Coming into 2017 and fitness is all around us and as we are getting more polarised as a society, more of us are taking up fitness later into life and we are getting more polarized as a society as we are either getting more healthy and active or more obese and inactive than ever before, so it seems now more of us are choosing a lane. Here at Origym, an education course provider for the fitness sector, this has been reflected in our student population of who is actually starting to become the next generation of gym instructors or personal trainers and it perhaps is not what you think it might be. Director of Learning for Origym, Stephanie Roberts said “The average age of those completing the personal training diploma has gone up in recent years, with the average age being thirty one last year for our graduates. Most people assume that PT courses are dominated by young men aged between eighteen and twenty-two, however the market has changed and more and more people over the age of 40 are taking up fitness and now making it the focal point of their income.
WHY HAS THIS CHANGED?
We will examine why more people over the age of forty are now turning to fitness as not just a lifestyle choice but as a possible career and what factors have influenced this surge in recent years.
Fitness courses are far more accessible and affordable these days than they used to be, if we go back ten years when there were fewer course providers and colleges offering fitness qualifications in the UK you would have to pay over three thousand pounds minimum to get your accredited fitness certification, but with the market larger now than it used to be there are so many providers offering the same fitness certification for far less. This makes it more open to those looking for a quick career switch, to run alongside their full time job and more accessible to those who could not afford to previously complete their fitness industry education. The costs barrier being drastically lowered allowing people who already have established careers, but who have a passion for fitness to purchase a personal trainer course to run alongside their current career path for a justifiable rate has naturally led to an increase in those who are over forty becoming a personal trainer.
The role of social media has been very influential too, in that fitness related profiles, videos, articles and blogs seem to dominate platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Social media gives us exposure to see what other people are achieving and often leads to inspiring ideas for our own ambitions. When you see the fitness results a friend or family member has posted, this naturally generates the attitude “If they can, I can” resulting in more people either taking their first footsteps into a gym or in this case changing their career to becoming a fitness professional.
The market has been craving for “older” personal trainers to have one to one and group classes from. Over 70% of clients are generally female for the average personal trainer and over forty years old and these clients struggle to relate to personal trainers who are in their early 20s and are male. This is because personal training is so much more than just learning to train off an individual for an hour per week. It is about building relations and rapport both within the session itself and outside of personal training time. Clients identify better with people of their own gender and age group, plus additional life skills that have been developed through experience stands them in better stead for making a personal training business a success.
The government is doing their part too. They have identified that re-training for individuals over the age of twenty-four into new careers is important and that fitness is a career path that personal training is a career direction that would benefit society. This has generated funding programmes that people who do not have a degree or the equivalent can retrain through their twenty-four plus loan scheme making the financial transition into the fitness sector much easier. The scheme means that you only start paying back once you have earned over 21k per year and has given the opportunity to thousands of people who have always wanted to become a personal trainer the ability to make that transition.
Many of us that are over the age of forty who would love to make that career switch into health and fitness have commitments and ties that can inhibit us from following our dreams. With mortgagees, kids, full time jobs amongst others, re-training and getting qualified to become a personal trainer seems like a unrealistic proposition, especially on how fitness courses used to be conducted. Now, through technological advancements in e-learning platforms, apps and electronic communications, completing the personal training course online from the comfort of your own home and at a pace that suits you has allowed people to qualify without feeling pressurised or that it may jeopardize their other commitments.It is never too late to start something new, whether that being in fitness or other elements of your life. The fitness sector still has some work to do to encourage those over the age of forty to become a fitness professional as often people feel their age has a form of stigma to clients that puts them off applying to do the course. As we have discussed the market says otherwise and with enhanced people skills developed through having more experience and life skills, which is the core to every good quality personal trainer arsenal, you should have a good platform to build from.