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Want a career as a fitness instructor?

Kanchan Maslekar
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September 27, 2006

As health and fitness centres mushroom in cities, and awareness about fitness increases, a number of people have begun looking at fitness training as a possible career. There was a time when only athletes would hit the gym. Now, with growing clientele, there is an increase in demand for professionals like aerobics instructors, yoga instructors and personal and corporate trainers.

What the job involves

As a fitness trainer, you will train people in different aspects of physical fitness, helping them get into shape and stay fit. You can instruct an individual or group in exercise routines such as weights, aerobics or the various machines available in a gymnasium. You will also give them basic advice on health and nutrition, including posture, change in lifestyle if required, etc. You will also be involved in designing specific programmes for people keeping in mind their age, lifestyle, fitness levels and health parameters.

Fitness trainers help clients assess their level of physical fitness. They help clients set and reach fitness goals, demonstrate exercise routines and help them improve their technique. Personal trainers work with clients on a one-on-one basis, either at a gym or at a client's home. The workout is specially tailored to suit the client's specific health and fitness requirements. Some experts conduct group workout sessions that involve aerobics, stretching and muscle conditioning exercises. You could even conduct these classes in a gym or at your own studio.

Employment opportunities

The demand for qualified instructors is an all-time high, which is great news for those aiming to pursue fitness as a career. From hardworking executives to housewives, top bosses to youngsters, the number of health conscious people has increased across ages and professions.

Today, fitness has become a flourishing business, with more and more health centres coming up. There is also a wide array of fitness regimes -- such as aerobics, kickboxing, yoga, Pilates, spinning -- to choose from. The affluent are also keen on setting up gymnasiums at home, creating additional job opportunities for personal trainers.

Fitness trainers work in gyms, big hotels, health clubs, fitness centres, spas, tourist resorts, housing societies and large companies as well. After gaining some experience, you could also choose to run your own centre. You can specialize in any of the huge variety of exercise routines such as weightlifting, aerobics, karate, kickboxing, spin cycling, yoga, pilates or tai chi, spinning and be a specialist trainer.

Kedar Dandge, fitness instructor at Anand Health Club in Pune, adds that although the initial salary is not so great (approximately Rs 4,000 per month), you can earn a lot once you establish yourself and your clients know you well. He adds that established trainers can charge up to Rs 1,000 per hour. In addition to actual training, one can also earn by conducting various guest sessions for corporate houses, write about it and, if things go well, even conduct television shows.

The qualifications

Apart from a professional course as a fitness instructor, there are some essential requisites you must posses. Kedar believes that, apart form fitness, patience is a key trait amongst instructors. "You deal with teenagers as well as senior citizens, so you can imagine the kind of endurance an instructor needs," he remarks.

You must love to sweat it out. If you are the type who loves sitting by a desk, this job is definitely not for you. You must also be fit. Flaunting a paunch or being breathless after 5 minutes of working out will not encourage your clients to work on the treadmill. A good physique and determination to spend long hours working out is essential. You must also have a good knowledge of human anatomy, and be aware of basic effects of lifestyle, diet, nutrition and stress on the body.

You also need to be innovative enough to vary the exercise routine in order to avoid monotony. You have to make sure exercise does not become a boring activity for the client by introducing change and fun in the workouts.

Trainers also need good communication and interpersonal skills, as they have to deal with all kinds of people. Be aware of the latest developments in health science and fitness equipment. Also get some basic knowledge about nutrition and injury rehabilitation. Be patient and motivating to help clients to be physically fit. You need to constantly counsel them to stick to their routine, to go in for 10 more push-ups, to restrain them from having that extra helping of cake...

And yes, you must love music because, except for a few exercises like yoga, one cannot think of exercise without loud, blaring music.

Where to train

Right from your local gym to a Nike Aerobics Course or Reebok Instructor Certification programme, the options for pursuing professional courses are many. In Delhi, Reebok India organises a course twice a year under the Reebok Instructor Alliance programme. The two and a half-month 80-hour course culminates in an A-level Master Trainer Exam, which you must clear in order to be certified as trainer. Check for branches in other cities on its web site.

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) offers courses in sports and athletics coaching in a large number of disciplines at its various branches.

HVPM, Amravati -- 444 605 (affiliated to Amravati University).

Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education & Sports Sciences (IGIPESS) (affiliated to University of Delhi), B-Block, Vikaspuri, New Delhi -- 110 018.

Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education, Kariavattom PO, Trivandrum -- 695 581.

Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education, Shaktinagar, Mela Road, Gwalior -- 474 002.

SAI, Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala -- 147 001.

SAI, NS Eastern Centre, Salt Lake City, Sector-III, Kolkata -- 700 091.

SAI, NS South Centre, University Campus, Bangalore -- 560 056.

A number of institutes and universities impart sports education for coaches at the undergraduate and postgraduate level ie Bachelors in Physical Education (BPEd.) and Masters in Physical Education (MPEd.). Private courses are also offered at:

Symbiosis Department of Health Sciences, Senapati Bapat Road, Pune -- 411 004. Phone: (020) 25655362.

The Growth for Fitness Instructors (GFFI) Fitness training Institute:

In Mumbai: Meenakshi Mahendroo, Plot No 1, Champak Building, Shah Industrial Estate, Veera Desai Road, Andheri West, Mumbai 400058.
Phone: (022) 26731063, (022) 26731064

In Delhi: Neeraj Mehta, 9/306, Sunder Vihar, New Delhi -- 110087
Phone: (011) 25274121, (011) 20574838

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Sub: Fitness and health

Fitness doesnt always means that you have to join a gym. One can be fit by healthy eating habits with moderate exercises like brisk walking, ...

Posted by Dr.Vinay Jadhav MD

Sub: Fitness is the key to our all round success !

Useful information. Thanks !

Posted by Dr.Cajetan Coelho

Sub: Enjoy each Day!!

Todays life is full of is the most important part in our life. We must take out few mintutes for get relax, relief, ...

Posted by Pratima


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