Becoming a fitness director generally requires the ability to manage all aspects of a health club or a fitness center that is either privately owned or part of a larger company. If you want to become a fitness director, your should have a good understanding of physical fitness, have good communication skills, have some business sense and be a good leader. A bachelor's degree or master's degree also could be required for this position.
Fitness centers or clubs typically have an exercise area and other amenities such as a spa, sauna, sports courts, a weight lifting area and a swimming pool. Fitness centers also typically offer specialized classes in activities such as aerobics, yoga and stationary cycling. Additionally, they might provide services from personal trainers that are included in membership fees or can be purchased for an additional cost.
The role of the fitness director is to oversee all of these programs. A director generally is also responsible for marketing, increasing membership, maintaining and creating programs for new member orientations, conducting fitness assessments, hiring fitness instructors and other employees and deciding what equipment to offer. A fitness director also might set up a schedule for maintaining the equipment.
The specific job requirements and desired qualifications can vary, depending on the size and scope of the fitness center. Large centers might have several managers who each specialize in a different area of the center’s operation. Like any management position, a bachelor’s degree likely is a requirement to become a fitness director. In some cases, a master’s degree and prior experience might be required. Appropriate areas of study include business management, athletic training and exercise physiology.
If you have superior communication skills and a strong understanding of physical fitness, you might be a good candidate to become a fitness director. Excellent management skills, leadership abilities and the ability to motivate others are also desirable traits. This position involves working closely with staff members and club members, so an outgoing, dynamic personality is essential.
A good business sense is required to become a fitness director. Often, the director is held accountable for the profitability of the fitness center. This requires a strong sales ability.
A fitness director also must ensure that the center adheres to strict health and safety standards. A background in teaching exercise classes is often a prerequisite to becoming a fitness director. Some exercise instructors or personal trainers eventually work their way into management. It generally is expected that a fitness director will be in good physical condition and project an appearance of health and vitality.
The demand for fitness directors should be strong as more people begin to recognize and act upon the importance of staying in shape. Two main reasons for this trend of growing fitness awareness are an aging population and concerns about childhood obesity. Some businesses have addressed this issue by providing on-site fitness centers for their employees. Another aspect is the need for special fitness programs to help children get into shape. These programs generally augment any physical education programs in schools.