Are Expat Trainers And Foreign Instructors BAD For The Singapore Fitness Industry?

February 21, 2011

Image of a Personal Trainer training a client on a Swiss Ball.In recent years, Singapore has seen a large influx of expatriates and foreigners joining our workforce.

Within the Singapore Fitness Industry itself, industry observers have noted a marked increase in the number of foreigners and expatriates joining our local Singapore-born instructors, coaches and trainers in providing fitness/wellness-related services here.

In fact, a quick glance at various fitness niches popular here in Singapore show a remarkable mix of expat/foreign instructors within their midst.

Consider the following: it is now common to see Yogis or Yoga Gurus from India providing their yoga services here in Singapore, Aerobics Instructors from Philippines conducting aerobics classes at local clubs and schools, Dance Fitness Instructors from Mainland China offering fitness/exotic dance classes throughout the island, Personal Trainers and Fitness Instructors from Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong etc working the commercial gyms and providing personal training in private residences across Singapore, and even American and European Fitness Coaches running their private fitness boot camp programs and outdoor group exercise workouts at our local parks, nature reserves, public stadiums, beaches etc …. and the list goes on.

So what do we make of all these?

Should Singapore instructors and coaches start tearing their hair in frustration and rue the potential loss in clients and income from this “foreign” influx? Should they fret, curse and swear, and basically give up all hope of ever “making it BIG” in the fitness profession in the face of such massive competition?

Or should local Fitness Service Providers pull up their socks, accept and embrace the changing reality around them, and take the competition head on? And perhaps even forge an alliance with these “foreign talents” and aim for a synergistic and mutually rewarding relationship ?

We – at Singapore Fitness Professionals Network – are of the opinion that we should all adopt the latter approach and create a win-win situation for all those involved.

Let’s consider this phenomenon from a positive point of view: the influx of foreign and expat trainers into the Singapore Fitness industry actually does have many advantages, such as:

1) Coming from different countries and cultures, these foreign imports do bring along with them certain unique skills, experiences and credentials that can only enrich and benefit our fitness industry as a whole. And local Singapore instructors and trainers could draw upon their foreign counterparts’ experiences and skills to further improve their own standing in the fitness industry too.

2) Foreign coaches also bring along with them valuable overseas contacts and networks that our local Singapore trainers can tap upon, or even forge an alliance with, to expand and widen their own businesses beyond the region. 

3) As the Singapore Fitness/Wellness Sector is growing at an unprecedented rate, these foreign trainers can actually help meet the demands of the fitness market, and even afford our local Singapore trainers and coaches some “breathing space” to catch up on their own professional upgrading and personal self-improvement without compromising the needs of the clients.  

 4) And more importantly, the presence of these Expat/Foreign instructors will definitely help raise the overall standard of coaching, instructing and general professionalism within the Singapore Fitness Industry – which by all accounts has much room to improve – by eliciting competition and comparison.

Thus, as the above has shown, the influx of foreign trainers and coaches can in fact be a very GOOD thing for the Singapore Fitness Industry, and a BLESSING in disguise for our own local trainers and instructors.

So the next time you see a foreign or expat trainer in our midst, do walk up to him/her and extend a warm handshake of welcome to them – for they could very well turn out to be the BEST thing ever happen to our Singapore Fitness Industry.

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What Singapore Fitness Professionals Can Learn From Jack LaLanne

February 6, 2011

Photo Image of Fitness Guru Jack LaLanneOn Sunday, January 23 2010, American Fitness Icon – Jack LaLanne  – passed away peacefully at the ripe old age of 96 after a bout of pneumonia.

Tributes to him poured in from all parts of the world in remembrance of this Great Fitness Guru who almost single-handedly revolutionized the fitness industry, and brought fitness to the masses.

Tales of his past fitness feats and wonderful personality filled the Media as America and the rest of the world struggle to come to terms with the loss of this iconic figure.

Though thousands of miles apart, many over here in Asia – particularly Singapore – felt the impact of the loss too.

As our tribute to this great Fitness Guru, we – at Singapore Fitness Professionals Network – would like to dedicate this blog post to the Father Of Fitness, and at the same time, hopefully inspire all our local personal trainers, fitness instructors, wellness coaches and other exercise instructors  to live up to the high standards set by this fitness pioneer.

As a fitness professional, Jack LaLanne embodies everything that a professional in the fitness/wellness industry should possess – and more – and these include the following:

Being A Superb Role Model

In every aspect, Jack “walked the talk” of his fitness ideology. From his vigorous exercise routines to his strict dietary intake, Jack was a walking embodiment of what a fitness professional should be. Compare him to some of today’s so-called “fitness professionals” – who smoke, drink, party and do drugs – it’s not difficult to see why Jack is a true legend and role model in every sense of the word! 

Being A Great Communicator

Without a doubt, Jack was a superb communicator and people’s person. His effervescent and positive personality coupled with his natural charm helped him to spread the message of fitness and health effectively to the masses. Countless individuals have their lives transformed through exposure to Jack’s TV programs, books and various other products.

Being  A Creative And Innovative Fitness Practitioner

At a time when weight-training was hardly practised and even frowned upon, Jack bravely went against conventional wisdom and daringly advocated training with weights to both men and women. He was also one of the first – if not the first – to promote home fitness training through the use of simple household items like chairs and towels to get into shape. Truly a maverick and pioneer in innovative fitness training!

Being A Lifelong Learner

If there’s one person who truly deserves the award of a lifelong learner, it must be Jack. Always seeking for new ways to challenge and stimulate the human body; Jack carried his obsession with fitness education and learning all the way to his last days, never once, content to rest on his laurels. A true professional – right to the end.  

Being An Inspiration

Who can forget Jack’s great feats of strength, stamina and human endurance – including doing more than 1,000 push-ups in 23 minutes on a television show, and swimming from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco — handcuffed, shackled and towing a boat! Few, if any fitness professionals in the world could come within a whisker of duplicating Jack’s stupendous feats. And let’s not forget that great physique of his which he carried so well right up to his nineties. Compare that to some of the bloated, out-of-shape “fitness pros” that we see nowadays, it further reinforces how inspiring Jack’s life was.

As Jack passed on to a better world, we hope that the values, morals and example that he has left behind for us, would forever be a yard stick for Singapore fitness trainers and local exercise instructors to measure up to.