Byline: SARAH RICHARDSON
SIGNING up to a new course this autumn doesn't have to mean the only muscle you'll get to exercise is your brain.
As London and the UK prepare for the 2012 Olympics, the opportunities to work in health-and-fitness are growing and there are lots of courses on offer in adult education centres, through private providers and through charities which will help you access this market.
Premier Fitness Training, for example, is a private company that offers training for the health-and-fitness industry with a choice of delivery methods, including full-time, part-time and blended learning, which all incorporate new online technology, offering the flexibility to provide education to all.
Its courses range from a Diploma in Personal Training to the Diploma in Nutritional Therapy and also include the recently launched Certificate in Fitness Management and Nutritional Advice for Weight Management.
Premier also offers an extensive range of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses, including medicine-ball training, kettlebell training, teaching physical activity to children and sports conditioning.
YMCAfit (YMCA Fitness Industry Training) is one of the UK's leading trainers of fitness professionals. As a charity, YMCAfit is guided by the belief that every member of society should be able to access the health benefits of regular physical activity and as such has developed the largest portfolio of training products in the UK .
Its courses are very competitively priced and, if you are already working in a fitness environment, you could be eligible for free training.
Robin Gargrave is YMCAfit's executive director.
He says: "We have designed our apprenticeship programme specifically to give you the knowledge and confidence to perform your job more effectively.
Only minimal time away from work is necessary and study packs are completed in the workplace and at home. Qualified guidance assessors will support and assess you for the duration of the scheme."
The Level 2 and Level 3 schemes will give you skills and knowledge and design gym programmes that will enable them to achieve their fitness goals.
To qualify, you need to be willing to work a minimum of 16 hours a week within a gym environment, living or working in London or the Home Counties and aged 16 or above and not degree-qualified. For further information, contact the work-based learning team on 020 7343 1870 or email apprenticeships@ymcafit org.uk.
Zlatko Milovanovic, 31, came to London from Serbia in August 2005. Initially working as a waiter, he took on a series of jobs in catering, including training and working as a chef for YO! Sushi.
But after couple of years, Zlatko wanted to develop a more fulfilling career that he could get really passionate about, a chance to increase earnings and to work for himself.
"I've always been very active and had previously trained in martial arts.
I felt that working in the fitness industry would help me improve my own fitness and enable me to share my knowledge," he says.
"I also wanted to be able to give something back to others.
"There are lots of fitness courses available in the UK it's a much bigger industry than it is in Serbia but what I liked about YMCAfit was that it was a charity that helps people and shares fitness knowledge. …