FIT FOR A FRESH ROLE
THE number of people working in fitness has more than doubled in the past 10 years and further growth is forecast.
There are 26,200 fitness instructors and personal trainers nationally, expected to increase to at least 28,000 in 2017, but those who enter the industry straight out of school may struggle.
Anne Callahan, 59, credits her busy workload as a YMCA personal trainer to the fact she has life experience.
“If a lady wants to talk to me about their pregnancy, well I’ve had five children,” she says.
“Personal training is about a relationship that you set up with the clients.”
Callahan had been in the finance industry for 20 years when she had an epiphany.
“When you look after people’s money, it’s a very amoral situation,” she says.
“I wanted to do something worthwhile.” She now earns a third of what she did as a financial planner but says it is the best thing she’s done.
It took Michael Byrne, 34, about a decade after he finished school to figure out what he wanted to work as.
He fell into hospitality but it did not satisfy his craving to make a positive impact on people’s lives. His next choices were between becoming a plumber, working at a fuel supplier or studying fitness.
“At one stage my parents and family asked me, ‘Can you make a career out of (fitness)?’,” he says. “I said I’ll try it for a few years and see how I end up. I think it’s important to have a plan of attack if you decide to do a career change.”
PEOPLE POWER: Michael Byrnerne and Anne
Callahan with client Ashlea Michau at a YMCA
recreation centre. Picture: STEVE TANNER