Gym trainers sweat it out to stay afloat as lockdown hits them in the pocket

The lockdown has taken a toll on all gym instructors. With no job and other means of income, most of them are now pushed against the wall.

Published: 25th May 2020 05:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th May 2020 06:25 PM   |  A+A-

Gym, Body building

Representational image. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Muhammed Irfan (name changed), a part-time fitness instructor in a tier-IIG gym here, was hoping to put together three months of his salary to pay the first instalment of his college fees when he joined a diploma course in Bengaluru.

But that was when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the nation. With his gym remaining closed since the first week of March owing to the lockdown, he is out of work and hence has to drop his study plans. The penniless trainer is crestfallen owing to the uncertainty over the reopening of fitness centres. Irfan, who drew his last salary in early March, feels that gyms are going to be shut for another two months.

The lockdown has taken a toll on all gym instructors. With no job and other means of income, most of them are now pushed against the wall.

Peter Joseph Gnalian, an internationally renowned body builder and weightlifting champion who owns a gym in Angamaly, has three instructors under him who were paid half their salary in the first month of the lockdown.

"The gym is closed but I paid them half the salary from my pocket. But I won't be able to do that again," he said. Peter's pension from his railway job offered him a financial cushion, but that is not the case for his employees, who are part-timers.

More severe is the case of full-time trainers, who have lost out on the income from personal training as well. Providing individual training helps earn them extra bucks as most of the gyms don't pay more than Rs 15,000 as salary.

Baby Plakoottam, former body building national coach who runs a chain of gyms in Kottayam, said he is getting distress calls from various gym owners and trainers who are eager to know when gyms will be allowed to open.

"It's not just trainers in Kerala. Their counterparts working abroad are also facing the heat," said the president of the Kerala State Body Building Association. However, Baby said trainers and owners need to wait till the government gives the nod. "There is no other way out. The pandemic has affected everyone. So we have to wait," he said.


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