Interview with Wu Chun on Fitness

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Photo courtesy of GQ Taiwan

A discussion about a career in fitness with Wu Chun.

Fitness Zone is the largest fitness centre in Brunei. It has been in operation for over 10 years and is also one of the pioneers of the fitness revolution that is happening today in Brunei. It has a membership database of 12,000, 60 staff members and 30 fitness coaches.

We spoke to the owner, Wu Chun about career prospects in the fitness industry and his view on the growing fitness interest in our country.

Why is the fitness industry a good career choice to consider?
There are very few professions you can embark on that make a direct difference to another person’s life. Being in the fitness industry is definitely one of them.

Doctors provide cures for patients but a fitness instructor helps with the prevention of the disease. And we firmly believe that prevention is always much better and cheaper than cure!

At Fitness Zone, our slogan is “Changing Life Through Fitness”. We truly believe that this industry can bring in so much positive energy, which makes it truly meaningful!

What kind of career path is available in the fitness industry in Brunei?
The career opportunities in the fitness industry are endless. This is what makes it so interesting. There has never been a more dynamic period in the fitness industry than today.

Clients are looking for a variety of programs that fit their lifestyles. If you are looking for contemplative and spiritual exercise, there’s Yoga. Specialised training for specific sports, there’s functional training. For a fun workout, there’s Les Mills, TRX and Zumba.

Then, there is a more physiological side of the fitness industry which requires certified nutritionists, dieticians, and people with therapeutic and psychological skills to meet the different needs of the clients.

You could grow vertically by specialising in any or all of the disciplines and spend your career teaching what you enjoy and believe in. Or if you are ambitious about business, you can move into the management side of the things, which involves branding, marketing, human resource and so on.

Who’s to know, with such passion and skills, you could one day end up being the owner of a fitness centre or specialised gym.

How much is the starting salary for a personal trainer? What is the earning potential?
The starting salary really depends on the individual’s experience and qualifications. We have instructors who started off earning just $500 a month. With proper training and dedication to providing the best service, some of them are earning in excess of $3,000 per month.

As in any industry, your earning capacity is in direct proportion to the number of clients you have. If you have developed a strong reputation for yourself and continue to improve your skills and extend the variety of courses that you can teach, the sky is really the limit to how far you can go.

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Photo courtesy of Fitness Zone

What does the job of a fitness trainer entail?
Quite essentially, the job of a fitness coach is to help individuals to get fit, recover from injuries or to help achieve the fitness goals that a client sets out to achieve. For those specialised trainers, their role may be to help athletes to perform at their optimal levels.

No two trainers’ job profiles are identical. You could choose to be a ‘one to one’ coach, customising programs for individual clients. Or you could choose to lead as a group trainer where you are required to inspire from the front.

At Fitness Zone, we incorporate the “fun” elements into our programs and we emphasise educating the clients, so they gain the knowledge which will help them achieve a better quality of life in the long term.

What are some of the basic requirements for one to be a trainer?
Ironically, I’ve come across trainers that are not particularly fit, but have a sound knowledge about physiology and excel in this career, because they have good people skills.

That said, it definitely helps if you yourself are fit, interested and knowledgeable about fitness. The skills required to be a trainer are all coachable. Those who excel in it are normally those who care, who are good with people and who believe in the importance of fitness.

Where should you go to if you want to be a professional fitness trainer?
If you are really serious about your fitness career, and cannot afford to study abroad, you could learn on the job at Fitness Zone, as we bring in international master trainers to conduct certification workshops up to five times per year. We also send our coaches overseas to undergo training or attend fitness conventions to gain more insight and knowledge of the fitness industry. At Fitness Zone, we really try to foster a culture of learning and growth in our company. We allocate up to BND 1,500 per trainer per year for personal development.

The internet has plenty to offer when it comes to online Personal Training coaching. One of our trainers recently obtained her online certificate for a Pre and Post Pregnancy Fitness Program.

Lastly, you could also consider going overseas, if you have the means to do so. Some of the places you could consider include ACE- American Council of Exercise, FIA Fitness Institute of Australia and Lesmills International. There are also fitness conventions such as FILEX, IHRSA and Idea Fit for a range of fitness certifications and workshops.

What are the job prospects with Fitness Zone?
We open our doors to everyone who has the passion to be part of this great industry. If your passion is to help others get healthy, we will do our best to find a position that suits you!

What is your view about the growing fitness industry in Brunei?
I think it is fantastic to see fitness centres sprouting up everywhere. It can only mean that Bruneians are taking their health a lot more seriously, and are inevitably going to be more productive and live longer.

One word of caution though, I would advise Fitness Professionals to take their profession seriously. Go for proper training and adhere to the highest standards of health and safety requirements in order to avoid any unnecessary injuries for both the staff and clients. After all, we are dealing with peoples’ health and well being. It is a responsibility not to be taken lightly at all.

This article was published in the Jan-Mar 2015 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!
Read about ‘7 Lessons in 14 days with Wu Chun’ by clicking Here!
Read about our interview with Wu Chun on his new book. Click Here!