Svelte figures but fit for a fall?

Try some new angles: Take Shape Health and Fitness owner Tracey Wright with gym manager Tori Daile.WITHIN 500 metres of Craig Harper’s bayside house there are, he says, six gyms or personal training studios. Mr Harper, a trainer, who has owned a studio in Brighton for 22 years, says the personal training industry has ”gone through the roof. It’s out of control.”
Nanjing Night Net

Melbourne is in the throes of a fitness craze. Personal trainers are a growth industry and new fitness outlets are opening in empty warehouses and shops all over town.

A Fitness Australia analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics labour figures shows that the number of registered exercise professionals nationally has leapt by 13,000 in the six years to 2011, to 30,000.

And an industry analysis by market research company IBISWorld found there were 7281 fitness-related businesses in Australia in 2011-12, compared with 5617 in 2002-03. The category includes gyms but also clothing and equipment outlets and for-profit sporting clubs.

The IBISWorld report predicts that increased disposable income, leisure time and health awareness will boost the figure to more than 8600 in 2016-17.

Mr Harper said the industry had been ”on an upward spiral for a long time”, fuelled by consumer demand, but the growth was not sustainable.

It was getting to the point of there being ”too many to survive and thrive”. He thought the big chains with ”less intimacy and less customer service, less connection and less personalised attention” would struggle.

Indeed, in June there was an industry health scare when the giant Fitness First chain was revealed to be heavily in debt and 333 Capital, the advisory arm of insolvency firm KordaMentha, was appointed to sell 24 of its 97 Australian gyms.

Heidelberg trainer Darren McGinty said fitness schools – more than 130, according to Fitness Australia – were ”pumping out” personal trainers from short courses and promoting gyms as a lucrative career. But while the graduates were willing to ”have a crack”, many knew little about running a business.

His own ”f.i.t. (fit in time)” studio has been in Heidelberg’s main street, Burgundy Street, for six years, but two rivals from big chains have opened in the street in the past six months.

Both offer 24-hour opening, fewer staff, lower fees and a shiny image.

”They’re 150 metres apart with exactly the same offering. How can that be sustainable in that area?” asked Mr McGinty, who says he offers a more long-term service of training, nutrition and lifestyle advice. ”It’s like a few years ago, every 40 feet in a shopping strip there was a juice bar … it’s the fad du jour.”

But Tracey Wright, owner of the independent Take Shape Health and Fitness, said there was room for new players.

Her business opened in Alphington on June 1 and already has attracted 150 clients.

It is four doors down from another new gym, the 24-hour Anytime Fitness, and across the road from a Pilates studio.

Ms Wright said while Anytime was more conventional with weights and cardio, hers emphasised group fitness and personal training.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.