Fitness centers and gyms are beginning to bounce back from their pandemic low points. That's good news for millions of job seekers as the sector is expected to grow 15% by 2029. Instructors who picked up additional skills in remote teaching can expand their job opportunities even further. Those entering the field for the first time will find ample opportunity to work.
Whether you're interested in a part-time job at a gym or teaching yoga from your living room, there are many ways to begin or grow a career in fitness.
4 fitness jobs women can get now
1. Fitness trainer. Fitness trainers help clients perform various exercises while minimizing the risk of injury, maintaining equipment, and monitoring their clients' progress as needed. Some oversee groups/classes; others focus on one-on-one training. Their median pay is about $20 per hour.
You will need to get certified in your area of specialty, and some employers may prefer candidates who have an associate or bachelor's degree in a related field like kinesiology or physical education.
2. Yoga instructor. There are many types of yoga, so you must first decide which style you'd like to practice. Gentle yoga, vinyasa yoga and hot yoga are just a few options. You must then complete a 200-hour program accredited by the Yoga Alliance, then apply for a Registered Yoga Teacher credential. Finally, you should get certified in CPR.
3. Pilates instructor. Pilates instructors take a similar path to yoga instructors. You must first choose between classical and contemporary pilates. Once you've selected a route, you should decide which areas of pilates you'd like to specialize in to know which certification is right for you.
Then, you'd study, pass the exam and become an instructor. Some instructors purchase liability insurance to protect you against claims related to injuries clients may experience while training with you.
4. Zumba instructor. Zumba has a lower bar of entry than yoga or pilates. The Zumba certification process can take anywhere from a full day to a weekend, and the only prerequisite is being 18 years of age and attending any Zumba Instructor Training. You can currently take the 10-hour training online at your own pace. Once you have your certification, you can find a job, though you may want to consider learning CPR and picking up liability insurance.
How to write a fitness resume
Now you're ready to write your resume. There are three different resume formats you'll want to consider:
Functional resume format: Best when you're new to the industry or have significant gaps in employment
When you have no experience in fitness, a functional resume might be right for you. Highlighting your certifications and skills (like the ability to teach and motivate others) at the top of your resume and downplaying your work history will help draw attention to the factors that will land you the job.
Here's an example of what a functional fitness resume might look like:
Combination resume format: Perfect when you want to put equal emphasis on your skills and work experience
Combination resumes are great if you'd like to stress both your skills and your work experience. Throughout the resume, you should highlight your transferable skills like patience, motivation, communication, emotional intelligence, and thoughtfulness regarding health and safety.
Here's an example of what a combination resume might look like:
Chronological resume format: Great when you can show solid career progression and clear achievements
If you've worked in fitness before, the chronological resume is right for you. This format puts work experience front and center to show potential employers you have been on this career path for some time.
Here's an example of what a chronological resume might look like:
How to explain employment gaps on a fitness resume
Employers will expect work gaps on a fitness resume after a near-total shutdown of gyms and fitness centers around the country. Additionally, many people who work in fitness do so on a part-time basis, so inconsistent employment has never been frowned upon.
That said, you should be prepared to discuss what you learned during your downtime, just in case an employer asks:
- Make sure to mention whether you did any fitness work remotely, or outdoors. Those experiences underline your adaptability and willingness to learn.
- Most types of fitness instruction require certifications. Even if you've just started your courses, you should mention it somewhere on your cover letter and resume.
- Be ready to discuss exercise routines and body knowledge you've picked up outside of work during quarantine.
Find a fitness job with a flexible schedule
Most fitness jobs will offer some flexibility in the form of variable and part-time schedules. If you find a good studio, they may be willing to work with your scheduling needs. That said, studios are open during specific hours — you won't find overnight shifts, for example — so scheduling flexibility, especially if you need to work full-time, has limitations.
Only time will tell how much fitness instruction remains remote after the pandemic. Those who work in person often travel to different gyms or their clients' homes to lead classes or personal training sessions.
You may want to consider fitness teaching as a part-time complement to other types of work. In the end, the job search is about finding not just any job but a job that's right for you. Creating a strong resume matched to each job description will give you an advantage over similarly qualified candidates.