We recently caught up with Ashleigh Hall,
Director of Physical IQ, who has been involved in fitness education for close on the last two decades, and asked him about the South African Fitness industry and opportunities for new Trainers now:
Physical IQ: Ashleigh, you have worked in the UK, Australia and South Africa as a Fitness professional, how much has the industry changed in the last 15 or 20 years?
Ashleigh: ‘’Let’s not even talk 15 years, the industry has changed drastically in the last 5 to 10 years! The stats speak for themselves, there are more commercial and standalone gyms every year, and it doesn’t seem like the industry is slowing down. Whereas in the past people talked about getting a job in fitness, the fitness industry is now seen as a lucrative career.’’
Physical IQ: That’s interesting. How has the industry itself changed?
Ashleigh: ‘’Well, whereas ten years ago gym users were limited to using machine equipment and attending aerobics classes, we now have a wide variety of styles of fitness training and group exercise formats. More recently what has been great is that due to a shift towards more functional training, Personal trainers (PT’s) no longer need big capital to buy equipment when starting out. Bootcamps, training clients at home and using private facilities are examples of low risk avenues for starting out and earning from the get-go. Most of the larger gyms understand the personal training market quite well, and have some great franchise opportunities which allow PT’s to grow a client base steadily without big risk to start out.’’
Physical IQ: So, other than Personal training what other options are there for someone interested in Fitness?
Ashleigh: ‘’Wow, well let’s see. I guess it depends on where your skill set lies. Other than working as a PT, one can look at getting involved in Management. Most companies have positions such as Group Exercise Managers, Fitness Managers, Gym Managers, Operations Managers. Even Sales and marketing if that’s your thing. One can specialize in sports conditioning, start your own gym, get involved in fitness retail or find a niche area of fitness like working with special populations. Oh, and travelling! I managed to see the world with fitness! There aren’t too many places in the world that don’t have gyms, and it’s way better than working in a pub! Have a look at our careers section on the website, especially the international links and you will see just how many jobs there are out there.’’
Physical IQ: Ok, so why the fitness industry now?
Ashleigh: ‘’I think that you want to establish a name in the industry whilst the worldwide industry is growing. Once you have a good reputation and are established, you aren’t going to look back. I believe everyone should be exercising, and with a change in socio-cultural views towards health and exercise, I believe that the fitness industry can only grow in South Africa! The best scenario is to join a new gym and be one of the first PT’s in that gym. Having said that, if you look at Personal Trainer to client ratios in our gyms, we are well below international norms, and most of our established gyms still have relatively low numbers of Personal trainers. To give you an example, in an established large gym with 15 Personal Trainers, usually around 8000 to 10 000 members, we have a ratio of 667 members per Personal Trainer. You only really need 10 regular clients to have a very lucrative business, so the opportunity is there! And that’s just the gyms. I know PT’s running bootcamps charging R50-R60 per person per session and getting 50+ people per session. You do the sums!
Physical IQ: So what you are saying, is there is no better time than now?!