Otwi on the joys, challenges of being a personal trainer

Monday March 22 2021

David Otwi (Right) with a client . PHOTO/DEUS BUGEMBE

By Deus Bugembe

We all know that maintaining an active lifestyle should be one of our top priorities for a healthy life. Only by taking care of ourselves do we stand a chance of being the kind of person we strive to be on the job, at home with our loved ones, and in our communities. But that does not mean it is easy.

Work in particular can get in the way and with many people suffocated by tight schedules, there is barely time to go to the gym or engage in other types of exercise such as jogging. 
This has created room for the emergence of personal trainers such as David Otwi who do all the moving. They basically come to you, at a time most convenient for you. Based at East Coast Boxing Club, Naguru, Otwi has a list of clients who either want to get in shape or improve their health by becoming physically fit.

Otwi, a talented football and rugby player, prides himself in keeping fit but he says it goes beyond that. “I got into fitness training because of the passion I have to help people achieve their body goals and fitness levels,” he says. 

The Covid-19 pandemic gave his trade mileage and eventually, his clientele grew. “During the lockdown, all most people did was eat and sleep. For many, the kilogrammes started piling on and because gyms were also closed, they started looking for options that would allow them to work out at home. The rise in demand for personal trainers tempted me to join the industry since my darling sport rugby was on hold as well,” Otwi says.

The package
Otwi is versatile and will take his client through different exercises including boxing, kickboxing, aerobics, cardio exercises, CrossFit and physiotherapy. He also offers advice on diet. 

There are different packages and Otwi puts the client on a package that best suits them based on their needs. “A client’s interest in a particular activity determines the package, although some packages require qualification and for this, I first take someone through a test,” he explains. 


Otwi’s training philosophy is “fitness is a lifestyle” because he thinks if one embraces fitness, then good health is guaranteed.


Otwi’s packages are billed per hour and all go for Shs30,000 per person. However, the process of restoring, maintaining and maximising one’s strength, function, movement, and overall well-being make physiotherapy more expensive at Shs100,000 per session. “It is a delicate process that requires a lot of time and dedication to derive positive results,” Otwi adds. 

The last four years in the trade have reaped dividends in Otwi’s life. They range from social capital to financial gains. “I have achieved a number of things such as meeting new, influential people. I have also managed to support my family and take my children through school. I am also able to finance my own education at university,” he explains. 

Otwi says being a personal trainer has become a demanding and competitive trade with new entrants every single day. It also comes with the trainers having to manage their own schedules, attract and get new clients, and meet performance expectations. 

“Some clients become impatient while others are inconsistent. Other clients get information from different platforms such as Youtube, which they confuse with what they are given. Other clients go against the recommended diets,” says Otwi. 

Keeping clients motivated, he says, is also hard since some just give up when you start noticing results. “I keep clients motivated through providing challenge exercises and awarding focused individuals with free sessions,” he says. 
Sometimes, Otwi handles challenging clients through leadership role plays, allowing them to lead through sessions although he dictates the intensity. 

It has been one year and counting but Otwi is far from where he wants to be when it comes to being a personal trainer.  He wishes to have a health and fitness facility where clients can camp for a specific period and work towards releasing their expectations.

Greatest Success story
About a year ago, Otwi received a call from a client who was in need of losing weight after giving birth. To make the task tougher, she had given birth through C-section thus not being able to exercise a lot.

The mother of two weighed 118kgs at the time but after two weeks training with Otwi, she was able to lose six kilogrammes. Her overall health had also improved dramatically. To many, this might seem simple but he knows how demanding it can be.