Changes in the Fitness Industry

I have worked in the fitness industry for thirteen years. I have seen many changes in that time. Budget gyms are flooding the industry with low cost memberships, open for 24 hours and no contracts. More and more local councils are transferring their facilities to Charitable Trusts. Sometimes this is done through an asset transfer arrangement, other times they rent the buildings to the Charitable Trusts. Private sector facilities are also changing, in that some of the more well-known companies are focussing more on health spars and making members feel like they are part of a club with the gym itself being an afterthought. With the rise of Social media and YouTube we also have online Personal Trainers. Many of these online Trainers have never stepped foot in a gym in their life. They have simply watched YouTube video’s and decided to make their own.
Budget gyms can charge so little as they don’t pay their gym staff. They are all brought in under, “Self-employed” contracts, where they have the option of paying a monthly ground rent or they can work it off by working a fifteen hour a week Fitness Instructor contract, carrying out inductions, classes and cleaning duties. They are expected to work a set rota, meaning they are not truly self-employed; however, the Budget gyms justify it by saying the staff do not have to pay rent, which may be true however what also happens is that the Budget gyms have a high staff turnover because the Personal Trainers don’t end up earning enough to stay.
The Charitable Trust system may not be perfect however it is better for newly qualified Fitness Instructors as they have both paid Fitness Instructors as well as Self-employed Personal Trainers. This means that people are not forced into an exploitative, bogus, “Self-employed” contract, and allows people who have ambitions of becoming a Personal Trainer to gain experience working in a gym.
Some of my friends and family have asked me why I stay working in the fitness industry as it doesn’t pay well. They point out that there are different industry’s that pay better and have more sociable working hours. The truth is, when I was made redundant in 2016 and for most of last year when I had to take any temporary job I could find, I did think about retraining. The trouble was I had no idea what to retrain as. The only job I have ever really been passionate about is working as a Fitness Instructor. I was a good Lifeguard, I was a good Support Worker, however they didn’t give me any real sense of satisfaction. I have heard people say that if you’re not doing what your passionate about you are wasting your time. This may be true, however not everybody get’s the chance to. I am lucky that I have been able to make a living out of my passion. I am also lucky that I now have the chance to write about it.

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