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Fitness today is a very specialised field

A qualified teacher with MA and BEd degrees, Nisha Varma has turned her passion into a career

education Updated: May 22, 2012 14:54 IST
Rahat Bano

How did you become a fitness trainer?
My becoming a fitness trainer was by chance when I was in Paris. It was at that time that I decided to make my passion for fitness my profession. I started educating myself on the subject and started on. I must add that I have never regretted my decision.

Fitness today is a very specialised field and one needs to do basic certification courses to gain an edge.

Other than gyms and personal training what are the employment avenues for qualified fitness trainers?
Working in schools, physio clinics (after rehab is over), and opening ones place/studio or gym are some other options.

What's the latest trends in fitness training in India?
Personal training, small group classes, CrossFit and parkour are the latest. Gym and aerobics are and will always be popular.

How is the fitness training industry/fraternity evolving in India?
With international chains coming to India, the demand for trained instructors has increased. The profession is still in its nascent stage but professionalism and education will help the trainers a lot and people will soon opt for fitness training as a serious career option.

What are the pros and cons of a fitness trainer's work?
There's no stability in the job —lack of a steady income unless the trainers are hired by schools or government organisations.

What’s the average starting salary of a new fitness trainer?
The pay depends on the area/place they work in and the experience they have. A newcomer without experience can expect between Rs. 12,000-Rs. 15,000 per month in a gym for one shift, personal training - Rs. 750-Rs. 1,000 per hour, group classes between Rs. 400-Rs. 750 per hour class.

Tell us about your Reebok courses? How many people have you certified so far? Could you share the enrolment stats with us? Other than Reebok, where can aspirants train to become qualified fitness trainers?
Our basic certification course is of 80 hours spread over three months. The fee is Rs. 32,000. It teaches the science behind fitness training, floor and step aerobics, flexibility, injury prevention, diet, and body conditioning. We also have workshops for certified trainers. Costing Rs. 2,500-Rs. 3,000, these six-to eight-hour courses cover the topics such as Reebok circuit training, Reebok core training, Reebok martial arts, Reebok core pilates, Reebok flexible strength, Reebok rhythm section and several more.

Personal training, small group classes, CrossFit and parkour are the latest trends Nisha Varma, certified health and fitess specialist from the American College of Sports Medicine and a Reebok University master trainer

What’s it about
A fitness trainer is a person who creates and supervises the workout plan of clients helping them build muscle, tone their bodies, or control their weight. S/he performs exercises and asks the clients to imitate the movements. Fitness trainers can work in a host of different settings — from the gyms in luxury hotels, resorts, offices, neighbourhoods to clients’ homes as well as in schools. They can start their own facilities as well. Setting up a gym can cost Rs. 50 lakh to Rs. 1 crore just for the best equipment.
The concept of ‘celebrity trainers’ (who give individual training to top models/ film stars/ business honchos) is gaining ground.

The typical day of a fitness trainer
6am: Do a workout
7.30am: Train a client at his/her place
9.30am: Train a batch at the studio
Noon: Take some rest
1.30pm: Lunch
2.30pm: Meet prospective clients to discuss workout plans
5.30pm: Train the evening batch
5.30pm: Leave for the day

The pay
The salary of a fitness trainer in a gym ranges from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 25,000 a month but the income can go up to a few lakhs, though such trainers are very few in number

Skills/traits
* To begin with, be very health conscious and physically fit
* Have stamina
* Patience, because it takes time for the workout to show desired results and it’s a service industry
* Good inter-personal skills because clients require precise instructions
* A sound knowledge of human anatomy and kinesiology (science of human movement)

How to become a Fitness trainer
A certificate is not mandatory for finding work as a fitness trainer, but it is advisable to study the techniques in detail. As the market gets more crowded, a well-known certification course or a diploma programme in health and fitness boosts your chances of getting a job. After your career takes off, you should stay informed with the latest studies, journals and books.

Institutes
* Sports Authority of India www.sportsauthorityofindia.nic.in
* Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala
www.nsnis.org
* Reebok
http://www.reebok-raining.com
* Lakshmibai National University of Physical Education, Gwalior
www.lnipe.gov.in
* Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Science, University of Delhi
www.du.ac.in

Pros and cons
* You keep fit and enable others to do the same
* Strong potential in this field as people become increasingly health conscious
* Growing employment avenues
* It’s not a very stable job
* You meet the rich and famous; can earn name and fame as a celeb trainer
* Work requires you to keep yourself in ship shape and up-to-date with the latest developments in the field

Coordinated by Rahat Bano