Dollars and Sense
by Gary Augustine Warren
Co-Founder and Director of Fitness and Sports Network's FMI
After participating behind-the-scenes and watching for years, I am ready to articulate my opinion on fitness organization, “pro status”. More specifically, a widespread perspective that attaining this status has the ability to automatically create signficant economic opportunities. When there ARE significant economic and career making opportunities, I will back off this stance.
That being said, I do know of events that have the best interest of their participants – Kendall Wood (FitSciences and Smart Moves Inc) and The 2012 Powertec Model & Fitness World Finale to name a few. “Pro Status” and it's seemingly magical ability to create careers, is not emphasized or mentioned at all. Being HEALTHY and having applicable skills that lead to work opportunities (regardless of placing) are.
Here is a wake up call for work opportunities – most fitness show standards scare Madison Avenue accounts. Mainstream clients (the groups with the big marketing budgets to spend) will not hire an unknown that is too big and ripped. Why? It scares their customer market and they will lose business. The exceptions are pro athletes that have a mainstream following. Those types usually have an association like NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, or UFC attached to them. They are household brand names validated by ratings from the sports broadcasts.
I am tired of seeing wasted economic investment and physical health detriments via fad/unhealthy dieting for the pursuit of alleged riches and glory that are not there. If participation is done simply as a hobby and preparation is conducted in a healthy manner, this critique does not pertain to you. Carry on and congratulations on your hard work.
In terms of career building, “pro status” is not necessary to create work opportunities. Can it help? Yes. However, a title is not the be all, end all for success. Don't believe me? Ask an agent trying to get you mainstream (better paying) work. Understanding industry protocols, applicable skills, work ethic, and marketing strategy are the ESSENTIAL tools needed to create employment opportunities. Personalities related to fitness such as Jillian Michaels and Greg Plitt know this well. Neither have ever entered a fitness show and seem to be doing okay in their careers.
If you're going to participate in shows as a career stepping stone, have a plan in place before doing so. That strategy will give you a higher return on investment more than any, “pro status” ever will (in it's current state). For those that do not like this critique, there is a very simple response to silence it; create market opportunities that can allow for CAREERS to be forged & prosper. The NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and UFC have.