Rose Tofalakis - Part-time Personal Trainer at Devine Bodies and Jumpstart in Sydney

Rose Tofalakis
'I have been legally working as a personal trainer since 2004, but before that I used to train work colleagues and friends that were eager to get fit.'

Meet Rose Tofalakis, a part-time personal trainer at Devine Bodies and Jumpstart in Sydney.

Easter is a time for chocolate and hot cross buns, but after feasting on holiday treats many people turn to a personal trainer to get them back into shape. Rose is someone who helps people lose the Easter kilos. She works part time five days a week as a personal trainer, while also holding down a job in IT.


How long have you worked as a personal trainer?

I have been legally working as a personal trainer since 2004, but before that I used to train work colleagues and friends that were eager to get fit.

What experience and qualifications do you have?

I completed a Kick Pad Class Trainer Course and Punch Pad Class Trainer Course at Black Belt Pro Pty Ltd, and I have a Master Trainer Certificate IV from the Australian Institute of Fitness. On the IT side of my work, I completed a Paralegal Secretarial Course at Sydney Business College in 1991.

The practical experience I have gained as a personal trainer has all come from dealing with clients on a one-to-one basis. I learn all sorts of things when I'm training people; in particular, how to deal with different personality types which is very important in this industry.

Where do you work?

I work part time at Devine Bodies. Their gym is located at the Rocks in Sydney and all sessions are conducted with one client at a time. We train in the gym as well as outdoors at Observatory Hill where we have a great view of Sydney Harbour.

I also work part time at an outdoor training organisation called Jumpstart. Most sessions with this organisation take place in groups of six. It is more difficult working with larger groups such as this and I usually lose my voice by the end of the sessions!

How often do you work?

I work as a personal trainer on Monday to Friday mornings, and also Wednesday and Thursday evenings. On top of those sessions, I have a full-time job in IT with Fiserv Australia P/L in North Sydney. Both Devine Bodies and Jumpstart are 10 minutes away from my IT job, so it's very convenient for me to get to work on time!

What type of exercise do you do with clients?

I train people in boxing, aerobics, strength training, toning and rehabilitation. Fitness routines depend on the client's individual fitness levels and their personal goals.

Is it difficult motivating people to stay active?

Motivating people is the prime role of a personal trainer and, depending on the clients, this can be challenging at times. We all have bad days, but as a personal trainer my job is to know which buttons to push to keep people motivated.

What do you like most about your job?

I like interacting with clients and programming sessions that I know will leave them breathless, as sad as that sounds. I feel good when I know my client has worked really hard and enjoyed the session.

Is there anything you don't particularly like about your job?

Training outdoors when there is bad weather – but I guess a few drops of rain never killed anybody!

Do you have a good work life balance?

I try to balance everything out the best I can, like anyone working hard in today's society. I always have to make a conscious effort to prioritise family, friends and my own fitness regime.

When is your busiest time of year?

January and February are definitely the busiest months for personal trainers as it is just after the festive season and people are looking to recover after eating so much at Christmas. It seems everyone's New Year's resolutions are based on losing weight, getting fitter and healthier, and quitting smoking – so they look to personal trainers to help them achieve this. Towards the end of winter we also have more clients as they realise that bikini season is just around the corner.

What is your advice to help people stay in shape over Easter?

Enjoy everything in moderation – it's a difficult time of year with so many savoury and chocolate temptations, but you need to limit your indulgences. Having a sweet tooth myself, I always schedule an extra training session if I know I am going to be bad or have overindulged.

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