Many of you have written to me with questions about how to transition into a Health & Wellness career. Below is a sample of one of the many emails I’ve received about this very topic:
Hi Darcy! I was wondering if you had any words of wisdom or advice… I love being a nurse and it has always been my dream job. I am finding, however, that I want more out of my career. The rotating shifts and long hours are just too draining and not enough time to indulge in my own interests. My true passion is fitness. I have been going to the gym seriously and lifting for almost a year and I would much rather be at the gym than at work. I hate myself for saying that, because I have massive student loans to pay off and don’t want it to seem like nursing was a waste of time for me. I am searching for ways to incorporate my nursing degree and experience with my love for fitness. How did you feel leaving your nursing career to become a Personal Trainer? Could you offer me any advice?
RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU CAN RELATE!
A few years ago, my hand would have been the first one to shoot up! Hell, I probably wrote a similar email to some of my (now) peers in the industry. Though it didn’t happen overnight, it did happen for me.
I started my post-college career as a Registered Nurse. There were some bumps and bruises over the years, but overall it wasn’t a bad career. However, I wanted something more than “not bad.” I wanted AWESOME. I kept thinking about entering the Fitness and Wellness field, one day I decided I would take a step in that direction to see if I liked it, to evaluate whether it could be a hobby, or if it needed to be bigger.
The very first thing I did was get certified to teach Spinning® and started teaching 1 class a week on Saturday mornings at 10am. I loved it and threw my heart and soul into every class. My next step was to get another certification (Body Pump™) and started teaching that on Monday nights.
Guess what? I loved it too! I picked up a couple of other classes at local gyms in the evenings, but still maintained my 9-5 nursing job without a problem. But once I got a taste, I knew a hobby wasn’t going to cut it for me. I wanted to know more. I wanted to be more. I wanted to do more.
Though probably not the greatest of ideas, I simultaneously enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to pursue a Holistic Health Coaching Certification and started studying for the National Academy of Sports Medicine [NASM]-Certified Personal Trainer exam. Between those 2 things, picking up additional group exercise classes & my 9-5 nursing job I was getting close to my breaking point. Both physically and mentally. I held on to that schedule for as long as I could, as I needed the time to build up my savings and come up with a specific financial plan and exit strategy.
After passing the NASM CPT exam, the gym where I was teaching a few of my Group Exercise classes hired me as a Personal Trainer. I added training clients to my schedule on the weekends, finished up my course work at Institute for Integrative Nutrition and added Health Coaching to my schedule.
And then it all just got to be too much and something had to go. And that was the 9-5 nursing job.
Many people thought I had lost my mind when I left nursing and did not mind sharing their opinion with me. I let those opinions rattle me a little but, but I wasn’t 100% happy working at my old nursing job, and ultimately was able to see that it really did not matter what everyone else thought.
I had a super supportive husband, my education, and a plan to back up my career transition. With it all being said and done it took about a year and a half to completely leave my nursing career.
Although, I don’t really feel like I left nursing. I will always be a nurse and I use my skills everyday with my Fitness and Wellness Coaching clients: anatomy, physiology, pharmacology (everyone is on at least 1 drug now days), nutrition, psychology, time management, problem solving skills, etc. My BSN brings credibility to all that I do & am so glad I started there.
I’m not going to lie, it was hard work. But it didn’t feel like work, it felt awesome! It took time to build up my business and clientele, but it has been worth it and I’ve never looked back.
Many of my coaching clients are just like the person behind the email that inspired this post: looking for guidance and support. If you are interested in my coaching services sent me an email! My initial consultation session is complimentary