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Teaching others to be fit

Being a fitness trainer can be a viable career option for those looking to pursue their gyming passions

BY TEAM B&C

The fitness bug is quickly spreading among today’s generation. “Looking good” and “being fit” is now the in thing, as exercising is known to be “preventive medicine”. This is why the fitness industry as a whole in Goa is buzzing with numerous outlets mushrooming everywhere. And where there are gyms there will always be a need for gym trainers.

Fitness in itself is a science, which is why proper guidance from a qualified gym trainer is a must. The fitness scenario is constantly evolving. So it’s important to know the basics. Different exercises and techniques can act differently for individuals. However, in Goa, finding qualified trainers is a task in itself.

“In general, Goans are not interested in fitness. So I am forced hire people from outside the state. Moreover, fitness is looked upon as a serious profession as compared to other parts of India. It is physically demanding. Trainers must have the push, motivation and determination, and this is hard work. So instead, our youth want easy money and prefer going abroad or seeking government jobs which is a sedentary desk job,” says Norbert D’souza, proprietor of Norbert’s chain of gyms.

D’souza says he hires greenhorns who are more inclined towards sports and physical fitness. They are then trained them as per their programmes and exercises. For 2-3 months, these guys are taught correct techniques, hands-on training, free-hand training, weight training, advanced exercises, among others. Then they are allotted clients, but a shadow trainer is also present to correct any of their mistakes. Finally, before giving them an independent charge they are made to undergo 28 days of boot-camp endurance training.

George Rego, who is a gym trainer at Porvorim, says that being in this profession is tough. He points outs that there is no scope in Goa for those wanting to make it a career option as remuneration is not adequate. In addition, maintaining a muscular build can be expensive as a lot of supplementation is required to gain a good looking physique.

“There are a lot of opportunities outside the state like in the metros where one can get a decent salary. One can also earn more by becoming personal trainers,” says Rego who is a four-time Mr Goa winner and has also won 14 other competitions including the ‘Champions of Champions’ title.

When it comes to personal training, one can’t expect to start making a living off of it right away. It’s one of those things where one has to build his/her reputation before actually making good money. A personal trainer can charge anywhere from Rs 4,000- 15,000 for 15-20 personal training sessions per month depending on reputation. In big chains, one can earn Rs 6,000 – 10,000. But it’s always recommended to be certified. Certification is valid for two years and has to be renewed.

“It is imperative that one keeps up with the latest trends in fitness if you want to be ahead in your profession. And I ensure this by regularly upgrading the skills of my staff. We bring a legitimate fitness coach from Mumbai to impart the latest trends in fitness techniques,” informs D’souza.

Personal trainers can become certified by successfully completing a Certified Personal Trainer exam offered by various organisations. The duration of the certification course is 6 months to 1 year and costs around Rs 35,000 – 80,000. India BFY, Kalbadevi Mumbai offers a wide range of fitness courses. It also conducts regular workshops and courses on fitness that includes theory as well as practical aspects of fitness. Trainers can later take up international certifications offered through organisations such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), American Council of Exercise (ACE) or International Sports Science Association Certification (ISSA). These are all correspondence courses that are conducted by BFY in India. The trainer being CPR-certified is mandatory for answering these courses.

Talking about his own experience, D’souza informs that he has been in this industry for the last 16 years. He quit his banking job to get into it full time. “At that time, people called me a fool to leave a well-secured job to move into this business. Compared to the scenario 15 years ago, career paths in the fitness industry today are now better defined and therefore easier to pursue. While full-time positions in fitness used to be scarce, today a lot of individuals have taken up fitness as a full time career in personal training, club management and programming. In fact, it is perhaps the most promising time to be entering the fitness industry because of how far and how fast it has developed. When I first started doing personal training, it was a new term. No one saw it as a legitimate career back then. Now there are endless permutations to a career in fitness like group exercise, personal training, programming/fitness management, club ownership, etc”

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