Why work at Fitness First
I was so inspired by what my Personal Trainer did for me, that I wanted to do the same for others – to change their lives.Senior General Manager, PhilippinesRead more
Senior General Manager, Philippines
Rouel’s journey with Fitness First began on the day of his 34th birthday in November 2004, when he enquired about a membership at our Greenhills club in Manila. Severely stressed in his job as a Mechanical Engineer, it was time to do something to protect his health and quality of life. So he began training with a Personal Trainer – and in only three months, achieved his fitness goals.
A life-changing decision
It was after this that Rouel made a major life decision. He resigned from his job of 13 years to join Fitness First as a Personal Trainer.
“I was so inspired by what my Personal Trainer did for me, that I wanted to do the same for others – to change their lives,” says Rouel. Within months, he became one of the top trainers in the business, a target achieved through dedication, consistent performance, and building good relationships with clients. “It didn’t feel like a job, because I was having fun motivating people to achieve their goals.”
From Personal Trainer to Senior General Manager
From there on, there was no looking back. Over the years, Rouel has worked his way through the ranks, holding various roles such as Assistant Fitness Manager, Fitness Manager, Membership Consultant and Assistant Club General Manager. Under his leadership, Fitness First Eastwood was recognised as Club of the Year in 2012, and Rouel was also awarded General Manager of the Year.
As Senior General Manager, Rouel now oversees two clubs. A big part of his current role involves mentoring others. “Setting goals with my team is the most exciting part of my job,” he says, “because being able to help someone visualise their goals and inspiring them to achieve it is immensely fulfilling.”
“Don’t stop when you’re tired; only stop when you’re done,” Rouel counsels. “2016 marks my 11th year with Fitness First… and I’m not done yet.”
One key aspect of my job which I love, is being in a position where I can train and coach my team to promote a brand and products that help people live a healthier and better lifestyle.Area Business Manager, MalaysiaRead more
Christopher Andrew Lee
Area Business Manager, Malaysia
“The plan was to stay here for a year, then go home,” says Chris. “I’ve now been here for three, and I’m actually looking to make Malaysia my permanent home.”
Capitalising on skills
Born in Australia, into a family that was half Asian – his father is English, his mother Chinese – Chris had always been curious to get to know the Asian culture better.
He spotted a vacancy for a club General Manager role in Malaysia, and sent his résumé. “My background is in sales - I started as a Membership Consultant with another health club provider many years ago and worked my way up to Club Manager. Working for another operator meant that I always had to keep an eye on our competitors, including Fitness First – so I was quite familiar with the brand and the things they did. I then left the business to do sales management roles in the automotive and property sector, before re-joining the fitness industry,” he says.
A new challenge every day
Chris arrived in Malaysia in 2013 to take up the role of General Manager at our Menara MBF club – and now oversees three clubs in his role as Area General Manager. In 2014, Chris won the Top Club General Manager of the Year, while one of his clubs, Fitness First Avenue K, won the Club of the Year Award. Later in 2014, Chris was integral in opening Malaysia’s latest club at The Gardens Mall where he and his proud team set record-breaking pre-sales membership numbers.
“One key aspect of my job which I love, is being in a position where I can train and coach my team to promote a brand and products that help people live a healthier and better lifestyle,” says Chris. “Also, a new challenge awaits me each day, and that gives me purpose.”
I firmly believe that when you love what you’re doing, you’re half way there to a successful career.General Manager, Hong KongRead more
General Manager, Hong Kong
Six years ago, Ron was one of our members who regularly attended group exercises classes. While studying for his BA in Language and Communications, Ron began teaching RPM and Body Pump classes part-time. Then shortly after graduation in 2013, Ron decided to join us full-time as a Group Exercise Coordinator.
Turning a passion into a career
Determined to pursue a career in fitness, Ron studied for a Sports Science and Fitness Foundation Certification from the Asian Academy for Sports and Fitness Professionals (AASFP).
In no time at all, he’d made a name for himself, becoming the main instructor in Hong Kong for many group exercise programmes, including our Signature classes such as HardCore, HardCore Maxx, and ProCycling. Ron is also Hong Kong’s HardCore Maxx programme champion too. As a programme champion, Ron’s role includes ensuring quality delivery of the Signature programme throughout Hong Kong.
Always opportunities to learn
“Recently, I was allowed the honour of representing my country and being featured in the HardCore series educational video shoot. I travelled to Kuala Lumpur to work with the regional team to film the video, which would be used by all HardCore instructors throughout Asia. It was quite an experience,” he says. “Not only did it show me the amount of work and detail that went into developing a new group exercise programme, but I also met many of my colleagues from around the region which gave me opportunities to learn from them.”
Besides supportive and encouraging colleagues, Ron counts a keen interest in fitness and strong product knowledge as key to his success. “I firmly believe that when you love what you’re doing, you’re half way there to a successful career,” he says.
...there are plenty of opportunities for an employee with the right mindset and attitude to grow along with it.Senior General Manager, ThailandRead more
Watchara Waiwattana (Jimmy)
Senior General Manager, Thailand
This Environmental Science graduate worked in a laboratory for about five months before he began feeling bored, restless and unmotivated. “I spent my days sitting in a lab and it got boring pretty quickly. That wasn’t what I wanted in a career,” says Jimmy. “So I started looking elsewhere for a new job – preferably in an international company – where I could learn more.”
That was nearly ten years ago. Jimmy joined us as a membership consultant, and is now a Senior General Manager. He counts a solid career development plan, personal growth as well as supportive supervisors and colleagues who keep him motivated as reasons for staying with Fitness First. “Also, the stability and peace of mind that I get from having good employee benefits such as medical insurance means that I can focus completely on doing my job well.”
The right attitude will take you far
Jimmy believes that he won the General Manager of the Year Award (Asia) for 2013 because of his motivation, tenacity and commitment towards helping other people to grow within the organisation – he mentored eight other general managers that year alone. “Each individual has different capabilities and potential. A big part of my job is to help them leverage those capabilities to reach their full potential, and earn the kind of income they want,” he says.
“During my time here, I’ve seen significant growth of the organisation. This means that there are plenty of opportunities for an employee with the right mindset and attitude to grow along with it.”
...I realised that I couldn’t get the same kind of learning and development opportunities.National Sales Training Manager, IndonesiaRead more
National Sales Training Manager, Indonesia
Fresh out of university, Regie began his career with us in 2006 as a customer service officer. Barely a year after joining, he was handpicked to participate in the Junior Management Programme, and rose through the ranks quickly after successfully completing the programme.
Opportunities for learning and development
“I actually resigned from Fitness First in August 2009 to work in an advertising company. But I came back after three months, because I realised that they couldn’t give me the kind of learning and development opportunities nor the guidance to grow like Fitness First,” says Regie.
Regie’s renewed motivation and purpose was evident as he took on the Front of House Manager role at our Senayan City club in November 2009. In only a few months, his efforts were recognised as he was given the Best Front of House Staff Award for Indonesia, to later be the proud winner of the same award for the whole of Asia. These triumphs were enough to earn Regie a place in the General Manager Programme (GMP), which put him on the fast track to becoming a General Manager.
Since then, Regie’s taken up various managerial roles, including Sales Manager, Club General Manager, and Senior General Manager.
Discovering a new passion
However, upon attending a Sales Manager course, he discovered a liking for the subject, and rose to the challenge of becoming a certified sales trainer and facilitator. “Fitness First has allowed me to grow so much over the years – not just as a professional and also as an individual – so helping to train and mentor the next generation of Fitness Firsters would be my way of giving back to the organisation,” he says.
Recently promoted to National Sales Training Manager, Regie is also a Certified Master Performance Coach.
Everything I had done up until now has prepared me for this role – I just didn’t know it at the time.Head of Learning & Development, AsiaRead more
Head of Learning & Development, Asia
A Malaysian born in Germany who spent her growing up years in the United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong, Jacq is multi-lingual and multi-talented. With a degree in International Relations and German, she initially worked in sales and marketing in Hong Kong, while teaching group exercise classes part time.
Turning a passion into a calling
Jacq’s love for group exercise soon became her calling, eventually joining Fitness First Hong Kong full time as Group Exercise Coordinator in 2002. While reluctant to commit to a full time role again after enjoying the flexibility a freelance role offers, she was promised opportunities to create impacts beyond just one single class, and ‘plan lots of events and parties.’ How could a girl say no?
Over the next few years in tandem with Fitness First’s expansion in the region, Jacq went on to take up several other leadership roles in Asia, including National Group Exercise Manager of Malaysia, Hong Kong, and later, Thailand.
Moving into a bigger role as Group Exercise Trainer for Asia, Jacq was crucial in the development of several of our Signature programmes – which are group exercise classes specially created by our fitness experts– such as HardCore and Step. Besides developing the class contents, she was also responsible for developing the training structure, the training itself, and assessing and upskilling the instructors. Reflecting on her career, she recounts an experience when she was Regional Group Exercise Trainer as particularly memorable.
“I was conducting a training module for our Easy Step and Easy Moves programme at one of our clubs in Manila, when Typhoon Ondoy struck. All of us ended up sleeping on the floor in the Mind and Body studio, because transportation services were suspended and the nearby hotels were full. Overnight, I came up with a Plan B for the remainder of the training, thinking that the trainees would want to get home to their families as soon as they could.”
“But when I woke up, they were already practising for their presentations that day. I was blown away by their positive spirit and dedication – proof that they really love what they do! I got up, brushed my teeth, and joined them.”
Making far-reaching and lasting impacts
Jacq’s nurturing nature, genuine interest for developing people, solid group exercise fitness background and understanding of our operations didn’t go unnoticed; it was only natural that she would be asked to take on the role of Regional Learning and Developing Manager.
Today, a big part of Jacq’s role includes ensuring that our people get the knowledge and skills that they need to excel in their roles, go further in their careers, and in turn enables us to be first for members, people and results. She does this by structuring, developing and rolling out training content that is relevant to the needs of the business and true to our Learning Philosophy and approach, as well as helping our country facilitator teams improve their skills in delivering the programmes – all while remaining true to the Fitness First way of learning.
“Everything I had done up until now has prepared me for this role – I just didn’t know it at the time,” she says.
The opportunity to be involved with global programmes, and being able to share my knowledge and experience within Fitness First is what keeps me going.Membership Applications Programme Manager, AsiaRead more
Membership Applications Programme Manager, Asia
If there was one person who could tell you all about our extensive membership administrative systems and how the entire ecosystem works, it would probably be Mavis. Having been heavily involved in pre-sales activities for a majority of our Malaysia clubs, she became the go-to person for our teams whenever a new club was about to open.
An acknowledged subject matter expert
It would only be a matter of time before Mavis’ expertise became highly sought after throughout the region. As Group Membership Manager for Asia, her primary responsibilities predominantly involved travelling around the six countries in the Fitness First Asia business to help implement regional membership administrative initiatives.
Mavis played an integral role in the development of our business in India. “My role was to help the local team set up the administrative protocols, and introduce the business rules as well as the Fitness First processes. I also conducted training for the pioneer teams in the various functions like Front of House, Administration and Sales to help them familiarise themselves with the systems and processes.” she says. A particularly fond memory from that time was helping the pre-sales team at the sales booth after office hours. “Besides demonstrating team work, it was also a really good experience which helped me to better understand the local culture!” she recounts.
Pioneering new ways of working
In 2008, Mavis travelled to the UK and the Netherlands to learn about a new membership information tracking system developed by our teams in the UK called Members First, and implementing it throughout Asia upon her return. A critical piece of Fitness First’s administrative system, Members First is still in use in all Fitness First clubs throughout Asia, every single day.
“The opportunity to be involved with global programmes and being able to share my knowledge and experience that would make a difference in deciding best practices within Fitness First is what keeps me going. Knowing that I’ve had a hand in implementing systems and processes which make a positive impact on the way we do things within the organisation is a good feeling to have.” she says.
With the knowledge she has gained from working in the operations and membership administration aspects of our business, Mavis was offered the opportunity to join the Regional Project Management Office team in 2014. Today, a big part of her job includes planning, organising, leading and controlling new business initiatives to ensure they are executed successfully.