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.


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.


Succeeding As A Fitness Entrepreneur In Singapore

October 20, 2012

Fitness has become a mainstay in the lives of many here in Singapore.Image of a Private Fitness Entrepreneur

In so much that many young men and women in the country are now actively considering fitness careers in the Singapore Fitness Industry, hungrily eyeing positions in commercial fitness facilities, or even trying their hands at becoming fitness entrepreneurs and business owners themselves.

At Singapore Fitness Professionals Network, we are constantly inundated with emails from aspiring fitness professionals – both from within and without Singapore – requesting for more information on how they can be part of the booming fitness industry here in the country.

And most of these requests, interestingly, are centred around on how one  can set-up and run his/her own private fitness facility, practice or consultancy firm here in the country.

As such, and in view of the above, we would like to offer the following list of attributes that all aspiring fitness entrepreneurs can refer to, to assess their very own suitability in becoming a successful private fitness entrepreneur.

Traits Required To Succeed As A Fitness Entrepreneur:

1. Passion

Passion is the most important trait of the successful fitness entrepreneur. Without it, you can NEVER succeed. In order to see the fruits of your labour, you really need to be passionate about your fitness niche, and truly love what you do. You must also be willing to make the necessary sacrifices, sweat and tears in order to make your dreams a reality.

2. Self-Belief

Successful fitness entrepreneurs truly believe in their abilities, talents and calling. They have an unwavering sense of self-belief that they CAN and WILL succeed in their fitness pursuits – come what may – and spare no effort in making this belief a reality.

3. Vision

Succesful fitness entrepreneurs not only know what they want, but more importantly, how to get there. They also have the ability to: view things and happenings around them with an analytical and open mind, interpret and predict future trends, patterns and behaviours, and focus on building their businesses around what works and what people want.

4. Strong Communication Skills

Fitness entrepreneurs have strong communication and people skills as they need to convince others to do business with them. Most successful fitness entrepreneurs know how to motivate themselves, their business partners, their co-workers and their clients to all work towards helping them to grow their fitness businesses and to achieve their goals.

5. Sound Business Acumen

All successful fitness entrepreneurs have sharp business minds and strong inclinations in business operations – including strategic planningbusiness networking, sales and marketing, public relations, cash flow management, human resource management etc. With their strong business grounding, they are able to build and launch their fitness businesses on solid foundations.

The above represents – what we think – are some of the most important attributes needed for an entrepreneur-minded fitness professional to succeed here in Singapore.

Obviously, not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur or business owner. In fact, many may be better off simply working for others in public and commercial fitness establishments.

Only some – the cream of the crop – will eventually succeed as private fitness professionals and entrepreneurs.

For those readers who feel strongly that you possess most, if not all, of the above qualities, and have truly what it takes to be a successful fitness entrepreneur, we strongly encourage you to press on and make your dreams a reality!

Be assured that we – at Singapore Fitness Professionals Network – will be behind you all the way!