Why I Chose The 5-9: A Day In The Life

I read an interview recently with someone who switched from working a corporate 9-5 job for a job as a fitness professional. One sentence she said really stood out to me and it was that she had traded the 9-5 for a 5-9. She wasn’t complaining and she wasn’t lamenting her decision; she was saying that even though her day has gotten longer and more unpredictable, she finally feels fulfilled by helping others reach their health and fitness goals.

I was just talking with Neil the other day about how my days start before the sun comes up and often end as it is setting, yet I never really feel worn out or that I am overworking myself. Granted, I also have about 521567 different work roles, but a majority of those are related to training individuals and groups. I enjoy designing workouts and seeing clients progress to a healthier, stronger version of themselves.

While I liked the structure of a 9-5, I didn’t like having to ask permission to take time off, schedule appointments around my work, and other annoyances that come from a set schedule. True, there are also downfalls of working for yourself and setting your own hours (a post for another day perhaps), but for me they are less than when I worked in any office setting.

I wanted to take some time today to share what a typical day looks like for me. If you are considering becoming a personal trainer, know that the most popular times are going to be before and after work, so you can expect your schedule to be the most in demand then. It can also be a little unpredictable, which is why I choose to supplement it with more regular income. If you have any questions about anything in this field, feel free to email me (erinsinsidejob@gmail.com) or leave your questions in the comments!

Personal training can have long and unpredictable days, but it doesn't feel like work if you're doing something you love. See what a typical day looks like in personal training.

5:30 am: WAKE UP. I always lay my clothes out the night before and leave them in the bathroom so that I can sneak out and not wake up Neil. While I prefer leisurely mornings, I’m not waking up that early to have them during the week. I get dressed, grab a PROBAR, and head out the door.


6 am: As obsessed with Instagram as I am, I try and post every week day around 6 am. I post both for myself and the Sweat social account, so while I walk the 15 min to my first client, I post both pictures and try not to get hit by cars.

6:15 am: See client for an hour.

8:30 am: I either stop by home to wake up Neil like an annoying wife or just head up to Sweat and hang out there a little bit before class at 8:30 am. Depending on the day of the week, I either teach 5:15 am (gross), 7 am, 8:30 am, or 4:30-6:30 pm. If I’m not teaching that day, this will be my workout time.

10 am: Class ends at 9:30 am and I run out the door so I can catch a train to my next client, who is about 30 min away. I take the time on the train to catch up on emails, social media, and blog comments. If it’s a day I teach at 5:15 am, you may just find me staring vacantly out the window.

11 am: My 10 am client is only 30 min, so I’m usually home by 11 am. As soon as I get home, I make my post workout smoothie and hop in the shower. I also take this hour to straighten up the dishes in the sink, maybe pop the laundry in, or do some of the 21654 errands there need to be done around the house. I also boil some water for my tea I must have every day.

Workout Smoothie

12 pm: By 12 I am usually at the computer for the afternoon. I read through blogs, comment, schedule social media posts and pins, and work on emails.

1 pm: I realize I’m hungry and head to the kitchen to make some delicious scrambled eggs with ghost pepper (THAT’S OUT OF STOCK UNTIL SUMMER). I will inevitably see my dehydrated dates and almond butter on the counter and eat 5 before my eggs are done. If I haven’t done the dishes yet, I play a game where I try and get them all done before my eggs are cooked. WHAT KIND OF GAME IS THAT??

Scrambled Eggs

1:15 pm: Since apparently I can’t take a lunch break like a normal person, I bring my eggs back with me and try to eat and type at the same time. I take this time to write out and schedule the next day’s blog post and work on any material that needs to get done for Sweat (emails, social promos, etc). I’ll also see if I have any sponsored posts or freelance writing that is coming up and needs to get done.

Related: How I Blog: My Posting Process

3 pm: I have a client that comes right to my building, so I usually work up until ~2:53 pm and then head down to meet with her for an hour.

4 pm: I head back upstairs and finish any remaining work while popping some chicken in the oven to bake. Sometimes I forget about the vegetable part and don’t have time to eat my whole dinner before heading out again. Lately I’ll eat a chicken breast and then when I come back in the evening I will have my vegetables.

Related: Finding A Food Balance as a Personal Trainer

5:30 pm: I either have a client or a class I teach depending on the evening. Either way, I spend my walking time catching up on things on my phone because I’ve turned into one of those annoying people who can’t just enjoy a walk. Once it gets a little warmer, I’m sure I’ll have my phone away more. Right now it’s cold and I want to be distracted so it feels like I get there sooner.

Sometimes I do pay attention though and get cool city shots like this one.

Canal St

6:30 pm: I’m usually done by about 6:30 pm and on my walk home I make sure to post for the second time of the day on both IG accounts.

7 pm: I get home around 7 pm, eat the rest of my dinner, and hang out with Neil. We usually talk about our day and spend time catching up on shows that we’ve missed throughout the week. Right now the only ones with new episodes that we’re still watching are Better Call Saul, Brooklyn 99, and Empire. Everything else we watch is over for the season.

10 pm: I like to be in bed BY 10 pm, although sometimes it’s AT 10 that we actually start getting ready. Neil decides now is the time he wants to talk to be about anything and everything while I can barely keep my eyes open. I usually fall asleep in the middle and do it all again the next day!

While this is a general day for me, a lot can still vary throughout. I may have errands to run, appointments, or Fridays are generally busier since I don’t have to write a post in the afternoon and can see more clients. All of my work, aside from a weekend or two a month teaching at Sweat, is confined to weekdays so that I can enjoy having nothing to do on the weekend except nap and eat food.


  • Do you prefer the 9-5 or 5-9?
  • When do you usually wake up? Go to bed?
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?


  1. April 13, 2016 / 6:21 am

    I think more people are actually craving a less rigid schedule which is why you’re seeing a shift of corporate America people freelancing or doing other jobs like training that gives them more flexibility.
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…WIAW…Don’t Mess With My KitchenMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 15, 2016 / 7:39 pm

      Totally. I’ve been seeing it more and more lately!

  2. April 13, 2016 / 8:19 am

    Sometimes I think I’d want a 5-9, but I like having that time as “me” or “relationship” time (5am-8am is me/freelance time, 6pm-9pm is boyfriend and dogs time). I’m lucky though in that I have a pretty flexible government job with flex days and time off for appointments… if I didn’t have that I’d definitely be a 5-9 er!
    Bri recently posted…A boredom-busting treadmill workoutMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 15, 2016 / 7:40 pm

      Yeah that seems like a good arrangement!

  3. April 13, 2016 / 8:31 am

    I love day in the life posts – unless they’re my own, haha.
    Apart from a retail gig in college (ugh!), I’ve always worked 9-5. I hate having to use my PTO for stupid things and wish my schedule was a bit more relaxed, but I think I actually prefer having a set schedule along with *most* (not all) of the world. When I had no set schedule on maternity leave I couldn’t function (that was probably hormones and sleep deprivation though!).
    My “bedtime” (& wake time) is the same as yours, though it’s often later on weekends. Throw in a wake-up or two from the baby and/or dog. 😉
    Catherine @ foodiecology recently posted…What I Ate – An Attempt to Scale Back the CarbsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 15, 2016 / 7:42 pm

      Yeah when my schedule got my flexible I had to set some boundaries for myself and make sure I wasn’t just wasting time for sure

  4. April 13, 2016 / 9:00 am

    I would love a schedule like this. Having variability each day and a sense of go-go is perfect for me. You definitely keep yourself busy!
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Living my life offlineMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 15, 2016 / 7:42 pm

      Some days are a little lighter than others which is good too!

  5. April 13, 2016 / 9:49 am

    I think we all need different things in different stages of our life. I really enjoyed my flexible schedule and time as a trainer — but have come to appreciate the set schedule that I have in my new job, since going BACK to the corporate world after a couple years away. That’s the beautiful thing about life — you can always make changes! I’m so glad you’re loving your schedule, Erin. Early mornings are tough, but it’s so awesome to feel accomplished early in the morning!
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West recently posted…What should you do in the gym?My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 15, 2016 / 7:43 pm

      I’m so glad that your new job is working out well! Yeah I love being done so early in the morning!

  6. April 13, 2016 / 10:34 am

    I have an 8-6, and I’m enjoying it. I have more regular hours, so I know that I have my uninterrupted workout time in the morning, my job work, my client work, my blog work, and my time with Alex. It is really working for me, and I am so thankful for it!
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…The 80 20 Diet for Runners (80 Fresh Review + Giveaway)My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 15, 2016 / 7:44 pm

      Yay yay yay! Can’t wait to talk more about it this weekend

  7. April 13, 2016 / 12:56 pm

    I used to have a 24/7 job (or, what felt like it) and right now I really enjoy my 9-5 gig. It gives me structure that I NEED but I know when work is done, it’s DONE and I don’t need to worry about people calling me outside of work hours, or needing to fire up my laptop at 10pm for work. Now, if I’m on my laptop in the evening, I’m doing stuff I truly want to do.
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Nutrition Requirements for Runners: CarbohydratesMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 15, 2016 / 7:45 pm

      That’s always a relief. I used to have a job that would call me all the time after I left and I HATED it so much. Worst. Job. Ever.

  8. April 13, 2016 / 6:07 pm

    I love the variety and flexibility of your day. I am struggling with the 9-5 limitations, not being able to make appointments or run errands when I want, etc. I am not a morning person though so the early stuff would be a struggle but I used to do it in grad school when I had an early morning shift working a team meal or the fueling station and it was fine because I knew it wasn’t all day.
    Jill @ RunEatSnap recently posted…My Big Summer Vacation Plans REVEALED!!My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 15, 2016 / 7:46 pm

      Yeah, once I’m up and moving I usually wake up pretty quick. Plus I’m can’t stay up that late anymore

  9. April 13, 2016 / 8:01 pm

    I love the idea of scheduling my own day. Like the previous commenter, I find the structure of 9-5 prevents me from getting a lot of necessary things done (dr. Appts, errands, shopping) and that’s pretty annoying. I think a 4 day work week would also solve a lot of my issues with the 9-5 structure.
    Pragati // Simple Medicine recently posted…Funfetti Cake SmoothieMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 15, 2016 / 7:47 pm

      Ooh yeah I like the sound of that too

  10. April 14, 2016 / 9:55 am

    On days I teach or train at 6-6:30 am, I like to either take a 2-3 hour break in the middle of the day or be done by 3 or 4. I have actually been setting my schedule up so I am done almost every day by that time, it is nice to get home and feel like I have the whole evening to do whatever I want and not have to go back to the gym! I used to get atleast 8 hours of sleep, not with a 7 week old, who knows! 🙂
    Sarah @ The Fit Niche recently posted…How to Compose a Group Fitness ClassMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 15, 2016 / 7:53 pm

      Yeah that’s awesome! If I get done with blog stuff in the middle of the day I’ll usually take a break but it can be so easy to get sucked into the computer haha

  11. April 14, 2016 / 10:00 am

    Thank you for sharing your perspective! I’m currently debating leaving my corporate job to be a fitness professional and stay at home mom. It’s no longer a question of if but when!


    • erinsinsidejob
      April 15, 2016 / 7:54 pm

      Awesome! Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions about anything 🙂

  12. April 14, 2016 / 3:06 pm

    I remember days like this when I was training full time. Thankfully my 9-5 is flexible enough that I can still get all the things done. Great post.
    Ivanna recently posted…3 Ways To Improve Your Mental FitnessMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 15, 2016 / 7:59 pm

      That’s great. All the ones I have before were NOT flexible at all! Thanks for reading!

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 15, 2016 / 8:04 pm

      Good I’m glad you approve of my game 🙂 yeah, it doesn’t feel like work when it’s something I enjoy so much!

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