fitness studios and spas
Opportunities await in sports, fitness, recreation

Rehabilitation Centres and medical institutions

India is not only the second-most populous nation on Earth, an overwhelmingly large portion of it is either malnourished and unhealthy, or leads sedentary lives and is illiterate where fitness is concerned. However, the scene has been changing for the better, especially rapidly in the past decade.

Large businesses and corporations are offering health club memberships to their employees as incentives; baby boomers are taking to exercising regularly to stay healthy and fight hospital expenses; well-travelled Indians have seen fitness technology and tasted its benefits; growing incomes have opened up avenues for the middle class to enroll in fitness studios, or open up health centres for others of their ilk.

The fitness industry is growing fast. It is partly comprised of commercial health and fitness centres that provide a venue or service where the public can come for advice and training in a single or group environment. Some cater to groups with special needs: performance sports enhancement, fashion and entertainment, senior citizens, rehabilitation from injury and obesity, and the physically & mentally challenged.

All this means that there are attractive prospects in terms of jobs and business in the industry. If the fitness industry in India grows as per estimates then the number of jobs within this industry is expected to increase by more than 25% over the next 5 years. There is a variety of job roles within the fitness industry, and none of them are less important than the others.

Variety is spice

Be it private clubs or government-controlled associations, the sports sector (cricket, tennis, hockey, badminton, etc.) will by itself require well qualified strength and conditioning coaches for teams, at the national, state and district levels.

The same stands true for sporting bodies of public sector undertakings (the military, railways, banks, etc.), privatised sports teams (BCCI in cricket or Dempo in football, for example), highly popular televised sporting tournaments and adventure shows, apart from sports training academies.

Community recreation is defined by the community-oriented provision of recreation in a variety of settings, including both active and non-active leisure forms. There is a substantial growth for qualified fitness professionals in this sector, with developments in community sports, such as corporate-sponsored marathons, adventure tourism, personality development programmes, corporate wellness and adventure camps.

Within the fitness industry, the scope for gainful employment is huge. Currently there is an immediate and substantial demand for performance-oriented candidates in reception and administration, trainer and assessors, gym instructors and training coordinators, personal trainers and fitness managers, sales and development executives, facility and operations managers, career advisors and membership consultants.

Understandably, the most essential requirement for this profession is an athletic body and loads of energy. A fitness professional will also need to keep abreast of the latest developments in health science, human anatomy, diet and nutrition.

Candidates also need to be innovative enough to vary the exercise routines to avoid monotony and boredom: there is no end to learning in this field, as new research and equipment keeps hitting the headlines.

An education of a minimum of Standard 10 with biology, science and physical education is recommended. On a personal level, the candidates should be patient, friendly, supportive and professional; be able to lead and motivate others; must be organized and adaptable, and good at problem-solving and communication.

Prior experience in sports training or coaching, dance tuitions, customer service work, or in areas such as nutrition, physiotherapy or physical education are a great help.

Personal training

Not only is full-time personal training a viable career option, it is also one of the most diverse – but competitive – occupations in the fitness industry. Personal trainers can choose to get hired at a gym, training their members as an employee, or to work as a self-employed independent contractor.

Working as an employee for a small or large company allows personal trainers to experience the ins and outs of what it takes to run a business, with the added benefits of job security and a predictable paycheck. Learning the ropes while being employed can be helpful if personal trainers hope to eventually start their own business.

Branching out on their own as an independent trainer gives personal trainers many options for how and where to train clients. Personal trainers can pay a ‘rental’ fee to a fitness facility for access to a full weight room. They can choose to purchase their own mobile equipment, such as dumb bells and a stability ball, to train clients in their homes or in a corporate setting.

Or personal trainers can offer online training, communicating with clients and setting up programmes for them entirely through the Internet and computer software versus traditional face-to-face meetings.

Many self-employed personal trainers relish being their own boss, as they can schedule sessions any time they want to work. Being self-employed also means personal trainers are in a position to enjoy a higher profit margin per session, given that personal trainers set the fees and don’t have to split their income with an employer.

Group exercises

Teaching group exercise is one of the most effective ways to enter the industry, because it is a non-competitive training market in India. Group instructors have the option to strike out on their own, implementing and teaching classes outdoors, at home, or by renting a space in local community markets, or gyms.

According to the World Health Organization, worldwide obesity has nearly doubled since 1980. Subsequently, the desire to look and feel good, coupled with a preventive approach to health care, has led to increased demand for health and fitness services. With a growing number of Indians willing to invest in to their health and wellness, the fitness industry is blooming, and will grow to an estimated Rs.1,00,000 crore by 2015-16.

In the past, most ‘aerobics’ classes included lots of complicated choreography, so instructors were expected to put in significant ‘prep’ time at home. Nowadays, fitness instructors can become quite successful teaching classes without spending too much time preparing advanced choreography. That is because the current trend is towards no-choreography, athletic-style workouts; indoor cycling; muscle conditioning; and pre-choreographed classes.

A group instructor can promote him/herself and his/her skills to a crowd of receptive fitness consumers every time he/she teaches. Group exercise is, therefore, a viable way to build a good reputation in the industry.

Group instructors may decide to build career momentum in group exercise as an initial step, or concurrently with other work endeavors. For example, if a group instructor chooses to become a personal trainer, teaching group exercise will put group instructors in front of plenty of potential clients.

Managerial options

There are other areas of the fitness industry that offer plenty of promises for those seeking full-time employment with an annual salary, a regular paycheck and incentives depending on the size of the company.

Among them are administration, sales and marketing, operations, business development, fitness management, facility management, franchisee and corporate management.

Working part-time in fitness programming and management is a smart way to supplement your job and income while learning a bevy of new industry-related skills. For example, if someone has a keen interest in personal training but prefers not to train clients 40 hours a week, he/she might complement the training pursuits by becoming a fitness manager for a gym’s training department.

Likewise with group exercise, you could choose to teach a handful of classes while coordinating as an administration manager. There are also opportunities to manage other divisions, such as the sales force, or to oversee an entire fitness club or chain.

Full-time fitness programming and management is a legitimate career in its own right, especially if one has the right set of guidance to help climb the ranks in a fitness company and/or advancing his/her status and income with job promotions. With the growing number of gym chains, franchises, associations and equipment companies cropping up in India, there are many opportunities to work on-site at a club or corporate division. You may even wish to advance from a local to a regional or national position.

Fitlink-India specializes in personal training courses and exercise instructor courses for people who are already working or thinking of entering into the fitness industry. Established in Australia in 1985, it is one of the well-known international colleges with over 25 years’ experience.

In India, Fitlink is forging itself as a premier fitness industry training and education provider. Revolutionary improvement in course delivery, through online education, technology and innovation has made this possible. It offers courses in gym training, group exercise, personal training, programming and fitness management, along with club ownership management.

– Harpreet Singh

Health club and Social clubs

The writer is National Manager, Fitlink-India






































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