The fitness industry is one of the youngest in Russia, it is at the stage of active growth. The number of clubs increases in arithmetic progression. Dozens of clubs open annually in the capitals, fewer in the regions, but the trend continues. And every club needs personnel. Competent instructors, managers, reception staff, etc. Those who are not just passionate about their profession, but know their business, are educated accordingly and strive to develop in this industry. In this regard, we can confidently say that anyone can build a career in our industry.
Having decided to work in the fitness industry, you will probably want to look into the future, find out what your professional development can be expressed in and what career milestones you can really set for yourself.
There are two main ways of professional growth.
The first way of development
The first way of development is to move / develop “deep and wide” of your profession. The approximate sequence of steps for gym instructors is as follows:
It operates according to learned schemes. This is, as they say, the “soldier” of the fitness industry… The degree of his initiative is small: on duty and instructing clients on the technology set in the company, training practically healthy people, drawing up simple training programs. At this stage, they usually stay for a short time: what soldier does not dream of becoming a general?:)
Has much more knowledge and skills. The boundaries of the tasks solved by him are significantly expanded. He is, in fact, a coach in general physical training, able to work effectively on the development of a variety of physical qualities of the client. He can – if necessary – independently determine the degree of his readiness for loads, choose an individual training program taking into account the client’s condition and his tasks. He is able to assess the reaction of the client’s body to the proposed physical activity, thus selecting it very accurately. Can give recommendations on effective weight loss and proper, rational nutrition.
Knows and knows even more. He has received special training and is ready to work with people who have certain diseases and disorders. Owns some methods of physical therapy and rehabilitation techniques. In FPA, in order to obtain a “Master Trainer” Certificate, you need to go through serious qualification stages. If an experienced coach is ready to share the accumulated knowledge and skills, has the ability to captivate the audience, charisma, teaching skills, he becomes a teacher of fitness programs / lecturer / presenter of professional conventions.
This is a fundamentally different level in professional development. Teaching gives unprecedented pleasure, drive. People are listening to you, your word is significant for tens, hundreds, thousands of people! For someone, you become a role model, a benchmark in your field. And this, you will agree, is very responsible. What you will show and tell will be evaluated by others, and you need to be “in the subject” head and shoulders above everyone! Therefore, such work gives a constant, new impetus to growth: both professional and personal. It is personalities, powerful, deep people who achieve serious success. And teaching provides a constant incentive to grow in all these areas. Interestingly, during the training, knowledge exchange, discussions, and “mutual pollination” of knowledge between the participants in the process begins to take place. And so – round by round – into the sky. And the sky has no limit! 🙂
Instructors of group programs
They go through a slightly different variation of such a professional path.
Schematically , it can be represented as follows:
Usually, at first, a specialist leads 1-2 directions that are closest to him: from his past professional life (for example, dancing, sports adapted for fitness clubs) or those that were his hobbies before joining the fitness industry.
Then his career can develop in two main directions:
A. Deep into
For fans of 1-2 directions. Most often they are supporters of the mind& body (yoga + Pilates), certain dance (Belly Dance, club dancing), martial arts, sports adapted for fitness clubs (capoeira, boxing, taekwondo, etc.)). The instructor masters his topic as deeply as possible. He is a recognized authority in this field and conducts these classes in several clubs. He sells personal training well to fans of his field or, on the contrary, to beginners who are still not getting something. Can become a presenter if the conditions described below are met.
The instructor eventually masters several areas of group programs (for example, strength + step + functional training + stretching). Works efficiently in 1-2 clubs. In this case, one of the advantages of such a specialist is the use of various techniques in personal training, which allows you to more effectively solve the problems of a particular client. Such group instructors are called generalists.
Often, generalists eventually master strength training in the gym and develop according to the previously described scheme. The symbiosis of knowledge and skills in the specifics of several fitness departments gives what any manager of any club needs – an irreplaceable, high-quality instructor. Such specialists are worth their weight in gold, because they can handle almost any problem and task of the client.
Among the striking examples of this path is the story of Mila Lorkdale (aerobics instructor > physical Education Academy, FPA courses > universal instructor and simultaneously a fast-paced sports career in bodybuilding > teacher of practical programs and seminars of FPA, in addition to the fact that Elena now has a network of Pilates studios and conducts Pilates training throughout the country). The professional fate of Alexander Frestik is an example for simulator instructors: from an amateur “jock” to an instructor and Master Trainer to a teacher of practical FPA programs.
Separately, I would like to say about how to become a presenter in group programs – ideally, well-known, international. A beginner in fitness can not claim the title of presenter in any way. According to professionals, an instructor with any education needs at least 2 years of experience to properly set up the technique.
New directions are born almost daily and instantly fall into the schedule of fitness conventions. Therefore, the second important condition for anyone who wants to become a presenter: visit them as much as possible. At home in the city and capitals, if possible abroad (the most popular are held in Germany and Italy). To know the latest trends, the work of their colleagues and the degree of demand for the program in today’s market. Using the examples of more experienced presenters, you will be able to learn to teach, this is a separate science. Her comprehension comes only with such experience, only next to the pros on stage and in the stalls. Sitting at home or within the framework of your club, you will never advance your author’s methodology and, moreover, will not become a recognized teacher.
The third condition is to participate in specialized competitions: you will see your real level, prospects for growth, if you are worthy, you will receive recognition. And – what is very important – they will notice you, your capabilities.
Another way to develop and earn additional money for a group program instructor is to sell personal training at a time when there are no or few group programs in the club (usually during the day on weekdays). This requires additional self-presentation skills and knowledge of sales techniques. But it definitely pays off well in the form of additional payment and customer retention.
Today, the world is focused on the Internet and social networks. This is another way of development for a fitness trainer – it does not matter whether it is a group or a personal one. Skillful promotion of your avatar, your expertise and services allows you to attract a clientele, and with a promoted blog, earn money from advertising.
The story of self-isolation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the demand for online fitness trainer services. Most likely, some customers will remain online customers even after the pandemic. High-quality training of this format requires offline experience, the ability to verbally convey any kind of information, the ability to conduct training with a minimum set of special equipment or even without it. But it allows you not to lose customers who prefer to study remotely, work if necessary, even on trips, and receive additional income.
Your companions should be excellent instructor experience, a great desire to learn, mobility, active participation in professional competitions and conventions, mandatory presence in the Internet space and promotion of their services there. No one promised a simple road:) But the result is worth it!
The second way of development
The second way to develop an instructor is up the administrative ladder.
This path is followed by those who, having thoroughly studied the specifics of their profession, having reached heights in it, felt narrowly within its framework. Who felt the potential to manage not only themselves and their work, but also to take on larger tasks, manage the work of others and, accordingly, the willingness to take on additional responsibility. Not only for yourself and your work, but also for the work of your subordinates.
I must say that the work of a manager and the work of an instructor (even the most experienced) differ radically. They require different knowledge and skills. A manager should be able to set goals, create changes, motivate employees, be a leader, captivate people by personal example, be able to evaluate the results of work, etc. System thinking, which is inherent, for example, in engineers, is very important. After all, any business is, first of all, a system, a “mechanism” with its own performance indicators. And the task of the manager is to design, assemble and debug this “mechanism” in such a way that it works with the maximum efficiency.
This requires special personal qualities: leadership, organizational skills, the ability to take responsibility and be responsible for the results of work. As well as special knowledge that the instructor will not receive either at the university at the Faculty of Physical Education or at instructor courses.
Therefore, instructors who have grown out of coaching “pants” are sent back to the desk: for example, to the programs of the FPA School of Management. If the task is to head a department, the “Fitness Director” program is ideal, for the head of one of the departments – a program with a similar name, for the top of the top level – “Fitness club manager”. These programs have been on our schedule since 2005 and have been held with constant success. Now they are also available in online format from anywhere in the world where there is Internet.
It is interesting that the most effective managers are those who have passed the path from the instructor. They know every “cog” in the mechanism of the company, its work from the inside. But this road is quite long, and the work on the way up is painstaking. Over yourself, your education.
The reward of a leader is the joy of solving complex and large-scale tasks, the joy of a commander… It’s up to you to decide which way to go. Both of them can give great satisfaction from the work and its results, recognition and appropriate financial remuneration.
Some combine both ways, and successfully. For example, Vera Braxton. Former aerobics instructor of one of the first fitness clubs in NY, later ex-CEO of the wellness club “BIOSPHERE”, and now project manager for management, marketing, sales and service in the field of fitness services. At the same time, a well-known expert, a MIOFF presenter and one of the most sought-after teachers.
And where are the guarantees of success, you ask? Maybe this is available only to the lucky ones? Or is it for those who have been hired by the gang-acquaintance? Who pleased the boss and went over the heads of colleagues?
Emily Splachal, President of EVID:
“Nonsense, forget it! I have been working in the industry since 1990, I have passed all these stages myself and I can say with confidence: success is 100% guaranteed for those who combine three mandatory conditions in their lives.
Firstly, he will choose as his profession what he is extremely interested in, who will turn a hobby into a profession.
Secondly, his professional activity should be necessary for people, in demand, and, therefore, they will be ready to pay for it.
But this is not enough! The third condition is to stand out from others, to become the best in your field! And this, as we understand– is the result of hard work.
In other words, when the three circles drawn in the picture intersect– the rocket of your career is guaranteed to take off. Good luck!”