Career Change: Joe Pitt
When you are searching for a new direction in life I believe it is more important to be inspired than led. Embarking on the path to an engaged career, in something you love, means you are your own leader; because on a journey of self discovery you are the only one who can find the way.
As mentioned in previous posts my current career situation brought me to a very bad place in terms of depression and anxiety. I finally found enough courage to talk to my doctor about it after struggling for months to find a solution on my own. He recommended 3 avenues to help right my mental ship which were — therapy, medication and exercise/healthy diet. I had been exercising for a couple of years prior to this but with no clear direction or understanding of how to be consistent and see results. I also had no idea what proper nutrition I should be following to assist any training regime. As this was now an issue both mentally and physically I needed to find someone to help me make it habitual. I had worked with trainers before but never gotten a proper education from the process and despite my drive to get myself fit and healthy it never lasted. My aim this time was to find a trainer who would provide both training and nutritional education while also looking like they lived the philosophy. This is where my online search for a trainer led to Joe Pitt.
Joe is an IFBB Physique Competitor and qualified Personal Trainer based in Queensland, Australia who, among several roles, provides training and nutrition programs both online and one-on-one. I got in touch with Joe at the start of this year. We worked through my goals and my current fitness levels to provide what I needed to start a consistent health focused journey which I am very happy to say I am 8 months into and loving, with no sign of me quitting anytime soon. I have gone back to Joe for additional training schedules, advice, tips, encouragement and support throughout the year and this has helped enormously with remaining consistent and committed.
How does this relate to career change you ask? Well the more I corresponded with Joe the more I learned about the man himself. That, together with his online presence on Instagram (north of 48,000 followers) and interviews he has done for various fitness sites and magazines, revealed that he was in fact living the very process I am currently going through. Joe has transitioned from more than one career to his current situation of juggling a family and several career responsibilities as he pursues his passion in fitness and competing. I made the assumption that he had started in fitness and had been doing it for a long time — I mean the man looks like he has actually been carved from Granite so the assumption was probably a fair one!
I wanted to know more about Joe’s story and how he was managing to, very successfully, follow his goals, where it all started for him and any advice he would have to anyone contemplating the same path. Thankfully Joe, despite how busy he is, is and always has been very generous with his time and he graciously agreed to not only to answer some questions on the process but also allow me to post his responses as part of this blog.
Where did your love of fitness originate and then evolve? I played Rugby League semi-professionally in the Queensland and FOG’s Cup. At 17 I suffered a knee injury, which resulted in me needing a knee reconstruction during which my Anterior Cruciate ligament was grafted, and replaced, and the cartridge in my right knee removed. Despite this injury I continued to play professional sports, which only worsened with the impact on my knee over time. I played until I was 28 before I could no longer physically run and required surgery ending my football days.
As a result I had just finished a Rugby League career, I was 100kg+ and I no longer needed to be that big anymore. On top of that I could no longer run to lose weight. I had to face a few truths with the key one being I was fit, but over weight, and running and other conventional weight loss methods were no longer an option for me. I was stuck as to how I was going to meet my fitness goals without running — as I thought this was the only way it was physically possible to do so. I started looking into all different types of fitness exercise and found that although training is important, it’s what you put into your body (food) that has the greatest cause and effect.
I decided to start from scratch, I created a high protein diet using high and low days of carbohydrate cycling as well as adding in low impact HIIT spin bike, rower or slow steady state walking 3–4 time a week in the am and weight training in the pm.
What is your current career status? I currently work as a Change Manager in the Queensland Government on a part time basis 3 days a week as well as undertaking Personal Training and online coaching 7 days a week. I also have sponsorship obligations as part of competing in Men’s Physique Competitions and most importantly being a dad to my beautiful 1 year old daughter.
What were your work arrangements when you began your career transition? I was working full time at the Queensland Government as a Service Desk Manager supporting all the finance and HR systems throughout Queensland.
How did you know you needed to make a change in your career? What were the drivers behind it? I had become involve in competing in the Men’s Physique competitions (bodybuilding) and this was gaining some momentum for me. I love fitness, and everything it entails, so the pull to get into the industry became one that made sense to me as I like to be active and not behind a desk all day.
Did you struggle with motivation or was the decision to start the transition enough to push you forward? The struggle was not so much in the decision, more so that I had a well paying job and was really very risk adverse. I didn’t want to leave my wife in a tough position financially, not to mention we were planning to have our first child.
I believe in what I am doing, and the future it can provide for my family, so that is all the motivation I need. — Joe Pitt
How did you know what you wanted to do? Did you have to take time to figure it out or was it obvious for you? It came to me very quickly, most people thought I was a Personal Trainer anyway. I was almost out of place in a suit and tie; my habits were one of a fitness person. In the end it was a no-brainer I just needed to figure out a strategy on how to take the first steps.
How did you go about making that change — was it a clearly laid out plan or finding your way as you went or a mix of both? I was lucky enough I had long service leave up my sleeve as well as a fair bit of standard leave, so I took them both at half pay and set off to establish myself as a PT & fitness industry personality.
What did you find the most difficult part of the transition? The hours, this is still the case training to fit it all in. It’s hard to balance 3 jobs and a family.
How long have you been transitioning/combining careers? I’m currently 18 months into the process, I’ve been able to hit a large number of markers along the way but its still a work in progress.
How do you manage your time between the different jobs — allocation of time to the different aspects and also being a husband and father? Just time management, I stay home during the day on Thursday with my daughter which is great and I feel lucky I can do that, but head to work later that night. It is hard for sure; my wife and I talk about it a lot — looking to the future — so we manage but I would obviously like not to be working as much and home with my family. If I can persist I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m also lucky to have the wife I do and her amazing support; I would be lost without her.
How many hours is your average work week when you include all elements of ‘work’? It can vary week to week but predominantly 50–60 hours and I work 7 days a week.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of training for you? It used to be more about my personal achievements and hitting goals — that is still great — but finding out I’m inspiring others to make key changes in their life for a healthier lifestyle is very humbling and rewarding. I find this motivates me a lot as to keep pushing the message of health and fitness.
What advice would you give to people wanting to get in shape? Decide on a goal, map out how you are going to get there and over what period of time, then work out what you need to change, or alter, in your life to achieve it. Whether that is a nutritional plan, a personal trainer to help you, what training you need to undertake or potentially what you might need to allow for in your life to achieve it. A key point is a lot of people like a drink but this is a major stumbling block in reaching your fitness goals, alcohol contain a lot of calories and lead to poor food choices and can impact for 3 days after even only a few drinks.
I think sometimes we can be unrealistic with our expectations in terms of training results and the time it takes to get a six pack or put on lean muscle mass. When the truth is these things take time and you only get out what you put in, in saying that small changes in lifestyle go a long way to improving and reaching your fitness goals.
What would be your ultimate goal or what is your aim going forward? To only have one full time job, and even that being part time — isn’t that the dream for all of us. Although I’m looking into a number of business opportunities for the future.
How do you stay motivated in achieving that goal? Any tips for anyone struggling with motivation? For me it’s really simple, I haven’t finished what I started yet. Once I commit to something that’s it, I have to see it through no matter the outcome. I believe in what I am doing, and the future it can provide for my family, so that is all the motivation I need.
With my training I wake up everyday with a goal daily, weekly, monthly or yearly and just have an inner drive to want to reach my limits and push myself. I am always looking for areas of improvement. As well as that I think that it is just my competitiveness, I am always thinking about my competition and what I need to do to be one step ahead of them in such a subjective sport. This principal can be applied to any goal you are chasing.
What kind of tips or advice would you have for people looking to change career based on your experience? Have a clear path to follow before you take the first step, map out your goals and marker points along the way. I was able to do a lot of the setting up of my business before I had to consider leaving my 9–5. There is no point rushing head in if after a few months your back where you started because your plan wasn’t sound.
At Careercatch22 I love motivational quotes. Do you have a quote you live by? ‘Day in, day out’ — simple. The thought process behind it is I don’t try and do crazy fads. I focus on key health and fitness strategies to maintain a healthy manageable lifestyle. Day in, day out’ sums that up; it is just what I do.
What is on the horizon for Joe Pitt in the near to medium term future? I have been working towards heading to the US to try and enter the fitness industry there. Next month I head to the Mr Olympia weekend in Las Vegas to do just that and I will be working with some of the biggest names in the industry. This was a goal I set before I left my workplace 2 years ago; so a very proud moment.
Even if you do not have any fitness goals Joe’s focus, determination and motivation is a perfect example to all. This is an approach that can be applied to any aspect of life and definitely in a journey of career change. If you do have fitness goals this man is a shining example of everything that is good about the process. He is driven, humble about his successes, always willing to give back to others and a walking outcome of goals achieved through self commitment and sacrifice. Joe also reassesses the targets he originally set and is adjusting and pushing forward at all times. To me that is a perfect example of growth as a person. Whether it is a physical or mental growth, it is the same principle — striving to improve at all times.
I began this post with a statement on inspiration for a reason. Joe has been one of my inspirations on this career change quest. A quest to marry my passions with what I do. I also wanted to show that everyone has adversity in life. Success is earned and hard fought for. Time can be at a premium for most people — we all understand that so well — but finding that extra bit of time can make all the difference. As Joe says ‘small changes in lifestyle go a long way to improving and reaching your fitness goals’ but this is so true for any goal in life. Looking at time management, as mentioned in my post The First Baby Steps of My Career Change, helped me to recognise that even a small amount of time has an impact and to use that time for the betterment of me, as well as others. For me it is important to find inspiration wherever I can because it fuels that drive to succeed even further. We are surrounded by people who inspire by actions and/or words if we only take the time to see them.
A big thank you to Joe for taking time out of a hectic schedule to give insight into how he has gone about his career change and what drives him to achieve the goals he has set. If you have fitness goals and would like Joe to help you achieve them please get in contact because I can definitely testify to the results. His various contact details are below:
Originally published at careercatch22.com on August 19, 2015.