How to get into health and fitness industry
July 18, 2009 7:40 AM   Subscribe

I am interested to hear about opinions about the health and wellness industry and potential jobs. I have been in corp. america for almost 10 years and tired of the inability to help and make a difference in peoples lives.

I have over 20 years of athletics through team sports, individual sports, gym time, and other outdoor adventures. I have always been interested in nutrition, personal training, health, and getting through to people about the importance of their health. Most of the books sitting around my place have to do with things like muscle anatomy, strength training, nutrition, stretching, etc...

The challenge is figuring out if I need to go back and get a biology degree? If I should just jump in and do personal training? Or if there are other alternatives out there?

The biggest catalyst lately for a change has been this rekindled affair with working out/getting back in shape and the realization that corp. america is not a good fit for me.
posted by ecco21 to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
After years of working in advertising and really, really hating it, I went back to school and became a physical therapist. It took five years, and it was hard. It was the best decision I ever made. Now I get to work in a field that is continually fascinating to me, with good, dedicated, smart people. I wake up and look forward to going to work. And the job market for PTs is really good. Feel free to message me if you have questions about physical therapy as a possible track for you.
posted by jennyjenny at 8:19 AM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


FWIW, corporate personal training (e.g. 24-hour fitness, gold's gym, etc.) has just as much corporate mentality as any other corporate job. Those employers must necessarily emphasize, sales, marketing, and macro business analysis, often to the marginalization of the core business of "making a difference in people's lives." There are some great trainers in that environment, but they succeed despite the environment.

Of course, other avenues (indie training, nutrition, physical therapy) might be right for you.
posted by GPF at 9:15 AM on July 18, 2009


What about adventure-based youth work. It would be a great use of your existing skills and it definitely meets the "making a difference" criteria.

One problem I see within the "health and well-being" industry is that many of the programmes our there are based on promoting things which have no scientific validity - there's a lot of money to be made from pseudo-science. This reality might present an ethical problem for you.
posted by Lolie at 10:05 AM on July 18, 2009


Anecdotal, but: it seems like every occupational therapist I know is unusually enthusiastic about her work, and apparently it's a profession that (like physical therapy) is in very high demand.
posted by aka burlap at 10:34 AM on July 18, 2009


The challenge is figuring out if I need to go back and get a biology degree? If I should just jump in and do personal training? Or if there are other alternatives out there?

You might consider making an appointment with a local uni guidance counselor to discuss your options. (For example - several personal trainers I've worked with in the past have degrees in either kinesiology or exercise physiology. Perhaps you could investigate a bit into those areas?)
posted by arachnid at 10:42 AM on July 18, 2009


About 6 years ago I was feeling much like you are now. I worked at the big nameless corporation that would have kept on going whether or not I showed up at the office. I also had a background in sports.

I quit the corporate life and after a little refresher in my sport I became a coach. I think there are many opportunities out there for you as a personal trainer and even better a strength trainer for kids.

Parents of kids in highly competitive sports such as football and hockey are always looking for an edge and I have found that there are many facilities that cater to kids.

Not only are they usually more committed to their chosen sports than adults, they are a ton more fun to work with.

You will feel like you are making a difference right away!!!
posted by yfatah at 2:09 PM on July 18, 2009


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