10 Minutes With: Katie Bulmer-Cooke

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Award winning personal trainer and business woman, Katie Bulmer-Cooke, talks through her journey in the fitness industry.

Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Katie, 33, from Sunderland. I’m mam to Heidi, 9, and Bobby, 1 and wife to Simon. I’ve been in the fitness industry since I was 16, after being inspired by my mam who started teaching fitness classes back in the 80’s when thong-back leotards and push-down socks were the height of fashion (she’s still teaching now at 60 years old). My career in fitness started out fairly traditionally but has taken lots of exciting twists and turns over the last 17 years. 

How long have you been a PT?
I’ve been a qualified personal trainer since I was 21 (12 years). I’ve done it all, from working in health clubs, having my own private PT room, travelling between client’s homes and training people in the public eye too. I’ve always specialised in pre and post natal training.

How did you get into the industry?
Back in 1990 I started sitting in the corner of my mam’s keep fit classes in the local church hall and just remember loving everything from the atmosphere and sense of fun to the music and everyone moving in sync. For me there was no other job I wanted to do, so I decided to follow in my mam’s footsteps and enrolled on level 2 Exercise To Music when I was 16. 

What is your favourite part of your job?
It’s the people I work with and the variety. No two days are the same and seeing people achieve their goals is so rewarding. 

How do you ensure you are on top of your game?
I think it’s really important, whichever industry you work in, to look after yourself and prioritise your health (both physical and mental) and fitness. I’m also a huge fan of getting up early and making the most of every hour in the day. I rarely sleep in but even if I have a one off lie in until 8am I feel like I’ve wasted the day!

What made you want to start up Powah?
I felt like I’d achieved everything I’d personally set out to as a PT, and although I had a good social following I was conscious that I could only reach so many people with my health and fitness message. I was also aware (because I love social media) of the reach and influence celebrities have. So, along with my business partner, we set out to help celebs, sports personalities and social influencers create their own online fitness brands and plans to help their fans and followers achieve their fitness goals. 

What are your dislikes within the fitness industry?
I often feel that there are many roles within the industry that are undervalued and underpaid. As an example it would be great to see more clubs seeing the value of outstanding group fitness instructors and appreciating their role in customer retention and experience, and awarding this accordingly. 

What advice would you give to female PTs in the industry?
I’d give them the same advice I’d give male PTs. Specialise in an area of health and fitness, and channel all of your marketing and educational efforts into this area…and set your prices accordingly- don’t under price your expertise. 

How important is work-life balance to you?
For me work-life balance is a bit of a myth…I’m still trying to get it right. I go through phases where I’m smashing it at work but have major mam-guilt and then have times where I feel like I’m an awesome mam, but feel like there’s more I could be doing at work. 

What are you currently working on?
My business, Powah, takes up all of my working time. We build online brands and businesses for social media influencers, celebrities and sports personalities and we specialise in digital fitness products. I love it and feel like it is a culmination of all the skills I’ve gained over the last 16 years. 

Take a look at Katie’s shop on our article here.

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