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Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – email: healthclub@leisuremedia.com

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 1
More appreciation – and pay – for instructors
Ross Perriam, chief executive, EMDUK

Every year, it’s interesting to see the release of The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) worldwide survey of fitness trends, as it always triggers much debate and discussion.

While the usual suspects like HIIT training and wearable technology maintain their place on the list, it’s the inclusion of the ‘importance of employing certified fitness professionals’ which we feel is particularly significant.

Being the National Governing Body for group exercise, it’s obviously great to see Group Exercise flying high at number two, but this wouldn’t be there without correctly qualified instructors in place.

In our opinion, fitness instructors are the main reason that over three million more people are participating in group exercise than two years ago [1], by providing effective, motivating fitness sessions that keep those participants coming back.

We want to ensure that instructors are given the recognition and remuneration they deserve. Many are still paid similar rates to those paid to instructors in the 1990s, despite the pivotal role they play in retaining members for leading operators.

This is driving some to look at leaving the sector. The recent IHRSA European CEO Study Report showed a concern from European fitness leaders about operators in the industry being able to recruit and retain enough qualified staff.

"We want to ensure instructors are given the remuneration they deserve. Many are paid similar rates to those paid in the 1990s, despite the pivotal role they play in retaining members"

We're under no illusions; this recognition won't happen overnight, but this high-level acknowledgement of their efforts is a positive start to that journey.

[1] EMD UK (2018) - Group Exercise National Survey

Fitness instructors often don’t receive credit for the contribution they make to a club’s success PHOTO: IMAGE COURTESY OF MYZONE
PTs and boutique gyms can thrive side by side
Paul Swainson, head of PT, Future Fit Training

I read with interest James Balfour’s interview in HCM November/December 2018.

I’m a huge fan of the 1Rebel brand and the innovation it’s brought to the industry. I also have no doubt that 1Rebel members can get great results from attending classes regularly.

But I have to disagree with James’s belief that the market for personal training will decline as a result of the growth in boutique fitness.

He suggests personal trainers “will watch you do press ups for an hour and charge you £60”.

That’s a dated perception which has been on the wane for some time, and while there are still some PTs that perpetuate it by hoping to earn a living purely from supervising workouts in isolation, we now better appreciate the realities of what’s required to help people adopt healthy lifestyles and achieve results.

As a consequence, personal trainers that don’t change their approach will be – quite rightly – left behind.

“Will boutiques take market share from PTs? Yes, definitely, but will they trigger a significant decline in the demand for personal training? I don’t think so”

A quality PT will provide tailored exercise programmes, one-to-one coaching and support and will work on behaviour change to instill intrinsic motivation and increase adherence. They will also offer nutrition advice.

As great as a 45-minute indoor cycling class may be, can it provide all of the above? Can two, three or four classes a week do that? Even with eucalyptus-infused towels on offer? (I jest).

Granted 1Rebel instructors are fantastic, and could offer individual advice, guidance and motivation outside classes, but then we start to blur the lines between roles and services.

Trainers are shifting towards offering more experiences themselves. For example, the popularity of small group training classes is increasing as fitness professionals become more aware of the power of building a tribe mentality among their clients.

Will boutiques take market share from PTs? Yes, definitely, in the same way that online fitness media and conventional gym classes do.

But will they trigger a significant decline in the demand for personal training?

I don’t think so – it’s not that PTs are at risk, it’s more that the nature of the service will be redefined as the market evolves, driving a jump in professionalism, quality and skill that can only benefit the whole industry.

James Balfour said he believed the demand for personal training will decline as the boutique market grows IMAGE COURTESY OF 1REBEL
More appreciation – and pay – for instructors
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