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.


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.


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.


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!


Ethics Within The Singapore Fitness Profession

February 6, 2012

image of fitness trainingIn Singapore and in other parts of the world – which have an active, vibrant fitness scene – trainers, coaches and instructors who provide professional fitness services of one kind or another are expected to abide to a code of ethics governing their interactions and transactions with members of the public.

These code of ethics are usually set forth by the respective fitness organizations that issue certifications to trainers, and most, if not all, have codes of conduct such as: providing quality instruction to clients, not discriminating against persons irrespective of race, gender or age, respecting other fellow fitness professionals and carrying oneself with utmost integrity and professionalism.

And to our knowledge, the majority of Singapore Fitness Pros do abide to these ethical codes and have little, if any, problem living up to them.

Unfortunately, like in every other industry, there are always some black sheep among the community who blatantly disregard these ethics for their own agendas.

Below mentioned are some of the common ethical shortcomings observed among a small segment of fitness professionals within our community:

1. Trainers Who Are More Interested In Selling “Fitness Products” Than Coaching Itself

These trainers are the ones who believe in pushing sales of supplements, pills, powders, and other fitness products onto their unsuspecting clients. In fact, for some of these trainers – the profits from the sales of these products far outweigh their earnings from coaching itself! However, from an ethical point of view, this business of selling should be frowned upon as it demeans the fitness profession, and distracts from the real purpose why clients sign up for fitness lessons in the first place – basically for instruction and NOT for the purchase of fitness products.

2. Trainers Who Discriminate Against Segments Of The Population

There are also some trainers who are extremely selective and discriminatory in whom they choose to be their clients. In fact, some of them have been known to set certain arbitrary criteria when it comes to selecting clients: for example, they are only willing to take-on clients who come from certain well-to-do districts (usually the landed private property areas), belong to a certain social/economic status, or who are from a certain ‘teachable’ age group. Prospects/clients who do not satisfy these conditions are summarily dismissed by these trainers and told to “look elsewhere”. Again, such arrogant and discriminatory behaviour have no place in our fitness industry.

3. Trainers Who Do Not Abide By Their Fitness Contracts 

When a business transaction takes place between a fitness professional and a willing client, a paper contract or agreement is usually signed by both parties to acknowledge the terms and conditions under which the service will be provided and payment to be made. Unfortunately, there are known cases of trainers or instructors failing to abide by the agreed terms listed in the contract, or those who short-change their clients even after signing a contract, resulting in much inconvenience, disillusionment or even monetary losses on the part of the clients. Again, this is something extremely unbecoming and unsavoury for anyone who professes to be a professional in the fitness industry.

4. Trainers Who Get Into Inappropriate Relationships With Their Clients

As professionals providing an honourable health/fitness service to mankind, a high level of moral integrity is to expected among those who call themselves fitness professionals. Unfortunately, a small minority are always willing to forgo their morals and indulge in inappropriate or ‘hanky-panky’ relationships with their clients – either for individual gain or as a consequence of their own flawed characters. In Singapore, there have been cases of trainers having sexual relationships with married clients, being involved in straight/gay/group sex with casual prospects and openly offering special services” as part of their ‘fitness packages’. Not only does such behavior go against every grain of conduct for fitness professionals, it also casts a misleading and negative light on the profession as a whole, unfairly tainting all other trainers along with it.

6. Trainers Who Discredit Other Fellow Fitness Professionals

Whether it is out of pure jealousy, professional envy or industry rivalry, there are always some trainers or coaches who simply have no qualms discrediting their fellow fitness pros for their own individual gain. Perhaps thinking that it would help them gain an upper hand when it comes to attracting clients, these trainers would resort to spreading unfounded rumours, speaking ill-will, gossiping, or simply distorting facts regarding other trainers in order to cast a bad light on them. Again, such behaviours are not to be condoned as they merely serve to put the industry down and sow seeds of discord and suspicion among fellow trainers.

As bad as they may seem, the above ethical shortcomings are fortunately NOT the norm in the Singapore Fitness Industry.

However, the fact that they exist – shows that much can still be done to improve the state of ethics within the fitness community here.

Ultimately, the onus falls on each individual trainer, coach or instructor to uphold for himself/herself – a high standard of ethical behaviour as becoming that of a Fitness Professional – and to recognize that the benefits of adopting such sound ethical practices will eventually far outweigh any short-term gain or temporary advantage that any ethical short-cut may bring about in the long run.


Singapore Fitness Trends For 2012

December 26, 2011

Image of a group exercise classNot too long ago, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) came out with its annual report on the fitness trends that are expected to make headlines around the world in year 2012.

Much as we – at Singapore Fitness Professionals Network – agree to most of the information published in the report, we can’t help but feel that the report may not be doing justice to the actual trends that we – who are based here in Singapore – are witnessing and experiencing for ourselves in this part of the world.

As such, we decided to come up with our very own compilation of fitness trends that we feel are more realistic and have greater chances of happening in our local context here in Singapore.

Though nowhere as exhaustive or comprehensive compared to the original report from ACSM,  the following represents our gut feeling of what the Singapore Fitness Industry (SFI) would register in the coming year ahead.

Fitness enthusiasts who wish to know what’s in store for them in year 2012, and more importantly, Singapore Fitness Professionals – who wish to position themselves to profit from future predicted market movements – may do well to read the following report in detail:

2012 Fitness Trends For Singapore

1. Increase In Numbers Of Certified And Educated Fitness Professionals

Now, more than ever before, the fitness profession seems to have hit a new high in popularity in Singapore. More and more people have either joined the industry, or are seriously contemplating a fitness career in the near future – either as a personal trainer, a group exercise instructor, Yoga/Pilates teacher or any of the many fitness professions widely available here. Aided by strong market forces, a blooming fitness scene, and the availability of a wide array of fitness certifications, we expect to see a dramatic increase in the number of professional fitness trainers and coaches here in Singapore in the coming new year and beyond.

2. Increase In The Numbers Of Independent/Private Trainers And Specialty Boutique Gyms

As large, commercial “mega-gyms” gradually lose their appeal and attraction, we foresee an increase in the number of small-sized, highly specialized boutique gyms and private/independent trainers flourishing side-by-side. This trend perhaps best epitomizes what the Singapore Consumer wants nowadays – specialization, personalization, privacy and convenience – factors which are all so glaringly missing in the highly commercialized “one-size-fits-all” approach found in most fitness chains’ business models.

3. Rise In Demand For Non-Traditional Fitness Training Modes

Forget about machines, barbells and dumbbells – the savvy and educated fitness consumer in Singapore is now more daring than ever before, and more likely than ever before to experiment with non-traditional training approaches.  Think: kettlebells, sandbagsropes, clubs, over-sized tyres, sledgehammers, body-weight training and even Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) – all these and more seem to be THE choice for yuppies and the Generation Y cohort.

4. Greater Popularity Of Outdoor-Based Fitness Sessions

In 2012, we also expect to see more and more fitness consumers ditching the gym for outdoor-based workouts in the form of fitness boot camps or small group personal training. This trend seems to arise from the recognition and appreciation of more ‘natural’ forms of training – such as utilizing one’s own body weight through the use of highly portable outdoor fitness equipment (eg. TRX Suspension Trainer) – as opposed to the old era of depending solely on cumbersome indoor gym machines. At the same time, the expanding Outdoor Exercise Movement which advocates exercising in natural outdoor surroundings and environment (think: fresh air, sunshine and greenery) also plays a large role in bringing about this trend.

5. Increase In Popularity Of Sport-Specific Training

The number of people in Singapore playing recreational and competitive sports have been steadily increasing over the years. In fact, participation in popular sports like golf, running, tennis, bowling, martial arts etc have hit an all-time high in recent years. This phenomenon has also given rise to a greater demand for behind-the-scenes sports science support – especially in the form of sport-specific conditioning programs and sports nutrition programs – which are both seen as paramount to helping an athlete achieve optimal performance in his/her sport of choice. As such, we expect to see a continual rise in the demand for sport-specific conditioning services and sport-specific nutritional programs in the coming years ahead.

6. Rise Of Corrective and Rehabilitative Exercise Programs

Following the increase in participation in sports and fitness here in Singapore, there will also be a corresponding increase in awareness of the various muscular dysfunctions and movement imbalances that may result from faulty training patterns; as well as a higher incidence of sporting injuries arising from overuse and/or sporting trauma. As a result, there will be a corresponding rise in demand for more corrective and rehabilitative exercise programs to help these exercisers and athletes correct, rehabilitate and regain proper and full function of their bodies.

This report on the 2012 Singapore Fitness Trends is by no means exhaustive nor definitive.

We have merely hoped to represent – as accurately as we can – what we have observed and feel is the pattern that will most likely emerge in the coming year ahead.

Although none of us can really predict what the future holds for us, we sincerely wish that this survey will be useful to all fitness professionals – especially those based here in Singapore – who need to make important decisions with regards to the direction and focus of their fitness businesses for year 2012.


The Evolution Of Fitness Training In Singapore

November 27, 2011

Photo of an old school weight-lifter. Fitness training in Singapore – as we know it – has come a long way since its humble beginnings.

Way back in the sixties and seventies, when fitness first made its headway into the lives of Singaporeans, the majority of serious fitness followers were mainly men, who were predominantly into Weight-Training, Olympic Lifting and Body-Building. In those days, the Everbright Gym and the Evergreen Gym ranked among the top gyms in Singapore in terms of sheer membership numbers and popularity – and were hugely responsible for churning out the various local and regional champions in body-building and weight-lifting for our little republic.

Into the eighties, women started to enter the fitness scene, aided greatly by the world-wide Dance Aerobics Craze which swept across the world like a wild-fire, sparing none including Singapore, and converting hordes of followers (especially women) with its razzmatazz dance movements performed to loud disco music. Aerobics classes were the rave then, from community centres (as they were known then) to public dance halls and even right into people’s private living-rooms – transforming adult women (and even some men) and adolescent girls into leotard-clad energizer bunnies bouncing away to pounding music in the background .

As Singapore moved into the nineties, there emerged a greater interest and appreciation in the actual science and methodology behind fitness training. As a result, it led to a whole school of fitness followers experimenting and swearing by various training modalities, including: High Intensity Training Superset Training, Circuit Training, Cross-Training etc… Incidentally, fitness training also became more widespread than ever, with its practitioners evenly shared out among both men and women. It was also during this period that we saw the emergence of “mega” commercial gyms in Singapore.

As we enter the 21st century, the popularity of fitness training took off like a freight train, greatly aided by the government’s constant championing of a ‘healthy lifestyle’ and its role in society. An unprecendented variety of fitness disciplines also started to appear during this period – from Kickboxing to Pilates, from Aqua Aerobics to Yoga, as well as numerous other integrated forms of exercises, leaving the Singapore Consumer with a delectable spread of fitness activities to choose from.

Today, the sheer variety of fitness training options available to the public is simply nothing short of mind-boggling. From MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) conditioning classes to Functional Movement Training to Group Fitness Boot Campsto Kettlebell Lifting etc, the consumer is simply spoilt for choice. On top of that, fitness training is now taken as a serious and respectable field of study, with numerous fitness courses and certifications available for those who wish to learn more about the science behind fitness training, and for those who wish to pursue a career in the fitness industry. And every where we see, large commercial gyms, middle-sized fitness centres, small specialized boutique gyms and even mobile personal trainers are now the norm and the mainstay in the local Singapore Fitness Industry.

Moving forwards, we can only wait with bated breath and see what the future holds for the fitness consumer in Singapore.

And looking at our past history, it certainly looks VERY interesting and VERY promising indeed going forwards – especially for those of us who continue to share the same passion and love for fitness as our predecessors before us …….


Is The Personal Training Industry In Singapore Dying? Part 2

October 24, 2011

Image of a personal trainer conducting personal training.This is a follow-up to our article of the same title written last week.

For those who miss Part 1, do click on the following link below to read it:

Is The Personal Training Industry In Singapore Dying? Part 1

Well, what’s your response after reading the first article?

Do you really think the personal training industry in Singapore is going the way of its western counterparts – to its imminent DEATH – in view of all the overwhelming evidence against it ???? 

Well, this is what we – at Singapore Fitness Professionals Network honestly think:

1) First and foremost, we do acknowledge  that it is indeed going to be HARDER and HARDER for most personal trainers, or as a matter of fact, any personalized service provider to survive in the industry because of all the various reasons cited in part 1 of our article.

However, the good thing is this: all the additional competition and economic changes will only serve to WEED OUT the various pretenders’, ‘sub-standard’ trainers and other‘half-baked’ imposters from the REAL professionals in the industry – those who are fully committed to the profession, who invest time and effort in professional upgrading, and whose expertise, experience and voice of reason and authority SEPARATE them from the ordinary and common trainers.

2) Regardless of economic conditions, there will ALWAYS be a pool of people who will NEED, WANT and can AFFORD personal training. Frankly, no other fitness programs can substitute the personalised attention, privacy, customization and accelerated results that often accompany personal training, and these benefits and more will always appeal to individuals who appreciate them and who are seeking after them whole-heartedly.

3) From a social point of view, personalized forms of services have long since been very much a part of the life of the High Society in Singapore – those belonging to the elite membership circle of the “Rich, Successful and Famous”. ( just think: personal chauffeur, personal chef, personal maid, personal masseur and the list goes on …) 

Frankly, many of the “Who’s Who” in the upper echelons of society CAN and WILL continue to pay for personal training – if not for the various tangible health/fitness benefits that it brings – but also very much for the status/class symbol that it represents.

This brings us back to the question: Will Personal Training really DIE off in Singapore one day???

Well, in view of all the above factors, we unequivocally feel that the answer is a resounding: NO.

Personal training will NEVER EVER ‘die’ off in the literal sense.

Those who insist they will, are simply making premature assumptions based on their own biased and short-sighted views.

But what will certainly happen is this: personal trainers will certainly need to UP their service standards by several notches, MARKET themselves more professionally and selectively, and operate in a much SMARTER way than ever before in order to survive and prosper.

Otherwise, they could very well be left ‘for dead’ – for good.