18/02/2009 - 22:00

Personal training still working out

18/02/2009 - 22:00

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DESPITE the downturn in the economy, fitness enthusiasts will still pay extra for personal training, according to industry experts.

DESPITE the downturn in the economy, fitness enthusiasts will still pay extra for personal training, according to industry experts.

Next Generation Kings Park general manager Andy Bray, Fuller Fitness owner Matt Fuller, and University of Western Australia Fitness Centre manager Rick Wolters say the most popular way to get fit these days is with a trainer.

And outdoors training programs are becoming more popular, which the fitness centre owners see as a growth area for their staff.

"One of the things we see is a lot more group personal training outdoors, making use of the environment," Mr Bray told WA Business News.

"If you're round the city or Kings Park first thing in the morning you'll see lots of groups exercising together, that is an emerging trend."

Mr Wolters said members liked the encouragement to commit, and the chance to get away from the office.

He said they could train indoors, run around on the ground or go down to Matilda Bay to exercise.

According to Mr Fuller, people are favouring personal training as a way to feel good, while reducing spending on more expensive luxuries.

"We think it's because a lot of people didn't have the money to go away on holidays in December, so they're putting it into personal training instead," he said.

Fitness centres are hoping that the downturn in the resources sector will help to ease the skilled labour shortage, which had emerged as one of their biggest problems in recent years.

"We lost a lot of staff that went to the mines," Mr Wolters said.

"It was mainly personal training staff that they contracted out. The mining companies are very aware that they're obliged to look after their staff and their responsibility is to do that.

"Those guys are fly-in, fly out, same as the mining staff but companies recognise they need a specialist to look after the workers when they're up there. We suffered from losing staff to that."

Mr Bray said there had been an increase in the number of skilled, experienced job applicants in recent times.

Overall, however, Mr Fuller said, a more general trend in staffing issues was the substandard quality of recent training or education graduates.

"What we've found with grads from the unis or grad sciences, or the courses with sports or associated companies, is that they have no knowledge of how to put programs together, so their practical knowledge is no good," he said.

"They might know the parts of the body but they don't know the stretches or exercises for that area.''

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