How do you transform your time spent grinding rails, throwing passes or practicing routines into a pay cheque that could take you around the world?
Consider a career in the rapidly expanding fitness industry. With more people turning to physical activity as a way to stay in shape or heal their bodies, this industry could give you the chance to get paid to play.
Professionals in the fitness industry - from personal trainers, to health counsellors and coaches - have the opportunity to work in a variety of fields with different people across Canada and internationally. The industry is much more than sweating to tunes from the early 90s in step aerobic classes. A career in fitness could mean that you teach classes in pole dancing, kickboxing, hot yoga or rock climbing. Maybe you will work at a gym specifically designed for men, women or families only. Some trainers work with people in the water, others take them outside to scale cliffs. Some work with moms and their new babies, others work in senior care homes or in rehabilitation with people who are slowly learning to use their bodies again after an injury.
Grant Brown knows first-hand the difference movement can make.
The current fitness supervisor with Recreation Oak Bay in Victoria, British Columbia used to work in rehabilitation and help people who were recovering from injury. One patient, who broke her pelvis in eight places after she was hit by a car, first saw Brown on crutches. She could barely walk. After three months of rehabilitation, she could move around on her own.
""People who work in this industry don't see it as work. This is a really enjoyable industry because you get to make a difference," he said.
Brown turned his love of sports into a career after he received a football scholarship to Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. He later completed a bachelor's degree in Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia before moving to Vancouver Island. His decision to graduate before pursuing a career in fitness meant he has the qualifications to work in a variety of fields. Brown encourages anyone interested in fitness to pursue postsecondary education in a related field.
It's an idea echoed by many people involved in the industry. With so much opportunity, the fitness industry varies greatly when it comes to qualifications. Currently, there are no formal regulations guiding the industry in Canada. Denise Mercier, program director for the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) encourages people interested in a career in fitness to do their homework, research their interests and talk to people already involved in the field. CSEP is a voluntary organization involved in the scientific study of exercise physiology, exercise biochemistry, fitness and health.
"If you enjoy exercise and physical activity, this industry may be the place for you," she said.
Mercier says students should take courses in biology, anatomy and physiology, and pursue a university or college degree before starting a career in fitness. They should also research the number of