There’s never been a better time to create a career in health and fitness. The industry is booming on every level, from weight-loss and nutrition through to high-end sports performance coaching. According to the Sector Skills Assessment (2012), the sport and physical activity sector employs a massive 584,000 people. Is this the year you harness your own passion and turn it into a career you’ll love?
The 2015 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report from the Leisure Database Company shows us the numbers behind the growth. One in eight people in the UK are gym members (an all-time high percentage). And the UK boasts 6,312 fitness facilities (up from 6,112 in 2014). That’s a growth of 191 new public and private facilities. The Personal Trainers Market Research Report from IbisWorld tells us that the industry employs almost 22,500 PTs in this country, and the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) operated by SkillsActive has over 30,000 members.
Is the fitness industry right for you? Here are five PTs who have made a living out of their passion for helping others.
Charlotte Ord is a well-known name in the industry (she was named Personal Trainer of the Year in 2010 and 2014) and owns the ‘Charlotte Ord Academy’ in Surrey.
“I’ve always invested heavily in my own education and have had some fantastic mentors. I try to spend as much time as possible with the industry leaders and absorb everything they share. Being a success isn’t just about your knowledge of the job. It’s also about how you communicate, the kind of person you are and how you conduct yourself.
“Once you’re qualified, that’s when the true education begins. Go on courses, learn new skills, look at the top trainers around the world (and who they network with). These are the guys who will give you clues as to how to fulfil your potential.
“Network as often as you can, both within and outside of the industry and learn how to sell yourself. Social networking sites are fine but there is nothing like meeting people face to face. Beg, borrow or steal to do an internship.”
Ellie Barnes of Barnes Fitness is a sport event organiser and triathlon coach. “After training from January-October 2009, I worked as a PT at my local Virgin Active. I was then Assistant Tutor for the Fitness Collective in Dubai and worked in a members’ gym. In 2010, I started Barnes Fitness. As well as my PT qualification, I have a Premier Training certificate in Sports Massage Fundamentals, run an England Leadership in Running fitness certificate and British Triathlon Level 1 and 2 coaching qualifications. I’m a qualified circuit training and studio cycling instructor and hold a qualification in Emergency First Aid.”
“Work on the thing that makes you stand out. My niche is triathlon coaching and I have official British Triathlon qualifications: NGB qualifications give the best sport-specific knowledge, insurance and support.”
Phil Sims worked as National Training Manager at the PT Academy. “After qualifying as a PT, I soon realised I had very little business knowledge! So I re-educated myself, doing lots of courses and finding myself a mentor. I used that to deliver education to new trainers via the PT Academy. New PTs really needed an edge in this dog-eat-dog industry.”
“Get a mentor. And learn from others. Never forget the client is no.1: give them what they need but also give them what they want.”
Emma Sleight worked at Gedling Community Sports Centre and is now duty manager at the YMCA gym. “I got my Gym Instruction level 2 and then Personal Training level 3 through The Training Room, before adding other qualifications including circuits, gym-based boxing and spinning (I studied alongside work).”
“Read up on the industry, get to know other PTs, and find out about their roles. Then decide where you want to work and what kind of role you’d like. Be decisive and pursue your area of interest from the start.
Bhavik Vadher worked for Freedom Leisure as a Health Club Advisor with PT clients and his own spin classes. “I started college to study aeronautical engineering but realised I wanted to be a PT. After a six-week, full-time course at The Training Room I had my Gym Instruction level 2 and Personal Training level 3 and got additional health and nutrition qualifications.”
“Look for a larger gym which will be able to support you with career development and continual learning. Make the most of every opportunity to get new qualifications, and suggest potential courses if your employer is open to ideas.”
Companies Who Help
Good PTs recognise the value of ongoing training and skill development, even those who have been at the top of their game for years.
Motive8 CPD have over 15 years experience in the industry and offer courses for PTs and fitpros. Their courses are based on the most up-to-date research and practices and aim to help you stand out from the crowd. The range of courses is huge, from two-day courses on Advanced Weight Training to four-hour workshops on Plyometric Training and Olympic Lifting. www.m8cpd.co.uk/
Smart Qualifications offer a huge range of courses, and are an approved training provider for Active IQ and the YMCA Awards. They’ll help you choose the best course of study for your goals, be on hand to guide your study plan, and do everything they can to help you achieve your qualification. All tutors and assessors are active within the industry. Take a look at the massive range of level 2 and level 3 courses on offer, including Studio Resistance Training, Sports Conditioning and Sports Massage Therapy. www.smartqualifications.com/
The Training Room (www.thetrainingroom.com) is a personal training academy that guarantees interviews to graduates until they find a placement. Lianne Kennedy says it’s important to get the correct qualifications for the role you’re after. “Think about your route into employment,” she says. “Speak to as many people as possible in the industry, make contacts and leave a good impression. If you can speak to someone who is doing your dream job, you’ll get a greater understanding of how to get there yourself.”