The profession of the administrator of a fitness club is currently as popular as the profession of a fitness trainer. As I already said in previous articles, the active growth of the fitness industry is steadily increasing the demand for employees of various positions, among which one of the most topical is the position of an administrator of a fitness club. This is the second article from the series about the work of the administrator, in which we will try to understand some of the intricacies of this profession.
In the previous article “Who is a fitness club administrator”, we have dealt with the very concept of an administrator, and also dealt with his job description, that is, with a full list of provisions, rights and obligations that are assigned to a person who starts performing the relevant functions. Here, I will try to talk about the career opportunities of the administrator, so that’s the way for you to understand where he will begin his career in the industry and to what positions he can grow. Then, in the next article I will talk directly about the process of finding a job in a fitness club and also about some nuances that are related to this profession. In particular, in the process of presentation of the material, we will methodically bust all sorts of myths that existing among contenders for the administrator’s position. But first things first.
So, let’s imagine that you decided to get a job in a fitness club for the position of administrator of the reception. Of course, rather sooner than later you’ll be puzzled with question – is it worth it? Does this profession have career opportunities, or is it a boring and monotonous job for many years? Well, the prospects are actually there, although in fact everything depends on your personal qualities. However, this is not something new at all and concerns literally any profession, both within the fitness industry and beyond.
The profession of the administrator
It is believed that the easiest point of entry into the fitness industry is precisely the post of administrator of the fitness club. Why is that? By and large, if we don’t take into account those employees of the club who have no relation to the training process or its organization (technical staff, massage therapists, bath attendants, etc.), then we get two categories of personnel – the coaching staff and the administrative one. Herein you remember that we consider only the initial point of entry into the profession.
Now let’s compare them. What are the requirements for an instructor or personal trainer of a fitness club? He doesn’t just have to, but is obliged to know the anatomy, physiology, nutritiology, possess the skills of working with functional disorders of the musculoskeletal system, understand power or other sports equipment, have at least minimal experience in this position and so on. As you can see, even at the initial stage of entry into the profession of a fitness trainer, the requirements for him are already quite high.
In turn, on the position of the administrator of a fitness club, often, there are no mandatory requirements at all, there are only recommended or desirable ones. The “mandatory” requirements for the knowledge and skills of the person taking the post of an administrator are virtually nominal – it is better that they are, but if there are none of them, then don’t worry. The work of the fitness club administrator, as I said in the previous article (see link above), is to apply and improve communication skills, that is, first of all, to communicate (with clients, with employees, with management). If you could speak pretty much competently, know how to smile, work with the phone and handle with computer, then keep in mind that you already have every chance to get a job as an administrator of a fitness club. Everything else you will learn (or you will be taught) in the process.
Career path of the administrator
So, before you make a final decision on whether to go to work as an administrator or not, it will be equally important to get straight with potential career opportunities. First of all, you need to understand what will be your starting point in this profession. And the starting point will be the most simple and elementary work at the entrance to the club, behind the reception desk with a telephone and a computer. This position is called – the administrator of the central reception of the fitness club, or simply the administrator of the fitness club. The next step will be the position of senior administrator, then the club manager and then the director.
TIP. In each particular fitness club or network of clubs, the hierarchy of positions may look completely different, and is often significantly different, both in small private and large network fitness clubs. However, the basic model of an administrator’s career growth will often look exactly the way I describe it here.
There’s an opinion that, unlike the profession of a fitness trainer, there is no horizontal growth in the professional development of an administrator. The point is that there is a so-called vertical growth, when an employee rises in positions, and horizontal growth, when he improves his skills in a chosen field of activity. In fact, development both vertical and horizontal takes place in almost any profession, because learning and improving is the basis for the professional development of any person, whatever position he holds. However, we will give a better explanation of this statement in our particular case.
- Vertical career development means growth to managerial positions. By choosing such a development path, the administrator after the initial position is growing to position of a senior administrator, who already manages the work of the junior in rank administrators. Then, depending on the organizational structure, there may be the position of manager of a fitness club, which at this stage includes the management of its departments (gym, group classes, aqua-zone and martial arts). The manager is followed by the position of a director, who is already responsible for all organizational, administrative and legal aspects of the sports institution’s activities. In some cases after, there is the position of regional manager (all clubs in one region/state), then the position of network manager (all clubs in the country) and in quite rare cases – the position of a partner, a person who along with the business owner invests money in its development and is not directly involved in the operational activities of the network.
- Horizontal career development means the path to continuous learning and improvement without the goal of occupying a higher position. In fact, by remaining in the same position, a person can professionally grow to a teacher of special courses (when he teaches beginners), above which there is the position of lecturer of the industry events (for experienced administrators). The highest level in professional development is considered to be the lecturer of international industry events. This is the sanctuary of the elite – people who have reached such a high level in their industry and in their profession that their knowledge is in demand even abroad. As a rule, horizontal career development may not depend at all on the internal hierarchy of the fitness club, which means that every such specialist at different stages of his career often goes free and is not tied anymore to a specific work schedule in one particular club.
Area of competence of the administrator
Anyway, the fitness club administrator is just as serious profession as many others. You can come here with a minimum set of knowledge, skills and qualities, but this doesn’t mean at all that they must or will always remain so. The one who devotes the most time to self-development and self-education is moving as fast as possible in a career. Increasing your qualifications, you thereby increase your value as a specialist in the labor market. Anyway, whatever path of development you choose, in any case, at least two positions are obligatory – the receptionist (junior) and the senior administrator. So let’s talk about them.
- Junior administrator of the fitness club. The initial position for the entry into the industry. The employee of the club, whose level of training, initiative and responsibility is rather small. At this stage, the duties of the administrator includes greeting guests of the club, giving locker room keys, conducting presentations, selling membership, receiving phone calls and working in CRM. The junior administrator often owns only the basic set of concepts and definitions regarding the services provided by the club, which is generally enough to deliver to the existing and potential customers all the necessary information in a form accessible for them.
- Senior administrator of the fitness club. Experience, knowledge and skills at this level are already much deeper, and the level of responsibility is higher. The senior administrator already has experience in resolving conflict situations, clearly knows his rights and obligations, strictly complies with the rules of etiquette and business communication, owns techniques of persuasion, negotiation, sales, often understands aspects of psychological interaction with clients, and also monitors the work of junior administrators. The senior administrator knows all employees of the club by their names, positions and experience. He participates in the development of algorithms and scripts of the work of administrators, builds a schedule of work shifts, and sends them to educating and training courses.
The profession of the administrator of a fitness club is very interesting and multifaceted. Even if at first glance it may seem to you that this is a person who tied to one workplace, in fact, this is not always the truth. In case when the flow of clients in the club is large enough, the administrator practically doesn’t sit still, he communicates with one clients, sells goods and services to others, gives the keys to the locker room to the thirds and conduct presentations for the fourth. Such a picture is especially characteristic in the evening hours, when the working day ends and people en masse striving to get in shape.
At the same time, during lull hours, when there are practically no customers, this is a great time to devote to reading some kind of educational literature, listening to audio books or watching video lessons or lectures on the Internet. In any case, if you are interested in this profession, and you are striving to grow and develop in it, you will have practically no free time to screw around and aimlessly poke in social networks in between your main duties. If you are interested in a profession, you develop yourself in it, if not – you leave it. But in any case, everyone who wants to try their hand at this craft is definitely worth doing it.
Author – Felix Palmer