Although many of Amac’s graduates have successful careers in gyms or health and fitness clubs, some have chosen to pursue careers outside of traditional gym environments. Dave Lee, Amac’s Director of Education and Training, has kindly provided his insight into some of the alternate ‘pathways’ that qualified fitness professionals might look to pursue
Working With Older Adults
Over a third of the UK’s population are currently over the age of 50, with 17.7% of these over the age of 65 (Age UK, 2015). By 2034, it is predicted those over the age of 65 will increase to 23.5% of the population – this is almost a quarter. Whilst some older adults do frequent gyms and health clubs, most do not, which means there is a huge market waiting to be provided for. It is possible for fitness professionals to gain work with local authorities, care homes, the NHS, in community settings, or work on a freelance basis promoting health and well-being, improving independence and decreasing social isolation. For those looking to encourage physical activity in ‘frailer’ older adults, a popular route to working with this demographic is to provide seated exercise/ physical activity sessions.
Working With Other ‘Special Populations’
Amac’s level 2 fitness instructor qualification introduces you to a few special populations; older adults, ante and post-natal, disability, children and young people. Many of our graduates have made a niche for themselves working with these groups, which might include working within their local community and schools. It’s also a great way to teach something you are passionate about, for example, dance or football.
Specialising in Exercise Referral
Physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle are considered independent risk factors for many medical conditions and exercise can help reduce and alleviate the symptoms of illness too. For this reason, some Doctors refer patients to an exercise professional able to tailor exercise programmes to meet specific health needs. To instruct these referred patients a L3 Certificate in Exercise Referral is required. This can lead into further specialisation with L4 qualifications and extensive community-based working.
Advising on Nutrition and Lifestyle
There are some big organisations offering classes where you can meet up, get weighed and receive tailored food advice. Some of our graduates have set up their own weekly sessions helping clients access nutritional advice as well as physical activity. Often clients claim to “hate going to the gym” but benefit immensely from these tailored programmes.
One of Amac’s graduates has created a prosperous business for herself by leading walking sessions in her local parks. She has amassed quite a following in her local community and has enabled a wide range of people to improve their fitness. She can adapt her sessions to help clients with different fitness needs either on a one-to-one or group basis. However, it is important to be aware that many public parks are now charging for licences if you want to use them for personal training or exercise sessions. Check with your local authority to see if this is the case where you are.
Bootcamp Fitness Instructing
Lots of our graduates have had success in running bootcamps and, like walk leading, often utilise local park areas. The intensity and complexity of the session tends to be quite demanding and attracts clients who want to push their own fitness boundaries. Less intense sessions, or offering a variety of ‘levels’ can attract a more diverse client base.
Some graduates go on to supplement their personal training income by working with local football, rugby and tennis clubs. They help improve sport-specific fitness and performance for the players involved.
Corporate Wellness/ Fitness
There is an increasing trend for large companies to take interest in ensuring the health and well-being of their staff. Forming links with large businesses, offering personal training, nutritional advice and stress management techniques can be very lucrative.
We are always happy to advise on the courses needed to follow a particular career path. Please also see our sister site www.allactive.co.uk for further qualifications we offer.
Age UK (2015) ‘Later Life in the United Kingdom’ [online], Available from: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/Factsheets/Later_Life_UK_factsheet.pdf?dtrk=true