Why did Fitness First recruit and train six call centre executives, before their launch in Delhi and Bombay?
Says Vikram Bhatia, CEO of Fitness First, “The best trainers need not necessarily have a body like that of Salman Khan. But they need to have the knowledge to make and advise Salman Khan. They should be good communicators and be able to give customers educated advice.”
Bhatia says that there is a dearth of qualified fitness instructors in India’s cities. “A shortage of manpower is the biggest challenge,” concurs Prashant Talwalkar, one of the promoters of Talwalkars, the oldest and largest fitness chain in the country. “But what I look for in a trainer is his appearance. Even if someone is an MBA, if he has a paunch, the client will not have confidence in him,” he says.
Both parties agree on one thing: the Rs 2,500 crore fitness field is set for exciting, exponential growth. As a result, professionals who used to be paid a pittance will command respectable salaries.
Perhaps for the first time, Talwalkars will pay a stipend to students selected for its course. “We will also provide boarding and lodging and absorb them. The education we provide will be of international standards and trainers will be brought in from England,” said Talwalkar. Is it a good field to get into? "A trainer will be able to make Rs 35,000 to Rs 50,000 a month,” he says.