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Shape up for a new career.


DEBBIE, 43, leads Pilates classes and trains instructors from all over the country with the help of five part-time staff.

Before qualifying as an exercise teacher she was regional sales manager for a computing company. The job: Pilates should make you look more toned but it's also about maintaining your body. It focuses on internal rather than external musculature, because it's useless to tone the arms and legs and rest of the body if the posture isn't correct.

As well as teaching classes, last year we signed a contract with the Pilates Institute in London to be the sole Scottish provider of their instructor training courses.

How I did it: had become very involved in going to the gym and people suggested I got some qualifications. liked the idea of selling something people would buy because it was good for their bodies and lives and not just because they needed it for their job. The main reason set up my own company was that was trekking into Edinburgh to teach and realised that unless people went into the city, they didn't have access to Pilates classes. I started teaching in West Lothian and as Pilates featured in the media more, it became more popular. Now we're rushed off our feet.

The perks: Pilates really helps suppleness and, because of the breathing element, it's good for relaxation as well. I was 41 when I had my daughter Eve and I was still teaching five days before she was born.

Five-year plan: One thing we're looking at is offering holidays in the Sierra Nevada in southern Spain that combine learning flamenco, Pilates and yoga in the sunshine with beautiful surroundings. Tips: Anyone can print up a few business cards and say they're a fitness instructor but, if you haven't had any experience in the fitness industry, make sure you get a good qualification


CRAIG, 23, teaches one-to-one at the health and fitness club of a top Edinburgh hotel.

He also sees private clients in their homes and offices. The job: As well as improving people's health and fitness I'm always trying to increase their well-being and motivation and reduce their stress levels.

How I did it: went to Stevenson College in Edinburgh to take a National Certificate and a HND in fitness, health and exercise. When I left, I joined Escape and studied for my instructor qualifications with the Chek Institute and Fitness Scotland while I worked.

The perks: I feel good because I'm fit and healthy and it's great to see that change happening in other people.

Five-year plan: Another trainer and I are starting to work with large companies to prevent all the horrible things from which employees suffer. We will be working on exercise, stress management and motivation.

Tips: People think personal trainers earn a lot of money because you charge pounds 35 or pounds 40 a session but you have to put in a lot of time looking at clients' diet and fitness and how you can improve things for them. You have to spend time letting people know you're there and what you do


WHEN 30-year-old Barry left school, he was unfit, overweight and too shy to even answer the phoneNow he is in charge of sales and marketing at Escape, the health and fitness club at Edinburgh's Scotsman Hotel. The job: sell memberships and promote the club and spa facilities within the hotel and existing membership and externally. organise open days and demonstrations and speak to people about what joining a gym could mean. How I did it: When I left school I was 21stone and was painfully shy. worked as a travel agent for a few years then got a job on the switchboard of a four-star hotel. Then I had a brief spell in a call centre but hated being told what to do and say. A health club was opening next door. I knew the people involved and they offered me a job as a membership consultant. After a few months I became sales manager and then assistant manager. Shortly after that, was approached to join EscapeThe perks: I love the prestige of working for a five-star hotel club and we get to use all the facilities.

Five-year plan: Ideally would like my own club or spa to run. I've had a lot of involvement in the facilities where I've worked but eventually I'd like to have the final say in the decision-making.

Tips: It's essential to appreciate why people come to you. They may be insecure about themselves and you need to be able to listen to them and give them feedback. Working in a gym is all about taking care of people


Champion: Stuart Hutson
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 22, 2005
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