; the couple have two daughters.
Born in Lancaster, Rachel moved to Leeds with her mum and her brother when she was 10 years old.
Concessions Manager in Top Shop. Self-employed sports massage, which she continues to offer alongside her personal training role.
Route into a career in fitness:
“I’ve always been pretty sporty and good at running, especially sprinting, and I also did the Yorkshire Marathon,” she says. “Someone at the gym suggested I would be good at sports massage and as soon as they said it the penny dropped and I became obsessed with the idea of it. Friends also said that I should try personal training, as I used to help them and show them training techniques I’d picked up.”
Initially, Rachel worked exclusively in sports massage, but found she was exhausted after massaging as many as eight people in one day. Instead of taking a Level 4 Sports Massage course, she decided to follow a route into personal training.
Training with CMS:
While she was still studying, she was approached by Team Esteem, which is owned by Gavin Wood. In January 2017, she put the word out among massage clients and friends that she was also now offering personal training sessions, and was inundated with responses.
After taking her two daughters to school, Rachel heads over to Team Esteem, where she offers a mix of sports massage and personal training sessions to a growing roster of clients, as well as training herself. Her current goal is to work on her strength as well as her fitness.
Several evenings a week, she returns to the gym to train clients and enjoys following classes such as gym owner Gavin’s circuit class and interval resistance training (IRT).
“I’ve trained for years but I especially I love the training there,” she says. “It’s a small group, we all know each other and it’s really nice. I used to do a lot of body building-style training but now I do more strength and conditioning training, for example with battle ropes. I always wanted to work with someone to further my knowledge, but didn’t know who. Gavin really knows his stuff and I’ve learned so much from him, plus he encourages me to bring in my own ideas.”
While she continues to offer sports massage, combining it with personal training has proved a winning combination. “I can train three people back to back, which would be too tiring with massage.”
The gym has a tailored approach to training, designing new workouts and circuits, which are rotated then updated monthly. Clients are taught in small groups as a more cost-effective way for them to get the personal attention they need, and Rachel teaches strength classes for small groups of up to six people, which are accessible to those who haven’t trained before as well as seasoned gym goers.
The learning process:
The courses Rachel followed at CMS Fitness comprised intense training, each running from Friday to Sunday over four weeks. She was taught and supported by CMS Director Hadyn Luke.
“Hadyn is fantastic – I couldn’t have wished for anyone better,” she says. “He knows his stuff, is confident in what he says and his genuine passion for the subject really comes across. Everyone on the course said the same. It’s so much easier and more fun to learn from someone like him.”
Although she has plenty of personal achievements, Rachel is particularly proud of the results that she has already achieved with her clients in her first six months at the gym and enjoys watching them progress and gain confidence.
Recently she gave a talk at her daughters’ school about her work and, on a career day at school, both of her daughters dressed in gym clothes and said they wanted to become personal trainers.
When she was first offered work at the gym, Rachel had to overcome a few nerves about being newly qualified.
“Gavin had more confidence in me than I did in myself,” she says. “But because everything was done in stages, it has all gone smoothly.”
Another challenge is fitting in family life round a job that requires some evening work. “It’s the nature of being in the fitness industry. We’re quite an active family and we make the most of the time we do have by taking the kids out on a weekend. I get to take them to school and pick them up too, which some other working parents don’t get to do.”
Benefits of taking a CMS Fitness course:
Even though it was challenging to return to study and revise for exams with two children and a massage business, Rachel says she genuinely enjoyed the process of studying at CMS Fitness.
“Everyone at CMS is really nice and it was an enjoyable experience,” she says. “You can see how passionate Hadyn is; he was so supportive and happy to answer any questions. I’m always recommending CMS Fitness Courses to others.”