Staying motivated and moving while working from home can be a bit of a challenge. Not so for Maxine Pridsam, who has built her career on improving her clients' fitness and all-round wellbeing from the comfort of her own home gym: Max Fitness UK.
What do you do?
I’m a Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor. We extended our house and built a gym so that I could train Individuals on a 1:1 and 1:2 basis from home.
How long have you been doing this, and how did you get started in this role?
I’ve worked in the fitness industry for over 20 years but working from home for around 9 years. I used to work in marketing for Oxford University Press. I joined the Territorial Army alongside my full-time work and discovered how much I enjoyed fitness. I then trained in the TA for my PTI (Physical Training Instructor) qualification and decided to have a career change which worked well with maternity leave with my first child.
What does your workspace look like?
It’s a gym with a view of part of the garden. A medium size room with a mirror on one wall and equipment such as a rowing machine, spinning bike, weights and various other pieces of fitness equipment.
Do you have a work uniform/wardrobe?
Not in particular. Just gym wear and trainers.
How has your practice/workspace/job in general changed over time?
I’ve upgraded equipment and decided to use the space more efficiently by getting rid of big pieces of equipment that are rarely used and adding more versatile pieces of equipment that are used a lot. I’ve realised that the view of the garden helps clients to relax so I maintain that section of the garden well. I ensure the gym is clean and tidy for every client so that it’s welcoming.
What’s your greatest remote working challenge?
During the pandemic has been particularly challenging. As my work involves a connection and trust between myself and my clients, this is hard to obtain using an online platform such as Zoom. My clients need reassurance, motivation and guidance all of which is easier to achieve in person. To keep this motivation and reassurance in place during the pandemic has been challenging.
What’s your favourite aspect of being a home/remote worker?
My favourite aspects of being a home worker is that I am never stuck in traffic, I can do some household chores between clients such as peg the washing out or prepare dinner and I’m around for my dog so she’s not left on her own for long.
What’s your top tip for effective remote working?
Have structure to the day and be focused. Use an area of the house where you won't get distracted or disturbed
Is there a device/object/bit of furniture/piece of tech that improved your remote working station or practice?
At the beginning of the pandemic I bought a new laptop and head mic so that my classes and PT could be delivered via Zoom. The laptop was essential, but the head mic has been so useful and has definitely improved the experience for both myself and my clients. As I instruct exercise, I’m often demonstrating with my head down or away from the camera. This is not ideal for clients to understand what I’m saying at the time. With a head mic, I’m able to talk directly at all times so that communication isn’t lost.
What aspect of remote working in your role might people not know about or understand?
From the outside it seems ideal for the benefits I’ve already mentioned such as getting household chores done, not having to sit in traffic and so on, however, it can often feel a little isolated and remaining focused on work and not other things going on in the house can be a challenge.
Your remote working soundtrack: do you have a favourite playlist/podcast/radio station to keep you motivated, or is silence preferable to you?
My clients are all different. Some prefer to exercise to music and others prefer silence.
What’s your fondest memory and/or greatest achievement in your career so far?
I have many fond memories and proud moments in my career so to choose one is difficult. I’ve have trained clients and helped them transform physically and mentally. I have one lady who lost 8 stone in weight in a year which I felt was a massive achievement for both of us. One other lady wanted to start running but was embarrassed to be seen in public. Week by week I slowly built up her confidence by jogging and walking round a quiet park and eventually she ran her first 10k at an organised event. To see the transformation in her fitness and confidence was very rewarding.
Where do you see you and your business going in the future?
I’m fully content at the moment training a handful of clients helping them to achieve their goals. Therefore, I have no plans to expand or see changes for the future. However, for the past couple of years I have been studying outside of my work to train as a Counsellor and Life Coach. This may seem like a complete career change, but the new knowledge has helped with my current work in fitness.
Do you have any advice for people wishing to follow in your footsteps?
If you feel passionate about the work you do, this will shine through. Be patient, respectful and non-judgemental. Understand that every individual is different and will respond in different ways. Get to know your clients, build trust and discover how they react and what makes them tick. By doing this, you’ll be able to deliver the best for them and achieve the best results. If you'd like to learn more or get in touch with Maxine, she can be found at