Challenges Facing The Singapore Fitness Industry And Profession

October 19, 2010

Image of female personal trainer with clientThe Singapore Fitness Industry and Wellness Profession has seen remarkable changes in the past ten years or so.

From a state of infancy and initial growth, the industry has since morphed into a vibrant sector of the Singapore economy, providing job openings for personal trainers, fitness coaches, group exercise instructors etc, as well as providing crucial services to the Public Consumer.

At the same time, this unprecedented expansion of the fitness sector has also given rise to a number of challenges facing the industry today:

1. Explosion In Trainer Numbers

The explosion and influx of personnel into the Singapore Fitness and Wellness Industry in recent years has been nothing short of phenomenal.

From the viewpoint of the Public Consumer, this may a good thing in terms of price competitiveness and market choices, but to the Private Fitness Facility Owner or even the Freelance Fitness Instructor/Coach, the perception is that the size of his/her pie has dramatically reduced.

Although one can argue that the huge increase in demand for fitness and wellness services across the nation can more than offset the increase in trainer population, the truth is in fact more insidious: the exponential rise in the number of trainers and instructors across all vocations has simply outstripped the current demand!

As a result, internal competition within the industry has intensified, leading to a situation where only those who are able to add value to their services, optimize their market exposure, and stand out from the crowd – are thereby poised to capture the lion’s share of the market. 

2. Change In Employment Profile Of Trainers

Where – once upon a time – trainers and instructors in the Singapore Fitness/Wellness Industry were mostly salaried employees of fitness and health chains, today, the Successful Fitness/Wellness Professional is usually one who has ditched his/her employee status in favour of a being a Private, Independent or Self-Employed Coach.

In a way, it makes absolute sense to many fitness/wellness professionals to be their own BOSS as the benefits far exceed that of being a mere employee. From increased social status, to higher paychecks, to greater personal and professional freedom, the lure of self-employment has resulted in a massive outflow of many otherwise capable and talented individuals from the commercial establishments to private enterprises.

Correspondingly, and worryingly, many commercial fitness facilities are now left with the ‘dregs’ – trainers and instructors of a lower calibre and lesser talent – as unsurprisingly, the better, more capable  and more ambitious ones have all but ‘jumped ship’ to run their very own private fitness enterprises!

The fitness landscape in Singapore is thus being rapidly transformed into one where it might actually make more sense for a client to engage the services of a Private/Independent Trainer or Instructor – for the sake of trainer quality and coaching excellence – instead of joining a commercial facility and be trained by second- or even third-tier trainers. 

3. Increase In Client Sophistication

With higher education, wider media exposure, and increased fitness knowledge and savviness, consumers and clients nowadays are more sophisticated and particular in their fitness demands and expectations.

Unlike the past, where most people would have no qualms engaging a trainer or coach with just a ‘General’ fitness educational background, clients are now more likely to seek out someone who is trained in a specialised fitness field or vocation to meet their needs. These specialty fields could involve anything from corrective exercise to post-injury rehabilitation to older adults fitness to functional therapy and more. 

As such, to continue staying on top of things,  fitness/wellness professionals should make it a point to specialize in certain specialty fields, as well as keep their ears continually to the ground in order to keep tabs on other emerging trends in the fitness realm.

4. The Internet Conundrum

With the meteoric rise of the Internet, and the number of users relying solely on the World Wide Web for information and data, it takes a foolhardy fitness/wellness professional to ignore the impact of this technological phenomenon.

However, to date, many fitness professionals have yet  to take full advantage of this tool to enhance their business; and the few who have tried, simply lack the technical expertise and relevant knowledge to position themselves optimally on the Web.

With no signs of the Internet Wave abating, savvy fitness/wellness professionals who wish to dominate the industry would do well to educate themselves as much as possible on this Public Platform in order to be connected to the large majority of consumers who are currently plugged into the Internet.

As such, picking up specialized internet marketing strategies and techniques, and collaborating with Local Online Fitness Directories & Guides, is no longer an option but a necessity for business success in the fitness industry.

With all these challenges facing the Singapore Fitness Profession, success seems destined only for those who are able to take positive action to adapt themselves to the challenges, rise above them, and ultimately, ride them out to their advantage.