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Fitness hai toh hit hai

Fitness is a Rs 3,000 crore industry in India and growing in leaps and bounds. Fitness guru Leena Mogre tells you how to make your mark in this industry.

Why fitness is a viable career option now?
Right now it is a Rs 3,000 crore industry. Though it is still not a very organised industry, big players are coming in. This is the era of big gyms. Gone are the days of 2,000 sq. ft ones. No one likes to work out in small gyms now. They make people feel claustrophobic. People don’t mind paying a little more money, but they want good service, value-additions. People are expecting gyms to be spacious and well-equipped. Also, since they work round the clock, they want longer timings. We now have two branches in Mumbai — Vashi and Bandra that are open for 24 hours, which is unheard of in India.

What background does one need to make a career in fitness?
Firstly, you need to have a basic certification that we offer, which is a three-month course. Secondly, you should love physical fitness, physical activity. You should be very sporty. There are so many students whose parents come to me and say, “This boy is only interested in sports! Yeh kya career banaega!” I explain to them that if he loves physical activity, I think this is the right job!

Apart from that, it is like any other field. Whether you are in textiles or chemicals, you have to start at the grass-root level. If you expect results overnight, it’s not going to be possible. You need focus and ambition. Just doing a basic certification is not going to help you. You have to keep upgrading yourself, keep up with the latest knowledge.

I know many people who have given up what they were doing to start a career in fitness training and are doing very well for themselves now. They are becoming trainers because they love this job.

They are working in a very good environment, and gradually, a lot of them have started their own gyms. Many of them are celebrity trainers. There are many good trainers from our academy: Abbas Ali, who trained Shahid Kapoor, Rujuta Diwekar, who recently launched her book Don’t lose your mind Lose your weight, is also our student.

Many of our trainers have gone abroad and set up their own gyms or supplement shops, so they have made very good careers.

What is the course like?
In the three-month course, we teach anatomy, physiology, weight-training and then we have a two-month compulsory internship. We also have a project-presentation, because most of the trainers don’t have communication skills. They are either shy or are not confident. So, as part of the curriculum, we give them a group project, but each one in the group has to talk. There is a written exam and there is a practical exam. It’s not easy.

The practicals also include a viva. And only after two-months of internship, do they get the certificates. We don’t just concentrate on weight-training. The latest is the functional training. We concentrate on research and then improvise. It is always according to the assessment. I don’t think any gym has that kind of assessment.

How can you enhance your knowledge?
You can upgrade your knowledge in fitness management by doing other courses like Fitness Nutrition, Power Yoga, Advanced Personal Training, et al.

What is the salary structure like in this industry?
The salary can range anywhere between Rs 6,000-15,000 for a floor trainer, while a personal trainer works on an incentive basis. If you have the aptitude for it, the sky is the limit.

How can one climb to the top in this industry?
Some people have a mindset of becoming an instructor. How much ever you try to groom them, they will always be trainers. They might be great personal trainers, they might even have a group of personal trainers under them, but they might not be good managers. So, they always keep to the physical training part.

There are some people who can become managers. Such people can become gym-owners. They can own supplement shops and can start their own personal training studios.

There are so many opportunities, but you definitely need experience and maturity, because ultimately one has to understand the business — the service as well as the training aspect of it.

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