Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Health & Fitness Industry

Having worked in the Health & Fitness Industry for over 15 years I believe I have been very fortunate in the career path I have chosen.

At this point I will admit I am unlikely (until I venture out on my own anyway) to retire a millionaire working in this industry.  I am also unlikely to ever work that standard 9-5, Monday to Friday .  However, there are many riches to my job and chosen career which still draw me in as much as when I started all those years ago.

I started as many do as "Lifestyle consultant" or in other words a gym instructor.  Bit like a bin man being called a waste management engineer, whilst the latter is more flattering we still call them our bin men. (that is not to detract from the important work they do however!).  I was never meant to be a gym instructor on £8,800/year when I left University.  I was told I would be a graduate trainee on £20,000/year like all graduates did? That was as much of a lie then as it is now!

Anyway having done sports science I was offered a gym instructors job in a great little club in Leamington Spa in Warwickshire.  Not having planned to do fitness and in all fairness whilst I had played sports all my life  I had never actually been in a gym.  I understood the theory having a degree in Sports Science, but would I enjoy the practice?  HELL YES! and i'll tell you why;

1) The fitness industry attracts the same type of people in the same way sport does.  They are generally (not always) fun, bubbly, driven, competitive individuals.  This when managed effectively can create a real desire to succeed and be the best.  It also creates teams that whilst you are young are perfect for some great graet laughs and entertainment.
2) The industry is so diverse in so many ways. You can talk about clubs ranging from small hotel businesses to the cheap budget gyms all the way up to full service gyms and leisure centers with golf courses.  Not only this but the off shoots of those with their own companies running small personal training and boot camp companies or weight management and kids fitness also need including.
3) The roles in the industry are so diverse. Take a standard health club for instance.  The role of an instructor may include his standard gym work, cleaning, membership sales, retail sales with clothing, drinks and food as well as creative stuff with creating individual personal training sessions, running classes, gym challenges and events.
The bigger clubs have career paths available to almost anyone from sales, to kids activities, personal training, food and beverage, swimming teaching, studio classes, outdoor adventure and much more.  Early on it can be a real dilema as to which way you take things.
4) The job is about creating a desire and having fun.  Members and guest frequent leisure facilities for a vast array of reasons but ultimately they want to enjoy their leisure time (even though many appear to be doing quite the opposite at times).  It is our job and role to ensure they do.  Who would not enjoy the challenge of ensuring your guests enjoy their leisure time, when the commodity your selling is fun and success then that breads an environment of fun and success - well it should do anyway.

I don't know of any other industry that would allow for the development of so many skills in an environment that should be fun surrounded by people with a desire to have fun and to be winners.  Does this feeling always exist? No it doesn't and there are many reasons for it, including outside pressures, business performance, poor management, poor team selections and much more which we will discuss over time.  On the whole though this is an industry that attracts like minded individuals and I am certain is the reasons for its huge success.
My favorite Club -Holmes Place in Nottingham

Ultimately, the Health and Fitness industry continues to grow even through sharp recession because people value their leisure time and are more conscious of the health and lifestyle.  As with all industries to work in there are some great highs like being able to win Nationally recognized awards such as the UK Flame Awards which we won in 2011 and there are of course some areas to improve on.  

Holmes Place Nottingham poolside
Over time I hope to give a real insight into this ever growing industry from ways to improve, pitfalls to avoid, new and innovative solutions to challenges and industry uptakes and news as they come up.

Please feel free to join in the debates, comment on anything I have written or ask questions.  Lets have to open discussions about our industry