CAREER GUIDE Friday, May 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India

Keeping people fighting fit
Sanjay Austa
ot many years ago hardly anyone heard of them. They were a rare breed of professionals who catered to the rich and the beautiful. Sanjay Dutt had one, so did Aishwarya Rai. But if an ordinary man wanted to be fit, he went for a morning jog or to the local gym where he helped himself to an array of machines or subjected himself to the whims of the gym-boy, who doubled up as a trainer and cleaner.

What are the job prospects in photography?



Keeping people fighting fit
Sanjay Austa

A fitness trainer at work.
A fitness trainer (centre) at work. — Photo by writer

Not many years ago hardly anyone heard of them. They were a rare breed of professionals who catered to the rich and the beautiful. Sanjay Dutt had one, so did Aishwarya Rai. But if an ordinary man wanted to be fit, he went for a morning jog or to the local gym where he helped himself to an array of machines or subjected himself to the whims of the gym-boy, who doubled up as a trainer and cleaner. Not today. Fitness in India is now a whopping 2,000 crore industry. Fitness experts being the lynchpin. They are upwardly mobile, educated, and have the requisite degree or experience and know all the ins and outs of keeping one in shape.

They teach us how to lose that extra flab, how to do those stomach crunches without straining our spinal column, from what angle to lift the weights, in short how to exercise the proper scientific way. They have, after all, studied the human anatomy meticulously in exclusive fitness institutes.

No wonder everyone wants to have them. The middle-rung executive, stressed-out CEOs, the portly politician, the self-conscious student, the middle-aged housewife — anybody who wants to be healthy and can pay for it. At home or at the gym, having a trainer is the latest status symbol of urban India, thanks to the increasing awareness about the importance of keeping healthy.

Take Kiran Sawhney, a successful fitness trainer from Delhi, for instance. Her perfect hour-glass figure is an ideal for the women clients who hire her. She teaches at two sports clubs. Aerobics in one and aqua-aerobics in another. Besides the clubs, she has over six personal clients which include executive of a big company. "If you have the credentials, you are in demand", she says.

The credentials include a degree or diploma in fitness training from a reputable institute. Topping them all in India is Reebok’s Fitness Centre. The Reebok training centres are in the four metropolitan cities, including New Delhi. The Reebok’s centre has an intensive three-month fitness programme where learning the various exercise steps is only a small part. The thrust is on holistic knowledge about the human body and its functions. There is a tough written test at the end of three months along with practicals. "Not many people in my batch passed", says Aarti Prasad, a fitness trainer who began teaching at a sports club in Greater Kailash 1, Delhi, after completing her course at Reeboks. She also has personal clients and says it is a profession that will grow manifold as more and more people feel the need to be healthy.

"It is a profession where one has the option to diversify too. One can write articles on fitness, make films and have a fitness show on television", she says. Besides Reeboks, many universities have fitness training courses. Students passing out from institutes such as the National Institute for Sports in Patiala become physical training instructors and have an option to join a school or college full time. How much a fitness trainer earns depends on the number of fitness centres he or she works in or the number of private clients he or she has. Their earning from personal clients is substantially more. "Personal clients are people who do not want to join a group in a gym for some reason. It could be self-consciousness, it could be lack of time, or they could want the complete attention of a fitness trainer", says Kiran Sawhney. These clients are usually the super rich and often pay over Rs 1000 for just an hour’s workout session. "Some high-rung fitness trainers are even paid over Rs 2000 for an hourworkout", reveals Sawhney.

In effect, a successful fitness earns enough money in a day and still has enough time for his family and other engagements.

To fulfil the craze for fitness, fitness centres are mushrooming everywhere. Navneet Arora took voluntary retirement from his cushy bank job last year to open a flashy fitness centre, "Oxy Gym" in Delhi. "I left my job because I realised there was a lot of potential in this business", he says: Gyms like these are a happy hunting ground for anyone who is a fitness expert. This gym hires over five fitness trainers. "There is a big demand for good instructors now", says Navneet.


What are the job prospects in photography?

Q I am interested in taking up photography as a career. Could you please tell me about the job prospects in this field?

Rahul Chadda

A: Photography has acquired the status of a viable career option although it still continues to be widely pursued as a hobby by amateur shutterbugs. As with other professions, photography, too, has undergone considerable specialisation namely press photography, feature photography, food photography, advertising photography, fashion photography, industrial photography, forensic photography and wildlife photography.

Regarding job prospects in this field, there are several options. You can work as a photographer for a newspaper, magazine, news agency or advertising agency on a regular basis.

The second option is to work as a freelancer. This appeals to most photographers as it gives them the freedom to shoot what they fancy, and at their own convenience. Later, a seasoned photographer can even set up his own studio.

Since there are just a handful of good professional courses, your best bet would be to learn the basics and apprentice with an established photographer as an understudy.

Establishing yourself as a professional photographer is no cakewalk, which is why, perhaps unfortunately, many talented photographers remain amateurs. The climb can be hard and long, and the financial returns, not very satisfactory in the beginning. Only those with tenacity and a never-say-die attitude coupled with a real love of the medium stick on and assume professional status.

Although it may involve long hours doing odd jobs, lugging heavy equipment, setting up lights and props, it would be an invaluable learning experience. If you have a sharp eye for detail, composition and colour coupled with a fair amount of imagination and aesthetics, and if you are willing to experiment endlessly, you can well make a go of it. At the end of the day, what you get out of photography is directly proportional to what you put into it. So do put in your best. And don’t be too easily satisfied with your own output.


Q I have come across a number of ads issued by consultants who are recruiting candidates for training as airhostesses. Are they genuine?

Amardeep Kaur

A While it’s true that at times placement consultants are appointed to conduct the initial selection of cabin crew on behalf of the airlines (mainly foreign ones), not all of them are genuine. When in doubt, do checkup with the airline concerned to confirm whether they have indeed authorised the firm to recruit candidates on their behalf.

Beware of those who demand a fee in lieu of a job. Some of these are known to charge astronomical sums - in the region of Rs 1 lakh and even more to get you a job in a "foreign" airline, that too in advance. Avoid them like the plague. Similarly, watch out for those who claim to train or groom you for selection. Barring a few, they will simply take you for a ride. The actual fact is that airlines prefer to train candidates at their own centres and in their own style at their own cost (either in India or abroad, depending on where they originate). At best they will groom you in basic social skills with some tips and training on dressing, deportment and handling interview questions thrown in. After nearly a decade, Indian Airlines is in the process of recruiting 189 flight attendants including airhostesses for all four regions. The latest drive, partly due to competition from private players, mainly seeks to cater to replacements and expansion. A proposal to add 43 more aircraft to its fleet is awaiting the Centre’s nod.

The largest intake will be from the South (109 cabin crew of which 103 airhostesses and 6 flight stewards). The IA will recruit 20 airhostesses from the eastern region, 24 airhostesses and 6 flight stewards from the western and northern regions separately. Air Sahara is also on a recruitment drive. Similarly, Air-India is also adding to its fleet. A recent notification advertised for 400 posts of cabin crew.

Pervin Malhotra, Director, CARING

Please send in your query preferably on a postcard along with your name, complete address and academic qualifications to:

Editor, Query Hotline,
The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160020, or at [email protected]




1. Which country recently created cricket history by scoring the highest fourth innings total to win a Test match?

2. How many years ago was the Mount Everest conquered?

3. For how many countries has the government granted the dual citizenship to Indians?

4. What position was bagged in a recent survey by Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God of Small Things’ from among the best 50 novels by women?

5. Which day is observed as the Anti Terrorism Day in the country?

6. In which year was Goa liberated from the Portugese?

7. In which state is the Sriharikota space centre situated?

8. Name the four playback singers in whose memory first-ever postage stamps were released recently.

9. What is the capital of Chechnya?

10. Which cricket legend has the dubious distinction of scoring 36 runs after batting for 60 overs in a World Cup match in 1975?

11. Who recently became the first Australian to score 30 Test centuries, and the second highest run-getter in the Test history?

12. Which cricketer has played the maximum number of Test matches?

13. Which team won the Ranji Trophy for the record 35th time recently?

14. Which is the only country to have beaten the West Indies in three consecutive Test matches in the West Indies?

15. Name the highest wicket-taker in one-day international cricket who recently announced his retirement from the game.



School address........................


Winners of quiz181: The first prize by draw of lots goes to Julian Jose, VI-A, Sophia Convent School, Kalka-133302.

Second: Rishab Sharma, VIII-A, St Lukes Sen Sec School, Solan-173212.

Third: Rupinder Kaur, X-A, BBMB DAV Public School, Nangal township-140124.

Answers to quiz 181: Lakshya; Virender Sehwag; 21 crore; Rang Manch; Windows Server 2003; Robert Blackwill; N.N. Vohra; 1985; Robert Atkins; Indian Institute of Advanced Studies; Association of South East Asian Nations; Bogota; Mettupalayam & Udhagamandalam; Paradorn Srichaphan; Andre Agassi.

Cash awards of Rs 400, 300 and 200 are given to the first, second and third prize winners, respectively. These are sent at the school address.

— Tarun Sharma