As promised, we’re back with the second part of our conversation with our wonder women. Just how we deep dived in part 1, we’ll be digging deep for answers to questions such as how much money can I make? Will my job be secure? Can I really be financially independent? But, won’t it be awkward training men?
Enter our wonder women, who’ve been through the wringer. These female fitness professionals are here to share their experiences to lay your doubts to rest. They’ll show you the ropes and inspire hope in case you’ve been holding back from pursuing your passion. Sometimes, all we need is a nudge. Here’s yours.
Question: How much did you think about your income after passing out? What was the ballpark figure you had in mind in terms of earning? Was income a priority for you?
Nilparna went deep into research to evaluate whether the fitness industry really had the potential to provide a good income. She was transitioning from a career in the advertising industry. As she searched, Nilparna came across trainers from both ends of the spectrum: those earning a lot and those not earning as much. However, the extremes led to one indisputable fact: there was the possibility of earning a lot.
“I may have started out with an expectation of around earning 40k to 50k. Now, let’s just say, 5 years into this, I’m earning a lot more”Nilparna Sen
Shreya was 5 years into her career as a software engineer, earning a good living—a robust cash flow is of the greatest importance to Shreya. Diligence since childhood helped because she had to start budgeting way before any of us. But, she wanted to earn and be satisfied with her job. Surely, a combination like that is a myth, like a unicorn, right? Just when grey clouds starting forming on Shreya’s head, a strobe of sunlight guided her.
“I met a person who was earning way more and enjoying his profession. I used to get jealous seeing the kind of work he was doing, the way he used to enjoy his work. Plus, he was earning way more than me”Shreya Roy
Yes, money mattered, but so did satisfaction. But seeing is believing: through this real-life example, Shreya knew that she could earn and be happy. Her knowledge and aspiration cemented her motto:
“If you’re good at something, you should earn more money…I don’t believe in free lunches. I believe if you’re good at it, you should be earning more money because that’s how you will set a good example”Shreya Roy
That’s the expectation with which Shreya entered the industry. And it’s still true during the pandemic. Shreya has been fortunate enough to still be earning well when people are being laid off.
She further added,
“The best part is that I’m not disappointed during this time when so many people are losing their jobs and getting pay cuts, but I have been very fortunate, thank god, that I am earning quite a bit”Shreya Roy
For Shreya, it’s a win-win situation here. She gets to earn a living, and her work empowers people to feel fitter, better than they were yesterday. Shreya truly considers herself fortunate to be a part of the fitness industry.
Deepa knew she had to start from the bottom to grow. That’s how she started out in banking too, from the bottom to the top in 10 years. So, when she decided to switch careers, she did it on the back of extensive research. Somehow, call it a stroke of luck, she surfed the waves of the web to reach us.
“When I decided to make the change, I was hesitant, you know that I’m already here, I’ve been here (in banking) for ten years”Deepa Vaswani
But at the same time, her research also acquainted her with successful fitness professionals. All Deepa had to do was chart the best course to get to the same level of income that she was at after giving 10 hard-earned years to banking, and that’s exactly what happened. When asked whether the growth in the fitness industry is quicker than in the banking industry, Deepa answered unequivocally:
“Yes, it has been, it has been for sure, because the amount of years I took to get there was (in banking) more versus the amount of years that I’ve taken to come back to where I was (income wise, from banking to fitness)”Deepa Vaswani
Just like Shreya, Deepa also counts her blessings because she’s still thriving despite the lockdown. She added,
“It’s in my control, and I have transitioned to working online, made all those changes that were required at the time, so I have nothing to complain about in terms of the remuneration.”Deepa Vaswani
To lead by example, Deepa continues to pave the way for female fitness professionals by going global. She trains clients overseas, and currently, she feels she has nothing to complain about.
Jui began her career as a fitness professional when there were no counselors or consultants who could guide her in terms of stability or security in the fitness industry. She juggled her day job and her pursuit of fitness as a passion and profession. She did it all by herself.
“I was earning as a fresher. I was earning 10k or 12k, which wasn’t very bad, but it wasn’t like great, and I didn’t want to change my field for something which was ‘ok’ again”Jui Inamdar
Jui’s first job was as an aerobics instructor at Talwalkars: 6 am batch and 6 pm batch. For 2 hours a day, Jui was pulling 12k per month, that too in the year 2000. But she didn’t quit her job until she built a solid clientele, and that happened swiftly. Things were falling into place with fluidity.
“I wanted to work hard, I wanted to learn, I wanted to do more courses, and I wanted to earn more through it”Jui Inamdar
Currently, Jui has her set of dedicated clients who’ve been with her for years. She rests assured knowing that she’s well settled. On top of that, Jui has been financially secure and independent despite the turbulence in her life. Her profession always gave her a solid anchor to shore.
She concluded by saying,
“In personal life also, there were a lot of setbacks, and I don’t think I would’ve like, if the financial aspect of my life wasn’t as secure as it is right now, I would have been a completely different person.”Jui Inamdar
Anmol previously worked as a chef. But, she wasn’t satisfied working mad hours in the kitchen for meager pay. That’s one of the reasons why she switched careers. It was nice and fun. But, she needed a career switch. When Anmol decided to enter the fitness industry, money wasn’t at the heart of her decision. Satisfaction and fulfillment were the icing and cherries she wanted on top of her cake (pun intended).
She wanted to look forward to going to work. When asked whether she was pleasantly surprised at how much money she was making, this is what Anmol had to say:
“Of course! Definitely, Definitely! Like the other girls said, even during this lockdown, even during this phase when people are losing their jobs, when, you know, there’s a pay cut and all of these things, in spite of that, I’m so glad that my business is going so well, and I’m still training my clients just how I used to.”Anmol Sadarangani
Anmol concluded by exclaiming that she wouldn’t have done as well in any other field.
Mayuri described herself as a spirited athlete who had entrepreneurial tendencies as a kid. She wanted to be her own boss. Not asking her parents for money was a habit that developed early in life. Mayuri was self-reliant in terms of pocket money since the age of 18 years. To pay for her pleasures as well as her essentials, she embarked on successfully brief ventures. Here’s an example of her business acumen:
“When I started doing the nutrition course, I came to know lots of people actually buy a lot of nut butters…so I was making them and selling them, just making a few bucks out of that”Mayuri Deshmukh
Now, at the age of 22, Mayuri is due to open her gym. When asked whether as a professional she’s making more money than when she was a teen, this is what Mayuri had to say:
“So, at this point, actually, even though the gym is closed during the lockdown, I keep paying the rent, and I was able to do that from all my online work that I’m doing right now.”Mayuri Deshmukh
From her online freelancing, Mayuri is still enjoying her financial independence on top of paying 30k as rent for a vacant place that is soon to become her gym.
Padmaja echoed the same sentiments of being financially independent and not having to ask for anything. As things stand, Padmaja is earning more during the lockdown than she did before it. With a joyful smirk, she added,
“…and jo item mere shopping list mey, jo wish list mey thi, toh I could buy them anytime I wanted.”Padmaja
Padmaja concluded the answer to the question with a beaming smile that reflected the joys of her fulfilling profession.
Sonal’s first paycheck was worth 16k as a fitness professional. She’s kept the envelop preserved to this day! She’s spent a year in the industry, and her earnings have only gone one way: up.
This financial independence allows her to prepare for further studies too. Currently, Sonal is preparing for the Staff Selection Commission examination, to be a part of Delhi Police.
Sefra is a YouTuber in addition to being a fitness professional. She blogs too, because of the sound advice given by Cofounder and Director Kaizzad Capadia, during one of his Principal’s Address.
“In one time you said how to get clients, somebody asked during your Principal’s Address, and you said learn to blog well. So, that’s what I’ve been following. After finishing the CSN course, like I’m new to this industry, so I opened my own website and I blogged. I make recipes on nutrition, and I’m doing well during the lockdown and even thereafter.”Sefra Correa
Question: How did you decide to charge? How did you fix a fixed rate?
Sanjana began planning to begin her consultations even before completing the CSN course. But, she had nanoscopic knowledge on how to go about the entire process. She wanted to see the bigger picture. She reached out for assistance. Sanjana then received help from her father, along with the manager of the K11 School at that time, who was Mr Vikram Dutta.
“Vikram Sir was the manager of the school then. I had a talk with him, and I sat and talked to him that how can I start. I explained all the plans that I had, and he helped me a lot with it. Then, I talked to my father and everyone at home and then we decided that this can be done”Sanjana Arora
Despite having a financially sound background, Sanjana went from strength to strength and built her career on the back of the CSN and DPT course, which were funded by her father. But sooner than later, Sanjana paid it all back within 5 months of passing out.
“In the next 5 months (after passing out), I was able to earn more than what he has invested on me”Sanjana Arora
Sanjana added joyfully,
“My father now is going around proudly saying to everyone that ‘in the lockdown, she was the sole earner of our family’”Sanjana Arora
Rihanna was enjoying every second of her profession, so much so that money didn’t define her happiness. For her, happiness defined happiness. But, somewhere in her heart, Rihanna knew that money was going to follow suit. And follow suit it did, owing to her expertise, sheer passion for fitness, and care for her clients.
Thousands per month turned to lakhs per month within a matter of 6 months: inclusive of commission plus freelancing. All Rihanna did was follow the path she was meant to tread. When that happens, you know success isn’t far behind.
Question: How is the experience of training male clients?
As controversial as the question may seem, consensus says that gender has stopped mattering altogether, that progressive minds now prevail. All the female fitness professionals were unanimous in saying they face no problems while training male clients and that their male clients always maintain utmost decorum.
“It’s not really been difficult. I think with any industry, it’s just up to you, what you do with this. Even in a bank, you’ll have male clients and stuff. So, it’s how you handle it. It’s not been difficult to get. Has it been difficult to manage? Not really.”Deepa Vaswani
“I have not faced any problems as such. I’ve got a lot of inquiries from males and females. I cannot actually put it in a ratio…sometimes males are more. It’s like what Deepa said. It’s about how you handle it. So they (male clients) have been very much comfortable. It’s been very smooth till now.”Sanjana Arora
“I never even genderized it ever. Like it never occurred to me that it was going to be…because the first job I took up was in a gym…and a lot of men used to come there, and I used to train them. They used to take the instructions very positively. In fact, I used to get very good reviews about the trainings. There was also a lot of respect from the male clients as well…they’ve always respected me. They’ve always respected the time. The profession itself has a good value added to it.
“Most of my clients are boys. Unka weight around 100 kg, 140 kg hai, aur mai unko wahan see neeche lekar aa rahi hoon. Toh yeh mere liye, khud k liye ek challenge hai aur unke liye bhee ek challenge hai. Kis tareeke se mey unse deal karti hoon aur jaise unko work out karati hoon chaar log saath mey khade hoke mere liye clap karne lag jaate hai”Sonal Tiwari
“It totally comes from how you look at yourself. I am a teacher. For me, every student is a student, of any age, any gender, any financial background…So, they also consider me as a teacher. Initially, I got a few people who were like ‘you are a woman and it’s a male dominating industry, would you fare well or not?’
So, I was like, but then in another profession, you would never ask a software engineer or doctor ‘what is your gender?’ So this is just another profession. Why would you even consider gender to be a hindrance?”Shreya Roy
“My experience has been that when it’s a female trainer with my clients, they’re motivated even more.”
She added joyfully,
“…because if a female is training you, how can she do it? Sometimes it may be hurting their ego like she’s lifting 80 kgs, ‘ok, come on, tell me how much do you lift?’ They get motivated even more.”Sefra Correa
“Just like Shreya, I consider all my clients as my students. I command them, and they listen to me.”Rihanna
When asked about the ratio of female to male clients she trains, Rihanna responded by saying,
“60% female and 40% male.”
Question: How many of you were told “this (becoming a fitness professional) wasn’t going to work?”
Deepa humorously contorted her face and mimicked the countenance of her naysayers. Such was the manner in which seemingly rhetorical questions were thrown her way.
“I was told stuff like ‘you want to give up banking to become a trainer? Is this a respectable position? Is this a respectable job?’”
Deepa was gobsmacked at the audacity of the question and exclaimed,
“You’ve got to be kidding me because I started even banking way at the bottom…it’s what you make of it and how you conduct yourself.”Deepa Vaswani
Padmaja elaborated on the ratio of her male to female clients.
“80% to 85% of my clients are male. And some negative comments bhee aa chuke hai ki ‘tujhe kaun jo bata raha hai na uska matt sun.'”Padmaja
That’s when her clients proudly defend the scientific knowledge passed on to them by Padmaja. Her clients always rest assured in the knowledge that they know the difference between science and “bro-science.”
Nilparna then threw her hat in the ring to highlight an icebreaker that thaws the chill between men and women: that is excellence. Perception biases and gender biases disappear once you reach a certain level of undeniable expertise. She added,
“Women have a perception to break. But, you know what? When they cross a certain excellence barrier, that’s when it gets degenderized. That’s why once a male or a female attains excellence, he or she will be successful regardless of gender. At that point, the barrier disappears.”Nilparna Sen
A Parting Note
On that note, we ended (even though we wanted to go on for hours) the rousing conversation with every student of ours. They’re the pride of K11.
We hope their life experiences help you shape yours. Remember, the ball is always in your court. The choice to take the leap of faith is all the better when you know those who took it made it home safe and sound.
Rahul Chitrakar: K11 School of Fitness Sciences