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Wednesday, July 6, 2016, 21:42

Concerns voiced about private fitness trainers in HK

By Wang Yuke

HONG KONG - The lack of a standard registration system for private fitness trainers in Hong Kong is leading to an unhealthy fitness industry, Tang Ka-piu, a legislative council member who represents the labor constituency said.

Tang called for a uniform registration system as well as a qualification framework so the industry can have more qualified professionals.

He said that except for private trainers from Leisure and Cultural Services Department, who are required to hold official certificates of registration, practitioners in most local fitness centers are not subject to strict requirements. So “private trainers" in some fitness centers are not properly qualified, added Tang.

Rex Wong, program director of the International Personal Trainers and Fitness Academy, says very few trainers in fitness centers hold the certificates granted by the government. The majority obtain certificates from local institutions. About 10 percent carry certificates issued by overseas authorities. These may not be recognized in Hong Kong.

Man Lee, director of the Hong Kong Recreation and Sports Professionals General Union, urged the government to learn from Britain, Australia and other European countries. These countries have long had a strict registration system for fitness trainers.

Tang believes that only if fitness trainers gain proper recognition and better benefits and job security from employees, will the local fitness industry improve.

He recently received nine complaints from private trainers at California Fitness. They said the company had allegedly failed to either pay their wages or to promote them. This was probably due to the recent blow to the industry following reports of high-pressure sales tactics.

The way personal fitness trainers earn money is complicated, says Wong.

Apart from a basic salary that varies from HK$3,000 to HK$10,000, they earn additional income more from performance bonuses in line with selling training packages.

Wong notes that personal trainers face considerable work pressure, so they are forced to sell training packages to customers. Some of them resort to dishonest tactics to do this.

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