Patty Markham of Huntington Beach lost 100 pounds in a year by working out. She trained at a Crossfit gym, ran on the beach, and practiced yoga three times a week. When she lost her weight, the 48-year-old high school teacher quit her job and opened a yoga studio with a partner.
“Health and fitness were never a part of my life growing up, and I was always too busy teaching my students to go to the gym,” she said. “Once I started to work out I realized that not only was I missing out on something wonderful which may have saved my life, but I had found my passion.”
Markham isn’t the only one taking advantage of the never-ending workout craze. Jobs in the fitness industry are still growing, reports the U.S. Department of Labor. The median annual wage for fitness trainers and instructors was $31,720 in May 2012. Employment of fitness trainers and instructors is projected to grow 13 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
“As businesses and insurance organizations continue to recognize the benefits of health and fitness programs for their employees, incentives to join gyms or other types of health clubs is expected to increase the need for fitness trainers and instructors,” states the Department of Labor.
Markham doesn’t teach yoga, she is behind the scenes, ordering yoga clothing and mats, and being the bookkeeper. But she takes daily classes and plans on becoming certified so she can eventually become an instructor.
UC San Diego Recreation offers a Yoga Teacher Training Program which consists of 200+ hours of training.
“Yoga instructors don’t make a ton of money, but so many people benefit from it that you can’t help but feel great about your job,” Markham said. “Teaching students was a wonderful career, but this is my second chance to do something that helps people of all ages.”
Most fitness careers require some sort of training whether you plan on becoming a Pilate’s instructor, a Crossfit trainer, or a wellness coach.
The National Commission for Certifying Agencies is a good resource that lists accredited certifying organizations.
Other jobs in the fitness industry are group fitness instructors, corporate fitness professionals, Pilate’s instructors and fitness managers.
Paul Talbert of La Mesa works at the San Diego International Airport as a baggage handler, but he is also a personal trainer working out of his home.
“I used to do Crossfit, which I think is a great workout program, but I have my day-job and working out of my house works into my schedule,” he said. “I get a lot of people from the airport coming over and learning how to not only work out and lose weight, but they get stronger so there are fewer injuries on the job.”
Talbert said that the money he makes training from home has earned him enough to by a motorcycle.
“I bought a Harley last year with my money from my training job,” he said. “So it’s working out great as a side job.”
Bevra Dobson of Dana Point is training to become a wellness coach, which is someone who works with clients to better their nutrition, fitness, and weight reduction.
“I’m a registered dietitian, and I worked in a hospital for a few years, but it wasn’t what I was looking for in a job,” Dobson said. “It was kind of depressing. The people I was helping really didn’t want to change their lifestyle. They were being forced to do it. Now I’m training to be a wellness coach because the people I will be helping really want to change. I’m pretty excited.”
Dobson said that her degree and the certification as a wellness coach will pay off.
“I can charge around $100, so I can actually make money,” she said. “It might even be enough to start paying off my student loans.”