My name is Matt. I discovered this site through a Google Search. A long time fitness enthusiast, I have spent my life working in an architectural firm as a project manager. In my twenties, I was a personal trainer. Now, I am researching recertification options. My goal is to leave the world of architecture and begin a career as a Fitness Club Manager. But I worry if I am “too old.” I just turned 50 but am told that I look younger (if that matters). I am looking for advice from gym owners and other managers. Do I stand a chance? I do not have a Bachelor’s Degree but have loads of business experience managing multi-million dollar construction projects. I’d love some truthful advice. Is 50 too old? My manager at Gold’s told me that I am at the perfect age….but he is 50, too. The other thing is, I can relocate anywhere in the USA. I have no ties.
This is not a “job request.” I am truly looking for truthful opinions. Is it too late for me?
My dream Job would be to one day work for Gold’s or a national chain, traveling the country evaluating and auditing individual gyms. Thanks.
Age has nothing to do when managing a business or in your case a club. When a club is looking for a Club manager they are usually more interested in any past managerial experience and supervision of others. A degree always helps, but if you have a lot of experience in managing similar type of businesses they could overlook the education part. Keep in mind that the majority of the clubs will require for their managers to have at least one certification and also CPR/AED. Experience in creating some classes can also be a requirement. Depending on the club chain, they will also require for their managers to have experience with training as well. If you feel comfortable supervising a number of other full time managers (operations, fitness/personal training, sales, etc.) and setting goals that will help that particular club to grow and stay current with the company’s policies, mission and philosophy as well as with variety of safety regulations, then I think you are in great position to get hired.
When searching for these type of positions around the country you should read carefully the requirements of that position. And just because you don’t meet all of the requirements, it doesn’t mean you will not get at least an interview. There you can demonstrate your qualifications (as I’m sure you already know how this process works). Also when getting hired by one of the major fitness chains around the country (and around the world) they put their managers through a training period/process. The fact that you can relocate anywhere in the country it will work to your advantage. Not very many people can say they have that kind of luxury. Good luck to you!
Matt, you have come to a great place to ask your questions. I’m one of those who came later-in-life to the fitness profession. When I’ve had questions, many in this community have come to my aid with their invaluable experience and wisdom.
You won’t know if you don’t try! Listen to others on this site who know the best organizations and people to mentor you in your quest. Give it your best so you will have no regrets. All the best to you as you prepare to meet your goals in the fitness profession.
I’m not a gym owner (I have my own in-home training business), but I can tell you that age is just a number. If you have the passion and knowledge–be it from a text book or practical experience–then you can do it. Do all of your research and have a business plan in place. Make connections in the field and see if you can find a mentor as well. It may take some time to get everything in order with your requirements, certifications, and more experience, etc…, but it is worth it.
Best of luck to you.
In my opinion, you stand a very good chance. Although you may not have been in the fitness industry recently, you’ve done extensive amounts of project management. Management of a gym doesn’t really require a knowledge of anatomy so much as it requires general management skills. You can build a team around you that has the fitness skills.
You might want to see if you can get information interviews with the corporate offices of some of the major chains that interest you. 24 is big enough for this. Bally used to be but I’m not sure of their financial stability (the club where I worked got sold off to LA Fitness). LA Fitness might be big enough, but I don’t get a very organized vibe from their management from when I worked there (maybe you could fix that!). Equinox isn’t as big, but they’re more of the high-end club that would likely have the infrastructure around management and operations.
OK, let me rephrase that. Many people come up from the ranks into management, so there’s definitely a place for trainers and instructors to grow with the companies that they’re with. And there are many stories of executives who started by working in the mail room. So I’m not discounting that path. I’m just saying that your expertise in project management and interest in systems audit might not require an extensive knowledge of fitness. A good questioner and curious listener can learn the needs of his or her employees without having to do that job. I used to be in tax consulting and fresh eyes learning about a business and questioning the “we’ve always done it this way” thinking of departments can add a tremendous amount of value.