A Fitness Instructor Career In A Rapidly Changing Industry

A Fitness Instructor Career In A Rapidly Changing Industry

Andy McGlynn

The fitness industry has changed; no longer are personal trainers running a small, disorganised and fleeting business for extra income. If you’re considering becoming a fitness professional in this day and age you’ll need to be prepared - it’s become big business. With the right approach, knowledge, training and guidance it’s still a very big and very current opportunity for the individual starting out.  Your first step and your choices early on, such as who you choose to get certified with, who you take advice from, how you launch and promote your business will absolutely affect the rest of your career.

The Growth Of A Fitness Instructor Career

The fitness industry has grown continuously since the first generation of gym chains picked up the mainstream reigns from leisure facilities.  Companies such as Fitness First, LA Fitness and David Lloyd rolled out multiple sites in the late 90’s and rapidly expanded in the early 2000’s. These companies gave both customers and Personal Trainers more choice and opportunity to train, and for Personal Trainers more choice to launch their fitness instructor career. These gyms have slowly gelled their service with PT’s, though not all of them understand what Personal Training really is or how it can be fully utilised in their clubs. Some Personal Trainers have started to identify the opportunity of setting up as a PT studio. Because of the individualised nature of this, there is no one single model that works for this type of business.

women working out for fitness instructor career

The introduction of Low Cost gyms since the early 2000’s has rapidly expanded in the UK. With it has come a thirst for larger Personal Training teams due to the newly introduced idea of PT’s performing service in lieu of rent.  This means that larger, cheaper gyms drawing in more members are offering a cheaper rent to freelance Personal Trainers by asking them to perform hours as opposed to doing rent.  When done correctly this is a symbiotic advantage with the PT’s being matched up with members, thus improving the foundation of rapport that inevitably goes toward selling a PT product.

For many years, the penetration of memberships in the UK plateaued around 12%, but with the expansion of multiple operators targeting the low-cost market the UK’s membership penetration finally stepped over the 13% mark. Although this is still behind the US at 20% and Germany at 16%, it does give a very good indicator as to the trend or pattern that the UK can expect to experience and with it; the ever-growing need and demand for good quality Personal Trainers.

woman weight training

Where The Industry Is Now

The fitness industry is now more mature and has 2 decades of consistent gym chain growth-activity behind it.  It has received far more attention from the eyes of the Private Equity groups than ever before, and many operators have chosen to opt for a franchise model.  Globally, fitness has become far more of a trend in the recent years with groups such as Cross-Fit creating a culture of training and an increasing number of tech companies looking to integrate wearable tech into an individual’s training regime.  This has been happening since the 80’s with Polar monitors, but as with everything timing is key and with ubiquitous smart phone use, tech companies are getting nearer and nearer to solutions which offer a sustainable and realistic solution.  Tech has helped to make fitness current and cool and brought it more to the masses. With this comes the increased opportunities for any individual with the commitment, and desire to make a fitness instructor career from coaching health and fitness with all its diversifications and pathways that stem from it.

personal trainer

Personal Trainers Stepping Up Their Game

At one stage during the mid-late 00’s the spectrum of highly qualified and lesser qualified PT’s started to increase, but by default and fortunately for the end user, there are now much higher levels of expectations on a PT than ever before.  The use of hormonal profiling, corrective exercise, advanced periodisation and accurate and relevant nutrition plans and programmes with supplementation (if and where relevant) has lifted the standard and expectation to be assumed from a Personal Trainer in their fitness instructor career.

For a PT to be a success in a more crowded market place they have to distinguish themselves as different and take guidance and advice from those who have done it and done it well, especially as there are now over 15,000 Level 3 qualifying individuals in the UK each year.

For more information on the personal training course we offer to start your fitness instructor career, please don’t hesitate to contact us.