If more people were paid to stay fit, the world would look like a very different place!
Becoming a personal trainer offers that incentive, and it’s one of the country’s fastest-growing careers, predicted to increase 30 percent by 2020.
Much of that growth will be driven by students currently undertaking their fitness qualification exams, and it’s these folk that will literally shape the future of fitness.
So if you’re already considering a career in one of the fastest and most exciting fields, a few thoughts from those that have already paved the way for a career as a fitness leader…
“Apart from leadership skills, personal training involves creativity and empathy, and could be described as a professional buddy system”, says Stephen Rodrigues, a personal trainer who has watched the business evolve from a rich person’s past-time to something of a mainstream luxury.
“The public’s push to get fit, coupled with rising obesity levels, has made personal training a sought-after service. Becoming certified has become much easier, opening doors to a number of career paths you wouldn’t otherwise have.”
Other people are simply looking for a career change. Lynn Jarrett had taught English as a second language for 25 years when a personal trainer came to her school to help teachers get in shape. As a longtime runner, Lynn loved the well-rounded workouts the trainer provided. “The trainer said I would be good at training. It requires patience, and I like people,” she says. “It’s very much like teaching in that you have to instruct and demonstrate.”
She spent three months studying for the certification exam: learning about metabolism, nutrition, peoples’ physical limitations, and shadowing other trainers. Last October she qualified, and took a year off of teaching to pursue personal training. She hopes to become a full-time trainer. “I really believe fitness is important. It truly adds years to their lives.”
Lynn’s workouts have helped one woman fit into her wedding dress and another lower her body-mass index from 30 percent (considered obese) to 19 percent (in the normal range for women). She’s also helped a cancer patient regain muscle tone and a Parkinson’s patient get stronger.
“It’s amazing to help people reach their goals”.
While many trainers say the most rewarding part of the job is helping people transform themselves, it also ensures they practice what they preach. “You are a walking billboard. When I tell people I don’t drink Monday to Thursday, I don’t drink,” says Rodrigues, who squeezes his own workouts in between clients. “Make sure people see you working out. You’re also a salesman.”
And personal trainers are selling a service that isn’t cheap, making it a potentially lucrative trade. Salaries range from minimum wage for beginning trainers working at gyms to £100 an hour for independent trainers of professional athletes.
And the goal of personal training, he says, is not to create lifelong clients, but to make people self-sufficient in maintaining their health and fitness levels.
That said, Rodrigues thinks the demand for personal trainers will continue to grow—and believes the business will cater to an increasingly niche clientele including pregnant women, children, and people with various health conditions.
And personal trainers are at the crossroads of making that happen, he says…
“We want to help people feel good about themselves. And we do.”
If you’re considering a career as a fitness professional, speak to our team about getting your professional qualification with Focus!