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People working in fitness - please come here, I want to pick your brains!

(11 Posts)
sweetheart Tue 24-May-11 14:46:30

I hope you don't mind me asking and are happy to provide me with a ton of useful info - please, pretty please!

I'm thining of changing professions - I currently work in finance - and for a long time have thought I'd fancy a career in fitness. I was thinking about it today and though I could be an aerobics instructor, gym person, maybe even gym manager with my professional background, a personla trainer or maybe even open my own boot camp style B&B - wow that's a big goal and a long way off!

Basically if any of you would like to give me info - these are baby steps for me and I'm currently working full time so any re-training would have to be evenings or dare I say it weekends!

I'd love to know - training info, what should I be looking at? Basic qualifications or best training route.

Income info - I know this is hugely personal and sorry for asking, I'd just like to get an idea of standard rates for these things.

Any thing else that you feel might be helpful I'd really appreciate!

You never know, you could just help someone change their life forever! (Let's hope so eh!)

June2009 Tue 24-May-11 15:38:43

I'm kinda in the same boat (not looking for complete lie changing career but would like to qualify and do part time class covers and PT)
I have been looking at what qualifications the personal trainers at my gym have to give me an idea, and what cars they drive (mostly 206, fiestas etc) smile
Have you looked at future fit, YMCA qualifications and Premiere training websites?
Also looked at Les Mills website to be body combat/pump etc instructor but sounds like that would be too specific for you.
Hopefully someone else will be along soon!

sweetheart Tue 24-May-11 15:52:57

thanks june - I've actually looked at nothing. I only decided at lunch time it was about bloomin time I did something! Thanks for your suggestions - I'll be spending this evening scouting around all those websites you suggested.

melliebobs Tue 24-May-11 16:44:42

then i am the person to help you smile Hi, just a bit of background on me then i can tell you what is worth getting and what isn't.

Anyway i started of in the coaching world, volunteering at a football club whilst i was at college, that's what made me do a degree in coaching and Sport developement. Whilst i was at uni i got really really lucky and ended up getting a part time job in a gym as a fitness instructor. Even though I didin't have any formal fitness instructing qualification. So i stopped there getting some experience as not only did we do gym instructory stuff we also had to teach so things like spinning/circuits/pump etc etc. Then i kinda got bored with that and went into GP Referral work for the NHS. So now i work with people that get referred by their GP to a physical activity programme because the GP thinks it will benefit their health. So now i prescribe exercise to people that have had strokes, heart attacks, high BMI, diabetes the list goes on.

So things to take into consideration.

To be a fitness instructor you should really hold a Level 2 fitness instructor qualification. One step up from that is the Level 3 advanced instructor. But youcant do the level 3 until you've done level 2. For these qualifications the best place to go onto is YMCA fit website and see what is running in your area.

To be a personal trainer you need Level 3 Personal trainer. Although YMCA fit do this the course isn't much cop. You'd be better going through Premier Training or ACSM.

If you're looking to do a boot camp kinda B&B then it would be worthwhile doing the YMCA Level 3 Nutrition and Weight Management. However if you do a personal training qualification it is covered within that.

If you are looking to teach exercise classes then it is worthwhile doing the Exercise to Music Award. Again yocan do this through YMCA. This will give you a good underpinning kowledge of choreography etc and on some courses like Les Mills body attack is a pre-requisit. But if you have this and go onto courses to teach spinning/aqua aerobics etc etc it will just make your life a whole lot easier.

If you want to go down the specialist populations route like I have then you need the Wright Foundation GP Referral Award. They have a website. If you want to specialise even more I have done the BACR Phase IV cardiac rehabilitation which means i can work with those that have had heart surgery.

Last place to look at is the Register of Exercise Professionals. When you qualify in anything you register with them cos it makes you look good to prospective clients and you can get insurance through them. But also on their website you can search for courses and see what training providers there are for that course. Saves you googling and googling and googling.

A word to the wise the fitness industry has crap hours, if you work in the private sector (like i did) the pay is not much more than minimum wage. But if you go into personal training you can really rake it in!

And last of all is good luck!

June2009 Tue 24-May-11 21:54:41

thanks melliebobs lots of info here!

Sorry for highjacking the thread...
I'm looking into the Les Mills FitPro Groupex Award, they say it combines the CYQ Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing Exercise to Music with the Les Mills teaching certificate.
but I am wondering whether it would not be better to do a CYQ level2 Certificate or YMCA equivalent (whatever that is, do you know?) because that might be more widely recognised than a Fitpro Groupex Award.
May i ask you what you think about that?

melliebobs Wed 25-May-11 07:30:10

me and my friends were talking about this the other day and we're reconning the way it's goin that ETM is on it's way out with the overtaking of LesMills classes in centres. If the FirPro award has the Level to ETM within it then i'd possibly do that. The only possible negative i can think of is that with it being done through Les Mills is that it will be taylored to you teaching their classes and routines, where as the ymca one or whatever is done so you can go out there and make your own stuff up!

Also YMCA and CYQ are just the awarding bodies. The course content will be the same.

June2009 Wed 25-May-11 10:21:55

That's really interesting thanks mellie.
I want to book the fitpro award towards the end of this year, still considering it, got some paperwork from future fit. The personal trainer course is like 3k which I would like to do but totally can't afford.

melliebobs Wed 25-May-11 10:25:29

I know it's so expensive. Luckily work payed for my level 2 fitness instructor that I'm guessing would be about £500. I paid for my go referral and that was £600 and I had to pay for my bacr another £650. It's a joke how expensive these awards are considering how poor the pay is in the fitness industry. Nhs ain't that bad you need the stuff before hand!

June2009 Wed 25-May-11 11:27:31

The Les Mills fitpro is £800, then you have to do the specific certification, I think body combat is another £185 or £200 on top. (and for that I have to talk to someone at the club as they have to write a letter to say they will offer me a spot either a class or covering classes, easier said than done.)
I know an instructor who used to help people qualify, he has moved clubs though so I have to track him down via other trainers who bump into him sometimes. (sounds a bit flaky put this way, doesn't it, his nephew works at my club too.) thank you for your input mellie
sweet have you found anymore out?

hatcam Tue 31-May-11 20:55:25

I'm not sure I can add much more on the qualifications side, other than to say I really recommend premier. I used to work in financial pr in the city and made the leap to personal training almost 10 years ago and feel like I've never looked back. Honestly, it's been brilliant. I have worked in a gym, but now work for myself personal training, running boot camps and the local Buggyfit. I will never make a fortune, the work can be quite seasonal, the hours can be quite antisocial but I've never been happier. I work part time as I've had 2 kids since I started doing this. In a good year I would make around £40k full time. This might include work that I do writing for the odd magazine, corporate work (corporate fitness clubs) or massage. I am very much in control of my hours (although I find it impossible to say no to anything, a hazard of working for yourself). I am certain I could be making more than this if the kids were in full time ed or if I worked more unsociable hours, as I am turning away business at the moment.

Some bits of advice - there are tons of personal trainers out there, but not that many good ones! Use your previous career experience and not just in the obvious ways, don't forget it can give you a real edge over some other PTs to be able to understand first hand what it's like to have a all consuming career that makes exercise very hard to fit in. Find your niche, your speciality. Scaling a PT business can be hard - I've managed other trainers and found it really hard, I found it difficult to 'lose control' of the training style. If another trainer is going to train clients under my brand, then I want it to have a consistent look and feel and that's really hard to monitor without a huge investment of time which is what you're usually trying to avoid by scaling your business in that way! I know that makes me sound like a control freak, but if it's your own business and reputation you really get protective. There is a limit to how many hours one person can be really physical (I try and be really participatory in my sessions as often find a client will do just about anything if you're doing it too) and you can't afford to get injured.

Hope that makes sense and doesn't sound like I've got my head up my arse. I just love my job!

June2009 Wed 01-Jun-11 22:56:16

thanks hatcam, it's always nice to have some inside info ;)
I have asked premier for some brochures I think, I've just not had the time to go through it yet.

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