Written on the 26 March 2015 by Jenna Rathbone


AS MORE Gold Coast fitness buffs turn to personal training for a career path, they have been warned that it takes more than muscle to maintain a viable future in the industry.

CEO of the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers (AIPT) Adam Jacobs (pictured below) says the greatest deficiency in the crowded fitness market is a lack of business nous.

"People come out of their training with a great understanding of the anatomy and physiology but have no idea to run a business, and we are now seeing a high rate of turnover in the industry," says Jacobs.

"We are looking to combat this issue and increase the longevity of personal trainers in the industry.

"We are doing this by providing them with business skills - how to market yourself, understanding how to read a balance sheet and profit and loss statement. These are key skills that are required in order to run a fitness business once you are qualified.

"You will eventually disappear (from the industry) if you do not have the additional level of business knowledge that differentiates yourself and keeps you ahead of the rest."

Jacobs says this shift in thinking has come as the industry moves away from the full-time employee model to the majority of gyms and big chains adopting an "independent business operator" model.

"This means that personal trainers have to pay rental space of the facility and then they have to run their own business, generating their own clients and making sure the revenue comes in," he says.

A report by IbisWorld suggests the fitness industry is estimated to be worth $1.31 billion nationally in 2014-15, after growing at a compound annual rate of 3.3 per cent over the past five years.

Rising health consciousness and obesity levels drive strong growth in the fitness industry with the market growing by 8.7 per cent between 2010 and 2015.

TV shows such as The Biggest Loser also demonstrate the achievement of weight loss goals and improved fitness levels, providing an incentive for consumers and personal trainers.

"As people become more educated around the benefits of being healthy and fit, this increases the demand for personal trainers and fitness activities," says Jacobs.

He says the Gold Coast boasts a thriving "fitness culture" and describes it as a "very big market".

This has prompted AIPT to extend its services to the Gold Coast with a program of face-to-face education for the local industry.

"A lot of other providers would make you do purely an online course or you would have to travel a number of hours to major capital cities. So we thought that, instead of making people on the Gold Coast travel to Brisbane, we would come to them," he says.

"The Gold Coast has a very nice fitness culture - it is a beach city and people are always out and about and active so there is good demand, hence the reason we came across."

Established in 1999, AIPT started with 21 campuses and has grown to boost more than 100 locations nationwide with close to 250 mentors who provide one-on-one training for students.

Author: Jenna Rathbone
About: Jenna Rathbone is a Queensland-based journalist who writes on a range of issues including business and property affairs and social issues.
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