COVID-19: Coping Strategies And Business Tips For Fitness Trainers, Coaches And Instructors

May 16, 2020
Image of COVID-19 coronaviruses under a microscope

In recent months, the fitness industry has been turn upside-down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not only have gyms, fitness studios and workout facilities been mostly shut-down by governments around the world, many personal trainers, fitness instructors and exercise coaches also find themselves suddenly in a limbo, with quite a number finding themselves out of jobs in a blink of an eye.

Short of giving up in desperation and wallowing in self-pity, what CAN fitness professionals do in this unprecedented period of doom and gloom?

The following are some useful tips and strategies that trainers and coaches who wish to rise and shine despite these trying times could tap upon:

Innovate To Survive

To ensure business survival during this pandemic, innovation is key. Since most face-to-face, in-person interactions are no longer feasible during this period, trainers and coaches should make an effort to explore new and novel ways to serve their clients. Taking fitness workouts ONLINE would be a good example of working around the current restrictions. Modern technology utilizing live-streaming apps (think Zoom, Skype, Hangouts etc) and even more conventional ones like emails, SMSes and phone calls – would allow you to connect with your clients while keeping your business going at the same time. For those of you who may need assistance in the areas of innovation, ideas generation or even business re-structuring, this is also a good time to consider consulting with a fitness mentor to help you through this period.

Upgrade Yourself

This period of lock-down is also a great opportunity for all fitness professionals to UPGRADE themselves so as to enhance their credentials and reputation in the long run. For instance, you could use this period to study for a specialized/advanced fitness credential, attend online masterclasses and webinars, or keep yourself relevant and updated by reading industry journals, research articles and other fitness publications. Whatever you do, keep BETTERING yourself with an eye on the future!

Continue Marketing Your Services

The BIGGEST mistake that most fitness professionals make during a downturn in economy is to stop marketing their businesses. Instead, this should be the BEST time to ramp-up your marketing efforts when the rest of the competition is still sitting on the fence or have fallen by the way-side. By doing so, you’ll be giving yourself a HEAD START over the others when the economy picks up again! Whether your choice of social media marketing is YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or simply a matter of enhancing and increasing your fitness profile on the web, or via email marketing, or even just starting a fitness blog to share tips on training, exercise and nutrition, the rule of thumb is this: Keep On Marketing and Stay VISIBLE!

Work On Your Own Fitness

This lock-down period is also a wonderful opportunity for trainers and instructors to focus on YOURSELVES for a change. Too often, our own fitness take a backseat when times are good and our day-to-day lives revolve predominantly around our clients. Make use of this extra time on hand to prioritize your own fitness and exercise regime, experiment with new workout approaches, or even join in the fun as a participant in other trainers’ virtual exercise classes!

Maintain Your Fitness Equipment

Another great investment you can make in your own fitness business during this period is to do some maintenance work on your fitness gear. As simple as it sounds, it is one of the most IMPORTANT things that you can do for your fitness business. If you own a private gym, give it a proper clean-up and sanitization from top to bottom, with particular attention to high-touch areas. If you have carry-along fitness tools like resistance bands, ropes, medicine balls, gloves etc, give them a good wipe-down (and a dose of disinfection) too!

Connect With Other Fitness Pros

Connecting and interacting with other fellow fitness pros in the industry during this period can truly be a life-changing experience for many of us! There is so much that we can learn from one another during this period, from how to re-align our fitness businesses in order to survive, to exchanging tips and strategies on client attraction and retention, to swapping ideas on the latest technology to use in our coaching and training.

Prepare For A New Start

Like all other pandemics, this COVID-19 scourge WILL eventually die away. The question to ask ourselves is: when its end comes, are we ready for a NEW start? Are we poised to seize the new opportunities around us?

Consider this: in the post-COVID-19 world, people – more than ever before – will be extra cautious when it comes to working-out in environments that have a potential of attracting large crowds and big groups. This in turn may have wide-ranging implications on businesses such as big-box gyms, group training facilities and workout studios.

As a result, Private Home Personal Training Services may be poised for a BIG jump to the top of the fitness chain in the very near future. If this is the case, are you ready to grab hold of this opportunity and be willing to be re-trained and re-deployed as a mobile or home personal trainer instead?

If anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us one thing: Life is unpredictable.

Rather than to take for granted that things will always go smoothly or as planned, we need to assume that CHANGE is now the new constant.

Fortunately, the above tips, strategies and guidelines will offer us all a way of successfully navigating through this brave, new world that we live in now.


Want To Be A Personal Trainer Or Fitness Coach? Consider These First …

February 3, 2020

You LOVE fitness. In fact, you eat, live and breathe fitness.

What’s more, you love spotting and assisting anyone who needs help in the gym, you freely give exercise pointers and fitness advice to those around you, and you generously dish out dietary guidelines and recommendations to your colleagues, friends and family members on a regular basis.

Maybe – just maybe – it’s time to start a career as a Personal Trainer or a Fitness Coach.

Well, not so fast.

Before you take the plunge, do bear in mind that as rewarding and glamorous as it may sound,  a personal training career or a fitness coaching profession is definitely NO bed of roses, and is NOT for everyone.

Prior to committing yourself, you may want to take into account the following considerations first:

1. It’s A Proper Profession, NOT A Hobby

The majority of personal trainers who do NOT make it in the industry are those who inadvertently view and treat personal training more like a hobby or a part-time gig.

They fail to respect it as a proper profession and, hence do not put in the required time, effort nor commitment to learn and understand the intricacies involved, and hence, FAIL to make it work.

Rick Wong, a Master Trainer and Senior Exercise Consultant – who has been a veteran in the fitness industry for over 20 years – has this to say: “If you wand to succeed in the personal training business, you have to be willing to put in 110% effort and time to learn all you can and do all you can to make it work! There are simply NO shortcuts!” 

2. It’s Going To Be An Incredibly Busy And Hectic Life

Many successful and in-demand personal trainers are practically up at the crack of dawn and don’t get to bed often till close to midnight.

Client sessions are more often than not stacked back-to-back, and meals are frequently snatched on-the-go.

Add to these time needed for lesson preparations, equipment maintenance, client marketing, answering emails, and tons of other nitty-gritty stuff, it’s really not hard to see that personal trainers have their hands FULL most of  the time!

3. Your Income Is Going To Vary And Fluctuate Greatly

Unlike most other professions where you’re paid a fixed monthly salary, freelance/independent personal trainers are being paid only for each session’s worth of coaching.

In other words, any time that you’re not training/coaching, you’re basically NOT making any money at all.

Likewise, if you’re ill, on vacation, accompanying your aged parents for  hospital check-ups, attending your child’s school events, or even if your clients are away on business trips, you will have practically ZERO dollars coming into your account for that period.

“The way around this is to actually expect these fluctuations, and to plan ahead for any contingencies” says Rick, who authored the manual “Succeed As A Home Personal Trainer”. “Like it or not, sooner or later, these things are bound to happen. So it’s always better to be mentally prepared and have some form of financial buffer in place”.

4. Passion By Itself Is NOT Going To Be Enough

Jumping into the fitness business mindlessly and purely by passion itself has been the No.1 KILLER of numerous fledgling personal trainer careers around the world.

Simply put: too many trainers and coaches still believe the HYPE that – passion by itself – is sufficient to help them succeed!

Unfortunately, the hard truth is that passion alone is NEVER going to be enough.

Without learning and embracing  a whole host of other competencies, such as: people skills, business management skills, networking skills, organizational know-how, sales-and-marketing knack etc etc , it will be almost impossible for a personal trainer to succeed in the industry.

5. You Need To Keep On Learning And Learning

Fitness, exercise and nutrition are all fields that are constantly evolving with time.

As such, in order to keep yourself ahead and to remain competitive, you will need to have a mindset that embraces continuous learning and constant upgrading.

This means being prepared to invest time, money and energy into relevant courses, seminars, workshops, conferences, webinars, online learning etc throughout your career as a personal trainer or fitness coach.

There Will Be Disappointments And Heartaches

Regardless how much time and effort you put in, and how good you think you are, there will be times when things simply do NOT work out. Like it or not.

There are always going to be clients who will not be willing to put in the required time and effort to make the necessary changes to their health/fitness, those who cast aspersions on you and judge you unfairly, those who lack appreciation for all that you have done for them, or even those who leave you for another trainer/coach for no apparent reason!

Not to mention all the other times when you have to put up with your clients’ excuses, complaints, bias, prejudices and idiosyncrasies.

Life indeed can be TOUGH  for the personal trainer … but …

End Of The Day, It’s Still A Wonderfully Rewarding Job!

Yes, despite all the above, being a Personal Trainer or Fitness Coach puts you in a privileged position to help others improve their health, fitness, well-being and lives.

This in itself is already tremendously rewarding and satisfying.

” I have NEVER ever regretted becoming a personal trainer. Being able to see the DIFFERENCE that I have made in my clients’ lives is more than enough to keep me going – day after day, week after week, year after year.” Rick shares as he crosses his 20th year as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Coach in Singapore.

If you think you have what it takes as well, take a leap of faith today.

It may be the very change that you – and the rest of the world  – need at this point in time.


What A Paid Fitness Session Should NOT Be

June 7, 2018

image of a personal trainer with a clientPaid fitness coaching or chargeable workout sessions led by professional fitness trainers or career exercise coaches have been on the rise in Singapore and many parts of the developed world since the last decade.

Whether these sessions are conducted on a one-to-one basis – as in Personalized Coaching, or in small groups of  5-8 as in Small Group Training, or in larger groups consisting of more than 10 individuals – as in Group Exercise Classes, many individuals today have no qualms forking out money for these instructor-led fitness sessions in the name of better health and enhanced fitness.

However, are these sessions really WORTH the money that you’re paying up for?

And are you really doing your health and fitness any good in the long run – just because you are PAYING up for these services?

How do you know you’re NOT merely being taken for a ride and having every single cent of your hard-earned money ripped off or flushed down the drain?

The following will give you some ideas on how to SIEVE out the real deal from the pretenders, and make sure that you’re really getting your money’s worth for every cent that you pay up for these fitness services.

A) A Paid Fitness Session Should NOT Be A Superficial Workout That Only Makes You Huff-&-Puff.

Within the fitness industry, there are always going to be some trainers whose main goal seems to be nothing more than simply make their clients huff, puff and sweat – all in the name of exercise – with pretty little regard to structure, education nor science involved in their exercise program design.

These trainers somehow feel that if they can leave their clients in a sweaty mess by the end of the workout – by whatever means – they have done a Great Job! And so – to them – all systems go!

And unfortunately, their unsuspecting clients often also go along with the plan, having absolutely NO idea what they are doing, blindly following what their trainers or coaches ask them to do, deluding themselves into thinking that they had a great workout – simply because they had exerted themselves!!

Any credible fitness authority can tell you that Exertion/Effort (or amount of perspiration, as a matter of fact!!) does NOT necessarily equate Progress nor Results nor an indication of Proper or Scientific Exercise Programming!

What you – as a client – should be looking out for in a credible paid fitness program are: sound scientific programming, proper exercise sequence, structure & format, clearly-delineated objectives/goals, exercise suitability, appropriate level of intensity and a focus on fitness education in mind!

The main purpose of any fitness program should NEVER be just to make you huff and puff (and sweat), but to address and resolve the very fitness needs that you – as the client – have.

B)  A Paid Fitness Session Should NOT Be A Socializing Event

Is the bulk of your fitness session spent chatting and gossiping with your trainer about the latest celebrity news, fashion design, stock market movement or even the newest fitness fad??

If so, you are merely flushing your money down the drain!

Make sure that any talking or conversations conducted during your fitness sessions are related ONLY to: the session itself, the exercises/drills/movements that you are doing, your fitness progress or general well-being, and/or other related factors pertaining to your fitness goals!

Anything else besides the above – is just a WASTE of time – and can wait until AFTER the session itself!

C) A Paid Fitness Session Should NOT Be A Marketing/Advertising Gig

Is your trainer or coach more interested in marketing to you the latest “must-have” supplement, powder, gel, gear or gadget out in the market, rather than focusing on your fitness session itself?

Is he/she always selling you the idea that you can only “Build Muscle”, “Burn Fat” or “hit the next level” of your fitness progress – only and only – after you have purchased any of the above “must-haves” from him/her?

If so, our advice to you is this: DROP your trainer or coach now, and start looking for a NEW one immediately!

The sad truth in the fitness industry is: many trainers are actually padding up their training income with lucrative cuts/commissions from peddling “health/fitness products” to their clients.

Many have no qualms selling you the “benefits” of such products even if they have absolutely NO idea what these products are all about, or whether these products have actually been scientifically-proven to work, or if they are suitable or necessary to their clients’ needs, or worse, if they have any dangerous side-effects!

So consumers, BEWARE!!!

D) Conclusion

With the current interest and trend towards paid exercise sessions increasing by leaps and bounds across the world – and to a very large extent – even here in our very own affluent state of Singapore, it pays to be EXTRA careful when it comes to dishing out your money for these fitness services.

Hopefully, after reading the above article, you will now know the appropriate course of action for your health, fitness, and of course, your pockets.

 


Why Fitness Directory Listings Are Important For Personal Trainers

March 28, 2016

Image of search engines that crawl fitness directoriesTalk to most Personal Trainers and Fitness Professionals here in Singapore, and you’ll tend to get the idea that Fitness Marketing to them involves nothing more than the usual suspects: updating and populating their Facebook/Twitter/Instagram accounts from time-to-time, writing a few random Blog Posts when they are in the mood, paying up for the occasional Classified Ads, or perhaps even running costly Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns periodically to attract clients.

Not that the above aren’t useful – they are – especially when executed in a strategic, timely and prudent manner.

However, the ONE area that too many fitness professionals and personal trainers are missing out on is Directory Listing.

With statistics showing that as many as 8 out of 10 people use Online Directories (source: Burke) to search and research for business services, it would take an extremely FOOLHARDY (or ignorant) person to ignore the POWER and REACH of the online directory.

For the Fitness Pro who wants to position himself/herself at the FOREFRONT of the fitness market, being listed in a Local Fitness Directory should be one of the FIRST steps that that he/she takes.

And there are more compelling reasons to do so ……..

A) Credibility

Being found in a fitness directory adds tons of CREDIBILITY to your name. It signifies that you are accepted and recognized within your business community as a bona-fide business. In turn, this raises the ‘Trust Factor’ among potential clients who will tend to take your business much more positively and seriously than any other random entry on the Web.

B) Branding

A directory listing also enables you to create your own unique and consistent brand throughout the Web. By drawing attention to your strengths and areas of expertise via your listing description, you can DIFFERENTIATE yourself from the rest of the competition and brand yourself as the Go-To Expert in your particular niche – whether it is fat loss, muscle-building, strength-&-conditioning etc.

C) Findability

Being listed in a directory also greatly increases your chances of Being Found on the Web. Most major search engines – such as Google, Yahoo, MSN etc – simply love crawling and indexing business directories. As such, fitness directories usually rank pretty HIGH in search results. This in turn translates to greater online visibility and web traffic for your personal training business.

The above are just some of the many benefits of listing your fitness business in a Local Fitness Directory.

So if you’re a Personal Trainer or Fitness Professional who is looking for an effective strategy to GROW your business, make sure that listing in a directory is one of your TOP priorities.


Engaging A Fitness Trainer/Coach – Are You Taking a Big RISK?

August 14, 2015

Picture of fitness providerWith Singapore fast emerging as a major Fitness Hub in the world, it is no surprise therefore to see a corresponding jump in the number and variety of exercise trends emerging in our fitness landscape.

As of today, practically all kinds of fitness and exercise-related services could be found in our little island-state: ranging from the common: private personal training, group aerobics, fitness boot camps etc; to the weird and exotic: anti-gravity classes, animal movement-based exercises, hybrid workouts, extreme calisthenics etc. All co-existing pretty much side-by-side and offering the Public a mouth-watering buffet of fitness options.

And with this slew of choices, many people are also now open to the idea of sourcing for and engaging their very own private fitness provider, individual coach and/or personal trainer to lead them and their loved ones in the workout of their choice.

And herein lies the DANGER.

For with the increase in popularity and demand for fitness providers, and a corresponding SURGE in the numbers of such instructors and coaches in recent years, questions have been raised about the QUALITY of these personnel working in the industry.

Add to that, quite a few HORROR stories have been emerging of trainers/coaches who have been a great DIS-SERVICE to their clients in one way or another and who, in the process, have TARNISHED the fitness industry with their UN-PROFESSIONALISM (think: trainers from HELL!!).

To help consumers reduce their RISK of engaging a provider with questionable credentials and/or intentions, we – at Singapore Fitness Professionals Network – have come up with the following CHECKLIST that would serve as a useful guide to all consumers.

Do use it to SCREEN all your potential coaches, instructors and trainers:

Fitness Provider Checklist:

 A. Professional Qualifications & Certifications

  • What are the qualifications that the trainer/coach/instructor possess?
  • Are these qualifications/certifications from reputable and recognized institutions/organizations?
  • Is there a way to verify if they are genuine and valid?
  • How many of these qualifications indicate advanced/specialized skills attainment?
  • Does the provider possess a specific certification/qualification that caters to your own unique situation or condition (medical or otherwise)
  • How often do these qualifications have to be renewed and what is the process involved?
  • How often does the provider attend upgrading and/or continuing education courses? When was the last time he/she attended one?
  • How thorough is the entire certification/education process? (Is it attained via online/on-site/correspondence? Does it take a 12 months/3 months/1 week /1 weekend/1-day to complete?)

B. Relevant Experience

  • How many years of coaching experience does the trainer/coach/instructor has?
  • Are these years of experiences formally clocked-in and tracked?
  • How diverse and sustained were these coaching experiences?
  • Is there a way to verify and validate the authenticity of all these coaching experiences?
  • Are these coaching experiences relevant and specific to your goals, needs, age and/or medical conditions?

C. Client References/Testimonials

  • Does the provider offer testimonials, references and other social proof?
  • Are the testimonials comprehensive and diverse in nature?
  • Are there ways to verify if these testimonials are genuine and unadulterated?

D. Individual & Personality Characteristics

  • Does your provider show pride in appearance and attire?
  • Does he/she come across as positive and enthusiastic?
  • Is he/she pleasant, respectful and non-judgmental?
  • Does he/she give you the impression of someone who is well-organized and well-prepared?
  • Does he/she come across as mature, dependable and trustworthy?
  • Does he/she demonstrate competence and knowledge in the required subject area?
  • Does he/she have a good and fluent command of the language you use?
  • Does he/she exhibit good overall communication skills?
  • Do you feel comfortable opening-up and talking with him/her about your health/fitness issues?
  • Do you find it easy to strike up a rapport with him/her?
  • Finally, does your fitness provider look the part? (think: “walking the walk”)

These and more are the questions that EVERYONE should be asking himself/herself before committing to any paid fitness regime.

If your provider ticks 90% or more of the above boxes, then – CONGRATULATIONS – you got yourself an AWESOME trainer!

However, if it’s more misses than hits, then perhaps it’s better for you to reconsider your choice and look elsewhere!


Ethical Issues Within The Singapore Fitness Industry

September 23, 2014

Image of a group of fitness professionalsWith the growth and development of the fitness industry in Singapore, the concept of ethical integrity has taken on greater significance – especially in the context of a Trainer-Client Relationship.

Even as the majority of fitness/wellness professionals do seem to uphold a high level of ethical behaviour here in Singapore, there is an alarming trend of individual trainers or instructors who are increasingly toeing the line of what constitutes proper ethical behaviour in the industry.

From our observations and on-the-grounds feedback from trainers and the General Public alike, the following ethical issues seem to be of particular concern:

  1. Business Procedures
  2. Professional Boundaries
  3. Education & Certifications
  4. Client Confidentiality
  5. Supplement Sales

Let’s look at each in turn.

A. General Business Procedures

Just like all other businesses, fitness/wellness professionals are expected to conduct their businesses ethically and professionally. Sound business practices and protocols should be adhered to at ALL times. Unfortunately, in real life, this is not often the case. Incidents such as: inaccurate/false service representations, improper dressing code, poor service attitude, and even haphazard payment and billing procedures etc seem quite the norm. Fitness/Wellness Professionals must be reminded the onus is on them to conduct themselves professionally, truthfully and with utmost integrity at all times, especially when it comes to day-to-day business procedures.

B. Professional Boundaries

The relationship between a fitness/wellness professional and his/her client has to remain professional at ALL times. Boundaries have to be drawn to prevent this relationship from veering into ‘dangerous waters’. In Singapore, there have been reported cases of inappropriate behaviours – usually of a romantic or sexual nature – occurring between trainers and clients. These incidents – though few and far between – still prove that more can be done by trainers and coaches to uphold their professionalism in EACH and EVERY situation in order to avoid such unwanted incidents from happening.

C. Education & Certifications

It is the professional responsibility of all fitness/wellness professionals to obtain and maintain the relevant fitness certifications and qualifications needed for their respective areas of service and expertise. Unfortunately, some coaches and instructors FAIL to exhibit this basic professional responsibility and choose to either 1) wilfully provide services and advice despite being NOT qualified or certified to do so, and/or 2) allowing their certifications to lapse BEYOND their expiry/renewal dates. Such incidents of providing services outside one’s scope of practice, and using out-dated or expired certifications – threaten to bring the fitness industry here in Singapore into disrepute.

D. Client Confidentiality

All fitness/wellness professionals have an unspoken responsibility to treat their clients’ personal information and records with utmost confidentiality and privacy. However, in reality, here in Singapore, some trainers are known – especially during informal discussions and/or social settings – to indulge in ‘loose talk’ and openly gossip, share and divulge private information pertaining to their clients one to another – whether knowingly or unknowingly. Such behaviors cannot be condoned, and should be consciously abstained from in order to upkeep the professional image of the industry.

E. Supplement Sales

In the Singapore Fitness Industry, it is not unheard-of for some trainers to actually pocket MORE income from supplement and product sales than from actual training/coaching sessions. As the supplement industry is far from being well-regulated, and more often than not characterized by misleading, unsubstantiated, and even false claims, serious and bona fide fitness professionals are well-advised to steer clear from the temptation of monetizing from the sales and commissions from health supplements.

In summary, as the fitness industry continues its path to growth and maturity in Singapore, the onus lies on all current health/fitness professionals, as well as those contemplating and/or embarking on a career in fitness, health and exercise conditioning – to take a brave stand, and to be counted upon to uphold the highest level of professionalism and ethical conduct in all their dealings with the public and with their clients.


2014 Fitness Trends In Singapore

February 27, 2014

Image of a fitness session in progress.Fitness is, and has continued through the last couple of years, to be an ever-growing phenomenon here in Singapore.

With more and more people embracing the health fitness lifestyle here, coupled with the ever-increasing proliferation of fitness chains, commercial and private fitness facilities, small boutique studios, and even converted warehouse (read “hardcore”) gyms, it is no surprise that as we enter year 2014,  a number of interesting new trends pertaining to the Singapore fitness industry have emerged.

Our sources close to the ground have identified a number of key emerging trends that are worth noticing – especially for fitness coaches, personal trainers and exercise professionals – who would like to keep abreast of the latest developments in their industry and country.

The following are some of the fitness trends that would possibly have a huge impact on our local fitness industry for year 2014 and beyond (in no particular order of significance):

1) Small Group Training

Unlike both personal training (where coaching is done 1-to-1) and group exercise classes – which include aerobics, dance and yoga classes as well as fitness boot camps (where class size could easily exceed 20), small group training focuses on participants ranging from 2 to usually 5 or 6, and hardly, if ever, exceeding 8. This format allows the trainer to tailor both short-term programs and specialized workouts to cater to specific population groups. As a trend, it is indeed growing in Singapore – as seen in the sheer number of small group workout programs available in both private facilities as well as those conducted in public venues throughout the island.

2) Outdoor Fitness Workouts

Another trend that is on the rise is outdoor fitness training. With Nature and its surrounding greenery just a stone’s throw away from most homes here in Singapore, more and more people are now ditching the 4 walls and stale air of indoor gyms for the Bright Sun, Fresh Air and Cool Breeze of  outdoor environments. Go to any public park, beach or open stadium in Singapore – especially during the early morning hours and the late evenings – and the sheer number of people working-out outdoors easily verifies the above observation.

3) Minimalistic Training Approach

Think body-weight exercises, suspension training, home workouts etc – and you will have got the gist of what minimalistic training is all about. In essence – minimalistic fitness – as its name implies – means getting into great shape and developing superb fitness – with little or no equipment. Contrary to popular belief, it is indeed POSSIBLE to achieve one’s fitness goals with just one’s own body weight and surrounding environment. And this trend is indeed taking the nation of Singapore by storm, as more and more individuals and fitness enthusiasts are now shunning gym machines and turning to minimalistic training for their fitness kicks.

4) Medical Fitness & Corrective Exercise Programs

With modernization and technological advances come along inactivity and sedentariness. And none so more apparent than in our tiny little island-state of Singapore where a large majority of people are leading not only sedentary lifestyles, but also developing accompanying disorders such as medical ailments, metabolic dysfunctions and other physical and musculoskeletal impairments as a direct result of their sedentary lifestyle choices. Thus, it is not surprising that new fitness sub-disciplines – that of medical fitness and corrective exercise – have emerged and mushroomed to cater to the growing demand and needs of this specific group of population who are facing immense medical and physical challenges.

5) Specialized Age-Related Fitness Programs

With a wide range and diversity of age groups among the Singapore population, specialized fitness programs catering to each of this group have also emerged and continued to grow over the years. Some of this age-related programs, such as those specifically catering to Kids Fitness, Youth/Teen Fitness, and Older Adults/Senior Fitness are rapidly gaining traction and popularity here in the country.

Conclusion

The above 5 fitness trends are by NO means the only ones observed here in Singapore. Obviously, there are also others that have, or are beginning, to emerge too.

However, in our opinion, they (the above-mentioned) are probably some of the MORE significant ones to have taken hold of our little island-state in recent times.

Of course, it remains to be seen – down the road – how many of them will actually continue to grow, lay their roots and make their mark here in the local fitness industry.


Hiring The Right Fitness Provider In Singapore

November 11, 2013

Image of a fitness specialistWith the growth and expansion of the fitness industry in Singapore, more and more people are now turning to professional fitness providers to meet their various fitness needs.

And with the wide variety of fitness professionals available in this country, each specializing in a specific fitness niche, it can be quite overwhelming and even confusing for the average consumer to decide which kind of fitness professional to turn to for his/her fitness needs.

Just as you would not turn to a dentist for a stomach ailment, nor a doctor for a gum problem, it is crucial that you do NOT end up with the WRONG fitness provider for your fitness needs.

Not only would it be a pure waste of your money and time if you do so, but also almost a sure bet that you would hardly see any progress – if any – in the health/fitness area that you are seeking help for.

Therefore, BEFORE you engage a fitness provider, make sure you run through the following checklist to make sure that you get the RIGHT match for your fitness needs.

A point to note also before we present the checklist:

You may come across certain fitness professionals who claim they are able to meet ANY and EVERY of your fitness need that you have – from correcting your posture, to overhauling your diet, to even providing you with needling/acupuncture/body massage/sports apparel/fitness equipment/supplement sales services etc etc!

As good as this may sound, BEWARE of these everything-goes “Jack-Of-All-Trades” super salesmen / saleswomen !

To our knowledge, the truly SERIOUS, SUCCESSFUL and RESPECTED fitness pros here in Singapore are those who are SPECIALISTS in their respective niches: professionals who focus on just a few closely related areas and services within their fitness scope.

They are definitely NOT generalists (or should we call them OPPORTUNISTS???) who try to cater to everything and anything under the sun!

Enough said. The following is a checklist of WHO to turn to – when you are seeking help for a specific fitness need:

Fitness Needs & Their Respective Specialists:

1) For General Fitness Conditioning/ Fat Loss / Weight Gain >>>>> Get yourself a Personal Trainer or a Fitness Coach

2) For Optimum Sport Performance Enhancement >>>>> Get yourself a Sports Conditioning Specialist or a Strength -&-Conditioning Coach

3) For Postural Correction, Muscular Imbalances, Injury Rehabilitation  >>>>> Get yourself a Corrective Exercise Specialist or a Physical Therapist

4) For Mind/Body Wellness >>>>> Get yourself a Yoga Teacher or a Meditation Therapist

5) For Specialized Core Conditioning or Core Rehabilitation >>>>> Get yourself a Pilates Instructor or a Core Conditioning Specialist

6) For Nutritional Counselling or Dietary Modifications >>>>> Get yourself a Sports Nutritionist or a Dietician

5) For Pre-Post Natal Fitness Conditioning >>>>> Get yourself a Pre-Post Natal Fitness Specialist

6) For Specific Medical Issues Or Metabolic Conditions  ( diabetes, hypertension, high blood cholesterol etc) >>>>> Get yourself a Special Populations Fitness Specialist

7) For Other Special Populations ( Kids, Older Adults, Physically Challenged) >>>>> Get yourself a certified fitness trainer in that particular area of need, for example, a Kids/Youth Fitness Specialist, or an Older Adults/Senior Citizens Fitness Specialist etc.

Well, there you have it – a comprehensive list of the various fitness specializations available here in Singapore.

So the next time you need a fitness provider for a specific fitness need you have, not only would you know where to look for one, but also learn how to avoid the common mistakes that other consumers make.


Personal Trainer Rates In The Singapore Fitness Industry

April 27, 2013

Image of personal trainer working with a client.As the popularity of personal training continues to rise unabated across the world, including here on our sunny isle of Singapore, the perennial question that never fails to arise in the minds of most consumers is: how much should I realistically expect to pay for such personal training services?

Though we – at Singapore Fitness Professionals Network – have tried to address this question in the past (please see one of our earlier blog posts: “Singapore Fitness Training Rates: What They Really Tell You About Your Fitness Provider”), we still get inundated with emails, queries and questions on the above topic – time and again.

So, in an attempt to “de-mystify” the mystery behind the rates and cost of hiring a personal trainer here in Singapore – once and for all – we will do our utmost here to provide you – the General Public and Fitness Consumer – with a comprehensive breakdown of what really goes into the pricing of a personal trainer here.

First of all, there are numerous factors that contribute to what and how a personal trainer charges.

These factors include:

  • Qualifications
  • Experience
  • Location Of Training
  • Time Of Training
  • Achievements (Titles/Awards/Accolades)
  • Demand/Availability
  • Specializations/Area Of Specialty
  • Media Exposure
  • Associations

We will look at each of these contributing factors in turn.

1) Personal Trainer Cost As A Function Of Qualification

Obviously, the MORE qualified and certified a trainer is, the HIGHER his/her rates. Hence, trainers with internationally recognized certifications, multiple qualifications and/or with solid educational backgrounds are definitely going to cost you much MORE than a trainer who has just a basic, entry-level fitness background.

2) Personal Trainer Cost As A Function Of Experience

Personal trainers who have clocked-in several years of coaching experience are also going to cost you much MORE than the novice or rookie trainer who is still finding his/her way around. Usually the LONGER that a personal trainer has been involved in the fitness industry, and the more experienced and established he/she is, the HIGHER his/her hourly charges.

3) Personal Trainer Cost As a Function Of Location

Whereas in the exact location that a personal training session takes place – will also play a large part in determining how much a personal trainer charges. A training session that is being held at a TRAINER’s own fitness facility will VARY greatly compared to that conducted at a CLIENT’S residence. It should be no surprise therefore that the cost will be much HIGHER if a trainer has to make private house calls or home visits.  Additionally, some trainers may also estimate the DISTANCE he/she may have to travel to the client’s destination, in combination with other factors like fuel cost, travel time, overall convenience, etc – to determine the FINAL cost which takes into account all the above-mentioned factors. On top of that, whether a training session is conducted INDOORS (think: shelter, comfort, privacy, air-con etc) as opposed to OUTDOORS (think: rain, sun, wind, public scrutiny etc) may also influence how much trainers charge for their services.

4) Personal Trainer Cost As A Function Of Timing

The TIME at which a personal training session takes place also determines the cost of the sessions concerned. Peak Hour slots – such as those in the early mornings and late evenings – are known to be charged at a HIGHER rate by some trainers, compared to “lull” periods in-between the rest of the day. Also, if sessions are to be held at Odd/Extreme Hours – such as late at nights (think: 10pm or later) or super early in the mornings (think: 6am or before), a premium rate will also be usually quoted.

5) Personal Trainer Cost As A Function Of Achievement (Titles/Awards/Accolades)

Personal trainers who have won titles, achievements, awards and accomplishments in the fields of physique/figure contests, sporting competitions and/or other fitness or sports-related areas will usually also cost MORE than one who has not attained any such credential or achievement. So, if one is trained by a former National Champion, or by a Multiple Award Winner, or by a trainer with a whole string of accolades – be prepared to pay a premium price for his/her services.

6) Personal Trainer Cost As A Function Of Demand & Availability

The more popular, in-demand and sought-after a trainer is, the MORE he/she is obviously going to cost. In Singapore, as in many parts of the developed world, it is not uncommon to hear of top-notch personal trainers who have clients on waiting lists for as long as 2-3 MONTHS! Such trainers – who are in HIGH demand, but with LIMITED time slots available – are going to cost much MORE than those trainers who are in low demand, and who have lots of spare time and plenty of free slots on hand!

7) Personal Trainer Cost As A Function Of Advanced Specialization

Personal trainers who have attained advanced specializations in fitness specialty fields like: special population training (eg. pre-post natal fitness, senior/older adults fitness etc), sports nutrition, corrective exercise etc, and/or other niche areas, are also going to cost MORE than the average, general-trained fitness practitioner. These personal trainers – by virtue of their higher learning, advanced training and specialized expertise – will charge significantly HIGHER rates than the average, run-of-the-mill trainer.

8) Personal Trainer Cost As A Function Of Media Exposure

Personal trainers who have been widely profiled and featured in the Mass Media – such as on News, on TV, on Radio, on the Internet, in fitness and heath magazines, and in other mass-circulated publications – will also cost MORE than the less-heard-of and less-seen-of trainer lurking in the background. By virtue of their ‘Celebrity Pop Status’, these trainers will command a HIGHER fee than the lesser known ones.

9) Personal Trainer Cost As A Function Of Association

Personal trainers who choose to work and associate with High Net Worth Individuals – including, but not limited to: TV & Sports Personalities, Celebrities, Dignitaries, Royalties, Socialites and other VVIP people; by virtue of their close association with these group of individuals – are also known to charge much HIGHER rates than the average trainer who works only with the common man-in-the-streets.

Conclusion

As one can see by now, there is a whole list of factors which inter-play and interact together to determine how much a personal trainer is going to price himself/herself, and how much – YOU – as the fitness consumer is expected to pay.

So, the next time if you come across a personal trainer charging $50/hour, and another charging $80/hour, and yet another whose going rate is perhaps $200/hour, don’t be overly surprised, shocked or confused.

Just bear in mind that the whole slew of factorsas mentioned above – are the ones responsible for this wide variance in personal training costs here in Singapore and across the rest of the world.


Singapore Fitness Certifications And Courses: Is There Such Thing As A Gold Standard?

December 27, 2012

Image of fitness trainers undergoing a certification course.As the fitness industry in Singapore continues to boom, and corresponding interest in fitness careers and fitness jobs continue to surge unabated in the country, there inevitably arise the question: Is there such a thing as a GOLD standard in fitness certifications or courses here in Singapore and across the world?

Incidentally, this is one of the most common questions that we – at Singapore Fitness Professionals Network – frequently receive in our mailbox from interested parties, particularly those who are exploring career paths and options in the Singapore fitness industry.

At the same time, it has also become almost commonplace to hear of certain fitness certifying agencies touting their own certifications as being the only “Gold” standard worth pursuing in the fitness industry.

So, honestly speaking, how true are these claims? Is there really such a thing as a single one GOLD standard certification that stands out from all the rest in the fitness world? Or is it all just a Big BLUFF emanating from shrewd marketing people wanting to influence our decisions?

From our collective experience, observations and research into the various fitness courses and certifications available in the market, we – at Singapore Fitness Professionals Network – can safely conclude that there is basically NO truth to any claims that a GOLD standard certification truly exist in the fitness industry – none whatsoever – regardless what certain parties, organizations or institutions may claim otherwise.

Our conclusion comes from the fact that every certification comes with its own unique pre-requisites and processes, and each has something DIFFERENT to offer to the fitness professional out there. For instance, some certifications may be designed for the trainer who works in a clinical/medical setting, while others may be more appropriate for trainers working in sports performance fields, while others may be geared towards trainers working with certain special population types, yet others are for those who want to learn to coach using certain fitness methodologies or approaches. Whatever it is, NO single one certification can fully prepare a trainer to work in EACH and EVERY fitness field out there.

Certifying fitness agencies and organizations who claim that their certification alone is the only GOLD standard in the industry – is often making the statement from a highly bias point of view, tinged with a strong hint of hype and marketing – and more often than not is an attempt to gain an edge over their competition out there. In fact, with close to 1000 different fitness certifying organizations and agencies out there in the world (and still counting), the fitness certifying market is indeed often seen as extremely competitive, saturated and even cut-throat in nature.

Incidentally, and more importantly, in the interest of the fitness public concerned, having the ability to pass any certifying test (whether in theory or practical or both) simply does NOT define how good a trainer or coach is.

In fact, research across different sectors, industries and professions over history has repeatedly thrown up the same conclusion: that being certified does NOT necessarily mean being GOOD, much less making one a GREAT teacher, coach or instructor!

Rather, in the fitness world, the one thing that we find that defines a GREAT trainer is this :

Someone with the ability to take whatever knowledge taught, and communicate it clearly, apply it effectively and execute it professionally to any situation and/or client concerned.

Or, to put it in a simpler way, it is not WHERE you get your certification/qualification from, but WHAT you do with the knowledge that counts!

In real life, great trainers do come from a wide variety of certification backgrounds, so much so that it is practically impossible to pin-point  which certification in itself contributes most to the “GREATNESS” of that particular individual!!

Hence, any talk of “GOLD” standard in fitness certification is simply nothing more than a MYTH, often conjured up by the brilliant minds of individuals and organizations seeking a competitive edge in the industry.

Thus, what does all this hold then for the wannabe fitness professional out there?

Simply this: rather than seeking for a “GOLD” standard in certification, Singapore fitness professionals – including personal trainers, sports coaches and wellness instructors etc should be more concerned about aiming to become GOOD – if not GREAT – trainers themselves: those who not only talk the talk, but also WALK the talk.

Whatever it is, just remember the bottom line: it is not WHERE you have been certified, but HOW you use what you have been taught that will truly make a difference to your clients’ lives.