Is a career in fitness right for you?
If you love being active and having flexibility in your work, a career in fitness can be a really rewarding pathway.
There are some things in life we can’t change, and one of them is needing to work. But waking up and heading off to your chosen job doesn’t have to be a chore. If you find something you love, the lines between work and enjoyment are blurred.
If you thrive on being active, you might find sitting behind a desk a tough gig. Eight hours or more at a computer in a sedentary role is not for everyone, and if you’re not careful, it may start to have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing.
So if you are an energetic person with a love of fitness and health, why not consider turning your passion into a career?
Lo's story – Own It Fit
Lo Anderson had worked in fashion and retail for almost 15 years before she decided to take the plunge and seek out a fitness-based career. At the age of 30, she ditched her desk job and became a personal trainer and nutrition coach, running bootcamps across Sydney with her business Own It Fit.
“I was having a very hard time at work last year and I came to the realisation that life is too short not to do something you love,” says Lo. “I was sick of working crazy hours in stressful jobs, feeling miserable and like I wasn’t making a positive change in the world. I was lacking passion and happiness in what I was doing.”
Lo recalls feeling sluggish and unwell most of the time, with constant trips to her local GP for feeling rundown. She recalls crying one day, and being unable to stop. It was then that she realised it was time to find something that made her happy.
"There will never be an ‘ideal’ or ‘right’ time to make a change or take a risk. Think it through, plan it well and then just go for it."
“I made the decision that day that something had to change, so I quit my job and took some time out to get back in touch with myself – what makes me tick, what makes me happy, what am I passionate about? A month later I signed up to study nutrition and fitness.”
As someone who has always loved being fit, there wasn’t a lot that Lo hadn’t tried – surfing, snowboarding, yoga, pilates, boxing to name a few – and she realised that keeping active and understanding the body was really what she was passionate about.
“My happiness has increased exponentially!” says Lo. “I absolutely love what I do, job satisfaction is at an all-time high. 5 am starts, rain hail or shine – I love it! I’m more motivated and energetic than I have ever been.”
Her advice for those considering a similar career change is simple: just do it.
“Your happiness is key, so find your passion and go for it. You will not regret it. There will never be an ‘ideal’ or ‘right’ time to make a change or take a risk. Think it through, plan it well and then just go for it.”
Types of fitness careers
So what kind of careers are on offer for those seeking out an ‘active’ job role? Here are just a few to spark your imagination:
• Personal trainer
• Yoga instructor
• Group fitness instructor
• Pilates teacher
• P.E. teacher
• Swimming instructor
• School sport team coach
• Community sport coach
• Remedial massage therapist
As with any industry, there are both challenges and benefits to working in the health and fitness industry. Some opportunities may be in contract or part-time roles, with inconsistent hours and last minute changes.
But many of these challenges can be worked to your advantage – the lack of set hours, for example, are an opportunity to build up a wide network of clients and create flexible working hours to suit you. And chances are, if you’re looking to get into this industry, that type of variation and flexibility is exactly what you’re looking for.
How to get started with a career in fitness
If you think you'd like to pursue a career in fitness, the first step is to look into what qualifications will suit your goals. There are many different options depending on what you want to do.
To become an accredited personal trainer in Australia, you need to hold Certificates III and IV in Fitness. These courses will teach you the essentials of exercise science and fitness technique, as well as how to develop personalised programs and set up and operate your own personal training business. For many people wanting to explore a fitness related career, this is a fantastic place to start.
For more information on fitness qualifications and career pathways, visit the Australian Institute of Fitness.