How Do Your Wages and Benefits Stack Up?

by Peter Davis, CEO and Kathie Davis on Dec 08, 2010


After three decades in this industry, we can say confidently that the majority of professionals don’t get into fitness for the money. Most of you became instructors and personal trainers, or advanced into management or ownership, because you truly desired to help others and found joy in teaching fitness. This industry is full of passionate people who get more fulfillment from seeing clients and facility members grow and achieve than they do from the numbers on their paychecks.

Despite this “love of the game,” there is no reason you should be struggling to earn a fair wage or not receive a complete compensation package if your position in the industry calls for it. You are a trained professional who has invested considerably in your education (and will continue to do so), and you should be paid fairly for that. But what is fair? What are others in similar positions earning in your region of the country?

You can find out these details and more for each job description/title in the industry by turning to the 2010 IDEA Fitness Industry Compensation Trends report. Our biennial representation of wages and benefits in the fitness industry provides a complete look at what is happening around the country in terms of compensation. It’s a reliable statistical research tool, useful both for the front-line employee who is getting ready for a salary review and for the manager or owner who needs to keep tabs on what other businesses are offering to attract and maintain skilled professionals.

Compensation and benefits in the industry have come a long way in the past 20 years. What used to be strictly hourly positions are now salaried with full benefits packages. Even in this tough economy, the fitness industry is holding its own. Since this survey was last published in January 2009, the national unemployment rate has increased from 6.1% to 9.6% (as of this writing in mid-November), which equates to about 14.8 million unemployed individuals in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. However, the silver lining for the fitness industry is that even though the national job market has declined, our industry is still expected to see better-than-average growth (29%) in positions over the next decade (2008–2018). Use the survey results to plan your next career move and to get ideas on creative solutions for sweetening employee packages with other incentives if the dollars don’t exist. Remember, it isn’t always about money.

Speaking of planning your next career move, if you haven’t created your free IDEA FitnessConncet profile yet, you’re quite simply missing out on harnessing the capabilities of a powerful suite of tools that could be saving you precious marketing time and dollars while drawing customers to your business. This month, we are excited to announce the following enhancements to IDEA FitnessConnect, our new directory platform:

  • Your profile now appears on
  • You can now promote recurring classes/events. Whether you have a Zumba class every Monday or a boot camp on the first of every month, you can create your recurring class or event with ease.
  • Adding an IDEA FitnessConnect profile badge to your website is simple. You will find a choice of two badges, along with instructions on how to implement the badge, in the “Quick Links” box under your profile picture.
  • YouTube integration: instead of uploading a video, you have the option of entering the YouTube URL.
  • Visit to learn more or to get started.

To wrap up, we wanted to recognize and congratulate Lawrence Biscontini (above photo, center), who was named our 2010 Inner IDEA Inspiration Award recipient at the Inner IDEA® Conference. A long-time member, presenter and author, Lawrence has inspired countless professionals and clients with his knowledge and sincere belief in our collective mission to Inspire the World to Fitness®.

In good health,
Peter and Kathie Davis

Fitness Journal, Volume 8, Issue 1

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© 2011 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Authors

Peter Davis, CEO

Peter Davis, CEO IDEA Author/Presenter

Peter Davis is co-founder of IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

Kathie Davis

Kathie Davis IDEA Author/Presenter

Kathie Davis is co-founder of IDEA Health & Fitness Association in San Diego.