Are you ready for a career in the fitness industry?
Keith McNiven, competed for GB in wrestling before setting up his own personal training company, he offers advice for those thinking of a career in the fitness industry.
A popular career choice
"A fitness career could be perfect for you"
The fitness industry is a brilliant sector to work in, and is a popular choice for many young people. If you are into your sports, maybe playing for your school or for a local team, or just enjoy being physically active, then developing a fitness career could be perfect for you. The great thing about a fitness career is that there are lots of different ways to get involved, and it is also a really flexible career option with lots of opportunities to progress.
So, if you’re playing around with the idea of a career in fitness, here are some things to think about.
1. Would I be suited to the job?
Sounds like an obvious one I know, but take the time to think about your skills and those that are required to be a fitness professional. I’ve worked with many personal trainers, and the ones that really excel are the ones that are in the job because they want to help others. It’ll also really help if you’re confident, positive and good with people. Being in a fitness environment can be scary for some clients, so if you’re able to set them at ease then you’ll be able to gain their trust and achieve better results.
2. Getting qualified
There are lots of options for getting started in the industry and getting qualified. Many people take the vocational route by starting out in a gym or fitness/leisure centre and working towards Level 2 Gym Instructor and Level 3 Personal Training roles. You may even choose to get this qualification at college. For a more academic route, some universities offer BSc programmes in fitness and personal training or sports science which can lead to a wide variety of fitness based careers including P.E teaching.
3. What will I need to know?
Many mistakenly think that a career in fitness is an easy route, but the reality is that any training you undertake will require you to gain an in-depth understanding of anatomy and physiology, plus the biological workings of the body. It’ll be down to you to create programmes for people that are personalised to their specific goals, taking account of any health issues. You’ll learn how to assess clients, help them to work safely and plan effective programmes. As you progress in your learning, you might discover particular aspects of fitness that you would like to specialise in, but a good general knowledge base is good practice as you start out.
4. The first steps
The best advice for now is to investigate all of the options available to you, so college and university courses and local apprentice schemes, and see what appeals to you. You can also look into options for part time work or volunteer to help with local sports team, anything that can help you to develop your confidence in interacting with people in a physical activity setting. It’s also good to work on your own fitness, so you can talk from experience about the benefits of exercise. The fitness industry is a very competitive industry- but if you’re motivated to help others and have a passion for fitness, it could be an extremely rewarding career for you.
"Being in a fitness environment can be scary for some clients."
You can also read Keith's guide about how to become a personal trainer on the Right Path Fitness website.