Is a fitness-and-wellness career for you?

Is a fitness-and-wellness career for you?

Is there a future in the fitness and wellness industry? Can this be a career choice for graduating students, or even office workers or business owners who want to shift?

I started 2012 as a fitness professional giving physical wellness workshops and talks to students in Manila, Cebu and Baguio. The youth's growing interests in fitness and wellness made me realize the potential solution to helping prevent health problems like obesity, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

We need more future lifestyle and fitness professionals to avoid disease and work hand-in-hand with the medical community to battle a sedentary lifestyle, overeating and lifestyle diseases.

I have seen several local and foreign fitness professionals who are enjoying their chosen careers even after many years. After my own 12 years in this profession, I can see the advantages.

You feel more fulfilled learning and, at the same time, seeing the results in the life and health transformations of your clients. This will always help you maintain a positive attitude.

You keep growing because you're always looking for new ideas, latest findings and trends.

You will always have a healthy and active lifestyle, because you become an ambassador and role model for health and fitness.

You don't really feel like you are working. It feels more like fun and play because you exercise and communicate with different types of people everyday. There's more flexibility in your schedule, so you learn to manage your time well.

There are more opportunities now in wellness and fitness like personal training, group exercise teaching, lifestyle coaching, sports training, and weight management, and you can integrate everything to be able to create a more effective program for your clients.

Graduating college students might be confused about the kind of job that will fit their interests, qualifications and financial expectations. They may already have been enlightened by experts they have listened to during career talks, but how can our fitness and wellness industry help respond to their needs? Are there enough jobs waiting for new grads? How can someone start a fitness and wellness career?

Consider your education and relate that to the fitness industry. Any science, sports, nutrition and exercise-related college courses like physical therapy, nursing, nutrition and dietetics, and sports psychology can work. Business courses will also be helpful.

Practice what you preach

Find meaning and value in your chosen fitness job. You can endure the physical and psychological demands of the work for many years if you practice what you preach.

Educate yourself. Your college degree is not enough to survive, because you need constant updates to be able to serve well.

Be willing to work for free. Have the heart to help people embrace a healthy lifestyle, so always be open to give fitness demos and talks, write articles, and even television exposure, because your real intentions will shine through and you will be more effective in motivating people.

Always renew your passion. Do not stop trying new things so you always maintain your interest and avoid burnout. Talk to a fitness coach who can serve as your mentor as you start your journey.

Even older people with other jobs and businesses can shift to the wellness industry with passion, determination and education, and get their dream job. The fitness and wellness industry is continuously growing, and more and more opportunities await. But what skills, experience, and basic requirements do you need?

Personal trainer: Internationally recognized certifications like American Council on Exercise (ACE) or National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); basic instructor's courses offered by fitness centers; at least six months of experience as a fitness trainer

Group fitness instructor: Internationally recognized certifications like American Council on Exercise (ACE), Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), Les Mills; experience in teaching and attending classes

Specialty instructor (like yoga and Pilates): Specialty certifications like Stott Pilates (you should pass the exam after taking the course); practice and teaching hours

Lifestyle and/or weight management coach: Internationally recognized certifications like American Council on Exercise (ACE); courses in exercise, nutrition, psychology, being a qualified and experienced exercise professional

Sports coach: Sports and coaching-related course, related certifications and profession (like personal trainer)

Wellness consultant: Qualified fitness professional as mentioned above

Wellness and fitness ambassador or speaker: Enough years, qualifications, education, experience as a fitness professional

If your education is related to your chosen fitness career, then you will find it easier to start and progress. If you pursue advanced or graduate programs, you will have a greater advantage.

E-mail the author at mitchfelipe@gmail.com

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