A Day In The Life As A Total Gym Trainer / Blogger


Did you know that there are over 270,000 fitness professionals in the US and this number is estimated to grow to 338,000 by 2018!?


I am honored and lucky to be one of these professionals!   In a continuously evolving industry of trends, positions, or obligations, my fitness title has changed many times depending on the many roles that I have performed.  I’ve worked in just about every aspect of health, wellness, and fitness and I’m still passionately working full time in the industry 25 years later.


Many things drive my passion for fitness – commitment, scheduling flexibility, motivation on rainy days and always, always starting each day with a smile!


My Timing

Being a fitness professional requires a huge amount of commitment and flexibility mainly around scheduling.  My schedule changes most days.  Priorities change constantly depending on which week and which day it is.  I may have one-to-one clients, classes, a blog or video due, or errands that sometimes can run me ragged!  Regardless of the day of the week, I typically do a huge number of things that fill my day and occupy every ounce of time I may have.  One thing that holds true is that I always have blogging topics for Total Gym on my mind.



Unlike past years when I had to wake as the moon still lit the sky, my earliest client now is at 8:30am.  I’ve learned to schedule clients at a time that works for us both.  This way, we can both be 100% committed to their goals.  This avoids burn out and frustration and it seems we catch each other in much better moods.  It’s a mutual commitment to be successful.  Otherwise, it becomes a grueling job.  I cherish the clients I have and focus my energy in helping them accomplish their goals with continuous motivation.


Instructing Classes

In the past, there would be times where I’d teach 18 classes in one week.  It was just too much – and my body needed a break.  So when I moved back to Pittsburgh, PA, I decided to only teach special events or pop up classes, semi group classes, or sub when needed at a few local facilities.  Teaching is definitely something I will always be passionate about, but it is not something that’s driving my every day like it once did.  Classes for me now are mostly attending other professionals’ classes to learn and enjoy.


Health & Wellness Coordinator

When I moved back to PA, I was asked to establish a health and wellness program that utilized my kinesiology and biomechanics skills.  This is by far one of the most different and interesting jobs I’ve committed to thus far.  I have experience working with a wide range of health issues, injuries, and all levels of fitness.  This job, however, is so different for me because the setting actually takes place in one of the largest plastic factories in the US, and it’s right here in my neck of the woods of Western PA.  I make weekly visits to 3 different plants to observe workers executing daily duties in an ergonomically correct manor and provide solutions when necessary.  I also educate how fitness can be fun, listen as a counselor, coach about health and nutrition, and of course just laugh with over 500 guys on a rotating schedule.  Trust me – it’s a big job for just me to fill… but you know, I’m a superstar… and I make it happen!


I’m glued…

to my iPhone!  I hate to admit it, but its true.  It really is an invaluable tool for a busy person actively involved in fitness.

  • Writing – Initially, my blogging usually occurs on my phone.  When in public, it may appear to others that I’m in a deep texting conversation; however, I am very likely in a deep thought of a blog topic. When my creativity starts flowing, I can’t turn it off and I really need to write these thoughts as they come to me!
  • Portable Office – It’s a wonderful (and sometimes annoying) thing to be able to have your office with you.  I spend a lot of time throughout the day checking/ responding to emails while on the go.  It’s great to have the access wherever I am, at all times.
  • Social Media – As a blogger, I post on social media on a regular but infrequent basis. That basically means I do post but not every day as it can sometimes be a huge distraction.  It’s important to maintain visibility but once opened, the mind can wander and with such a busy schedule I need to keep my focus on my goals of getting great ideas into my blog.
  • It is my hand-held buddy – It’s how I communicate and keep in touch with all my friends in the world.  Most of my closest friends live in Miami, NYC, Philly, Cali or over-seas and I am lucky to chat or text with them daily.  It’s as if they are close by.


Me Time

My days are not complete without including something active or that I’m passionate about.  I always manage to make “me” time. Whether it’s a grueling workout outside or in the gym, going for a long run, taking a class, or practicing my aerial skills, I find time and make it happen.  Doing something I love is what keeps me filled with energy and enthusiasm for what I love to do.  I think “me” time is really important to having a good life balance.


Lil’ Loves

I also have to mention how much I love spending time with my nephew, Austin (4), and niece, Avery (1).  They light my world with joy and enthusiasm for life. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to teach them life skills and things I’m passionate about such as fitness and circus.  We have dance parties to work on our breakdancing moves and play hard at the park.  It’s true to say Austin brings out the kid in me and has me playing like a 4-year-old rock star.


What it’s like to be a blogger?

I have to ask, what do you really think blogging is like compared to what it’s actually like?  When I first started writing, I thought it seemed fun and a relatively easy way to share information with a wide audience.  There are SO many positives to writing, but there are some negatives you have to push through to get back to the positives, which is why I say it’s a ‘love-hate-love’ relationship.  I will be very honest in how I feel, and perhaps if you are also a writer of some sort, you too may feel the same.


YES – I ‘love’ to write about different topics that are fun.  It’s also exhausting, stressful, competitive, and very time consuming.  Once the blog is written, the video is filmed and edited, then it becomes a ‘love’ again when I get to pause and appreciate the time and efforts I’ve put forth knowing I’ve possibly helped someone out there.  It is this reward that makes me want to do it all again.


Here are a few things I’ve learned as a blogger:

  1. There is never enough time…
  • Blog: Life is busy as it is, but when preparing to write a good piece, I spend a significant amount of time researching, reading books and articles, and develop a unique program plan prior to the start of writing the blog.
  • Video:  After that, I find a specific location to film an accompanying video demonstrating the exercises included in the blog.   This could take up to 4 hours or, if I am waiting to get the lighting just right, possibly all day. In preparing to film, I make sure my wardrobe matches the feel of the workout and the colors I’ve used in the written blog.  I also make myself cue cards to keep me on track and in the order of the exercises performed.  When I do my videos its “show time” and I always want it to be just right.
  • Edits: Then there’s post-production, which can take me up to 8 hours to edit a 5-minute video. (Those of you who use Final Cut Software know what I’m talking about.)
  1. So much to share.
  • I have so many things Id like to share and educate, especially on specific topics.  However, too much info is overwhelming for most.  I have been found guilty of losing interest when I read longer articles, and at times, I tend to write this way too.  I realize it’s because the writer is passionate about a topic and just wants to share the knowledge/ experience with the readers.   So, the key is to keep it short and exciting, and most of all, fun.
  1. Competitive Pressure
  • There’s a certain pressure that goes along with writing and that is to be original, creative, yet factual by providing information in a way that people understand and enjoy reading.  It’s truly harder than it may seem to do this.  The reality is that there are just so many blogs around.  What draws my audience to mine?  Is it the topic?  My writing style?  My sense of humor?  It’s that personal touch that keeps people interested and hopefully an alignment of goals and motivations.  Competition is good at the end of the day but it sure keeps me on my toes.


Blogging/ writing is challenging and takes self-commitment, dedication, and thought power for every entry.  If you think writing’s a cakewalk and there’s so much free time, think again – because at times, I’d rather be baking a cake!


At the end of the day, fitness is my passion.  It’s something I want to share with others to educate, inspire, and help accomplish their fitness goals. Bottom line is that I’m dedicated to my work and what I commit to completing (almost) always on time.


I hope you have been enlightened and humored with my “typical” blogging day.  Check out the video to see it played out in action!


Best Always,



Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. http://www.groovysweat.com http://www.groovysweatstore.com (purchasable workout videos) http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat (workout clips)

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