Bag A Job in the World of Fitness

12 Oct 2012

Want to turn your passion into full-time employment? We’ve spoken to the fitness addicts who have done just that

Body builder Rachel Omolewu has been an inspiring cause for women to increase their strength. A winner of three women’s bodybuilding and physique competitions, this fitness model has helped paved the way for women everywhere to tone up.
QUALIFICATIONS There are no set qualifications, just a passion for health and wellness! I’ve seen individuals who never played sports in their youth, participate in fitness competitions and do well. They hired a trainer, trained diligently, and followed a clean diet. Fitness is not just a sport, but a lifestyle. One has to be willing to adapt healthy practices.
BEST DAY When you’ve helped inspire others. And those days at the gym when it’s also therapy for yourself.
WORST DAY For me, there are no ‘set’ downsides, however, when I’m prepping for a competition, I need to adhere to a rigid nutrition regime. Having to pass up delicious entrees and desserts at birthday parties and special events doesn’t make for a splendid occasion!
PAY DAY Salary varies worldwide. (However, a model in the UAE can earn around Dhs2,000 a day.)
JOBS ADVERTISED Some bookings for models and work at fitness trade shows are posted online, at bodybuilding websites and forums. Some companies use social media when looking for models, posting ads on their Facebook pages. They may also use these sites to hold body transformation or other contests when looking for new faces to represent their products.
SHAPE NOTE: One company that holds fitness modelling competitions is the World Body Fitness Federation - Another event is the Wilhelmina models contest ( held in association with SHAPE USA.

Victoria Leckie of launched a fitness blog in the UAE in 2010. This marathoner offers inspirational tips for women wanting to hit the bricks. The speed at which her blog took off attracted sports giant Adidas and they made her their first sponsored athlete in the UAE.
QUALIFICATIONS. I was already a wordsmith by trade and setting up the blog was fairly straightforward. Wordpress ( is very user friendly so if you have a bit of time and patience, you can set one up and learn as you go.
BEST DAY Being as passionate about words as I am, I guess the best part is just putting my digits to the keyboard and sharing my thoughts. It’s so rewarding when you get great feedback and an ever-growing number of followers … watching your site stats continually improve is great!
WORST DAY No downside! I set up my site for fun and it’s just another hobby. When I first launched the site I was fanatical about posting every day, sometimes to the detriment of my paid work, but I’m getting a better balance now.  If I have a very busy week, I’ll just plan to write a couple of posts.
PAY DAY I don’t make money directly. I set it up just for fun. I had lots of friends who loved reading my regular emails and encouraged me to start a blog. It seemed the perfect platform to combine my love of running, physical and emotional wellbeing and writing.  I do however have a number of great sponsors now such as Adidas and Fitness First. So whilst there is no actual revenue being earnt, my site has certainly opened doors in terms of attracting great brands and enabling me to inspire and share with the UAE community and beyond.
JOBS ADVERTISED None needed. You’re your own boss.

Australian Tasha Hawkins who was certified for Bikram Yoga in 2008 is an instructor at Club Stretch in Dubai. Even after having a baby eight months ago, she has been actively teaching yoga about 10 classes per week.
QUALIFICATIONS To work as a Bikram instructor you need to hold an intensive 500-hour Bikram Yoga Certification from Bikram headquarters in Los Angeles, USA ( The teacher training comprises a nine-week course with Bikram Choudhury. The course includes two Bikram yoga classes, lectures, anatomy classes and posture clinics every day. However, before you start the course you need to have clocked up six months of regular Bikram yoga practice. To make sure you get the right training, it’s best to go to an affiliated Bikram yoga studio, such as Club Stretch (, with experienced teachers who can help you achieve your goals.
BEST DAY I love the end of a hard working practice and seeing the whole room still in savasana (lying on your back, body is still and relaxed). Everyone is at peace: body, mind and soul, and that puts a smile on my face.
WORST DAY The worst part is travelling to and from work! The busy Dubai roads can send my stress levels up a notch.
PAY DAY Depending on the experience and where in the world you teach, a Bikram yoga teacher’s salary varies quite a lot. You can earn from Dhs150,000 to Dhs220,000.
JOBS ADVERTISED Jobs are advertised on the Bikram yoga headquarters site (, but you can start your regular practice at Club Stretch in Marina or Mina Road studios.

Jordanian-native Zena Habi is head trainer and founder of Fitness O2 ( in Dubai.
QUALIFICATIONS The best training generally comes from the US, UK and Australia. Recognisable qualifications include ACE, NFPT, ISSA and ACSM. The duration of the course depends on whether you’re studying long distance.
Some of the qualifications can be done online and the material can be sent to you. However, in the UAE you can also take the accredited Impact CYQ qualification ( Level 2 would take about three months to finish and Level 3 (advanced) would take about five months.
BEST DAY When you see that your clients are improving and achieving their goals and are happy in their own skin, whether their goals are weight loss, strength, or specific sport training.
WORST DAY Worst days could be cancellation days, in less than a 24 hours notice. Although the clients are charged, this affects the clients’ development, as it’s all about consistency in what we do.
PAY DAY In general, there is not a set salary for personal trainers, however some gyms and fitness companies might offer personal trainers a basic salary from around Dhs1,000 to Dhs2,500 and the trainers will then earn commission on top of this. What you make as a personal trainer at the end of the month comes down to how much you invested in yourself, whether in certifications, degrees, workshops, and how long you have been doing the job.
JOBS ADVERTISED Websites such as and as well as gym and fitness company websites would have a job section where you can send your CV. You can also find ads in the local newspapers.