Scope of the Fitness Industry
The health and fitness industry has become extremely diverse in the range of services and facilities it offers; varying from large scale leisure centres and gymnasiums, to individual personal trainers who travel from one client to the next in their cars., Some services specialize in offering structured classes, others are informal; some cater for a particular demographic, and others for anyone.
Classes for Mature Older People
This group of people can make up a great proportion of your clientèle. They generally do not like loud music, so keep it soft or at a medium level. Most also prefer low-key surroundings so avoid bright lights, mirrors, or posters of super-fit young people for example. Older participants are often more concerned about joint movement and flexibility than weight loss and can relate better to an older instructor who shows respect and individual attention to their requirements. It is very common that this type of population attends for social reasons - to meet others and relax.
For Professional Athletes or Competitive Sports People
This can be a hard group to cater for because they can vary considerably in the type of sports they are involved in, and elite athletes may require very specialised fitness components. The triathlete, swimmer, runner or aerobics-orientated person will want a hard, advanced class to challenge their fitness.
The type of sport and the fitness components to be improved will indicate the type of training employed. You may find elite athletes require personal training, one-on-one, to best achieve their goals.
Personal training has become more and more popular over the past couple of decades, but it is expensive, and so tends to be limited to those who can afford it. However, it is a great way to increase motivation and to improve knowledge and technique with workouts. Personal trainers usually have up-to-date knowledge on the latest techniques and research done in the fitness industry. For a hefty fee, some companies offer a live-in personal training service for several months whereby the trainer lives with the exerciser and takes control of what they eat and how and when they exercise. Other services might involve a trainer accompanying an individual at their place of employment to oversee their diet and exercise.
These type of clients can generally be catered for a little easier than other groups. Generally, their cardiovascular fitness needs to be increased, and their basic fitness components of strength, flexibility and muscular endurance can be improved as well.
Attending classes with easy-to-follow fitness routines will allow beginners to keep up and enhance their skills almost immediately. A basic low-impact class with a caring and understanding instructor will be a good start to any beginners fitness regime.
Younger persons are becoming more involved in fitness classes. Fitness classes for children are extremely important for the following reasons.
- There may be low levels of physical education training and sports education in schools.
- Increased concern for overweight and obese children and adolescents.
- Poor diet and exercise regimes.
One of the problems is the lack of health and fitness centres offering programmes for these customers. Weight-training for children and younger teenagers is not recommended, therefore fitness/aerobics programmes can be a great way of ensuring that this group gets suitable exercise.
Owners/managers of gyms should expand their timetable to include specific classes for younger children and teenagers. Instructors should increase their knowledge of children's fitness. Teachers need to promote extra curricular activities and parents should encourage their children to participate in more physical activity, especially if the children are not actively involved in sport or other physical activities.
A suitable programme for children would be as follows:
1) 3-5 Year Olds: 30 Minutes
- A simple, easy-to-follow warm-up using a game or simple aerobic moves.
- No more than 3 moves should be used.
For example: step touch, flick kick and grapevine.
These moves are easy to give descriptions with. For example, when completing a flick kick emphasise flicking your boot off or kicking a football.
- Other components of the class should be made up of stretching, shapes (arch position, push-up position, straddle sit, etc).
- Simple skills include: log rolls (sideways rolling), forward rolls, and bunny hops (a tuck movement halfway to handstand) - just like a 'Gymbaroo' class.
- To conclude the class a simple routine could be learnt like 'the Wiggles ™.'
2) 6-13 Year Olds: 45-60 Minutes
- Easy to follow warm-ups with each lesson adding, linking and combining movements together to make routines or sequences.
- Fun, active games using the maximum participation concept (no elimination or standing still at any one time).
- Stretching, even learning to do the splits.
- An aerobics routine, where the children suggest movements they would like to put together into a sequence. This can be practiced many times over to increase cardiovascular endurance.
- Circuits are a great idea to keep children moving and on task.
The following example represents a great circuit and depending on how many children are in the class, the groups can range from 1- 5 individuals.
- Skipping with rope
- Star jumps
- Abdominal curls
- Flick kicks
- Weave running laps around cones
- Superman position (laying on the stomach with legs and arms in the air)
- Standing long jumps up and down room
- Trampoline running
At each station, participants can go for 30, 45 or 60 seconds. Complete the circuit once recording their repetitions and then try it again with each participant trying to beat their original score. This is a great way for them to compete against themselves.
The class could finish off with a routine that incorporates a theme.
For example: Using the song 'YMCA' by the group Village People, you can get the children to do the actions on the chorus. Obviously, choose a song that they like.
3) 13 Years and Over: 45-60 Minutes
This type of class is fun and rewarding. Begin with a warm-up, then a cardiovascular section (high and low impact) with simple aerobic movements. Each week you can add them together to make combinations and mini routines.
The main aim is to keep the class going for at least 20 minutes. A circuit similar to children's programmes can be used, and movements can be made harder.
For example: change the push-ups to a full position on the toes. Keep this going for at least 15-20 minutes. This 40 minute cardiovascular section should be enough to increase fitness if it is kept continuous.
Conclude the class with some strength and muscle conditioning exercises. Some abdominal, back and push-ups should be used. Try to reinforce good technique, strengthening muscles. Work on strengthening all abdominal muscles especially ones for posture.
For Intellectually or Physically Disabled People
Programmes for this group are extremely important and popular. Fun, social and stimulating programmes will allow many people with disabilities to get their body and mind active. Programmes for people in wheelchairs can include activities like ball-catching and throwing, basketball, soccer, and other sports that can be easily modified.
For individuals with more movement, activities using leg and arm coordination and fitness exercises can be implemented into the programme.
If you are interested in working in the fitness industry, why not have a look at some of our health, fitness and recreation courses.
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