4 tips for finding your niche in the health and fitness industry

You know that feeling you get when you love something so much that you’ll do anything to be around it? That’s how I felt about dolphins in elementary and middle school. I already loved being around water, and a visit to a marine animal park had me convinced I’d be a dolphin trainer.

My parents encouraged me to set goals from a very young age, so my dreams rarely seemed out of reach. They instilled in me a strong work ethic and goal-oriented mentality that would follow me throughout my life, from sports and academics to career pursuits and family life. Unfortunately, I lost them both to terminal illnesses far too young, but they taught me countless lessons that I still live by today. Here are a few that I know have helped me the most.

1. Never stop looking forward.

Spoiler alert: I never became a dolphin trainer. Instead, I pursued a degree in physical education from Azusa Pacific University with the intention of becoming a teacher and basketball coach. During my senior year, I worked as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at a nearby YMCA. It’s here that I discovered my passion for health and fitness.

Ultimately, my passion for playing sports and being physically active lead me to a career in the health and fitness industry. I may not have taken the fastest route, but I never stopped looking forward. Perseverance and a lot of hard work got me to where I really wanted to be, and it can get you there, too. You might not know exactly where you want to go but pressing forward and trying new things along the way is the only way to find out.

2. Focus on helping people.

After completing my master’s degree in kinesiology at California State University Long Beach, I began teaching and coaching basketball at a local community college. When I wasn’t in the classroom or on the court, I filled my time with personal training and group fitness instruction for the community education department, at gyms in my area, and even in my home. I truly enjoyed the member interaction, helping guide people toward their health and fitness goals, and sharing in their joy when they surpassed even their own expectations.

Of course, now I know that a career in health and fitness isn’t one long testimonial of life-changing transformation, but it took a while to get there. If you’re just starting out and having a hard day, try to focus on your ability to impact someone’s life every single day, in one way or another.

If you’re just starting out and having a hard day, try to focus on your ability to impact someone’s life every single day, in one way or another.  

3. Don’t be afraid to try new things, even if it’s not the end-goal.

I was still heavily involved in the health and fitness community when a major opportunity presented itself – in the Bahamas. Water sports are part of a healthy lifestyle, right? They were for me while I was the owner and operator of Starfish the Exuma Adventure Center on Great Exuma Island.

I was living in paradise, but I couldn’t get health and fitness off my mind. I started boot camps on the beach, taught group exercise classes, trained clients, and even dabbled in corporate wellness programming. If you find yourself struggling on your chosen path, make a turn, find your passion, and get creative about ways to express it. You might be a front desk manager now, but you could be leading a spin class tomorrow. 

4. Just be yourself.

As a health and fitness professional, I try my best to lead by example, and the best example I can set is to be myself. My most important job is being a mom and that’s something many of my clients can relate to.

I show people my perseverance and grit in the gym, but I’m not afraid to share my everyday struggles, healthy family recipes, or funny parenting stories, too. So whether you’re a personal trainer working to build a client base or a group fitness instructor looking to attract attendees, consider sharing a little bit of yourself. It builds trust and hopefully a following.

Today I’m back in the United States working in the health and fitness industry full time, and I’m happier than ever. I love working for EXOS because I can combine my passions for education and fitness to help people improve their lives. From leading group exercise classes and training clients, to program planning, special events, and seminars, I do it all and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Interested in a career in health and fitness? Check out our internship openings.

About the Author

Lyndsay Sears

Lyndsay Sears is a program manager at EXOS. She's passionate about helping people of all ages and fitness levels achieve their wellness goals through developing programs that incorporate sport, group fitness, and personal training.

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