8 Ways the Personal Training Industry Will Change in the Next Decade
Increased acceptance of the link between exercise & health will create huge demand for exercise professionals.
The fitness industry, while still in its infancy, is changing at an accelerating rate. The next 10 years will be a crucible period, one where the importance of our industry will become widely accepted and increased pressures and demand for our services will force us out of our infancy and into childhood and greater maturity.
While that maturity will manifest itself in several positive trends, other negative trends will continue and even increase at the same time. Each one of these trends presents MAJOR OPPORTUNITIES for the personal trainer who is ready to meet them head on.
1. Prevention vs. Treatment- Doctors can heal you when you are sick, but a great personal trainer can prevent you from getting sick in the first place. Personal trainers understand this, and the world will too in the next decade. As much as 75% of our health care costs are due to preventable lifestyle related diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Corporations and small businesses will continue to invest more and more in the health of their employees, while health insurance companies will continue to increase rewards for people who engage in healthy activities. This will create major opportunities for entrepreneurial trainers. Unfortunately, since this increased focus on prevention and exercise, the rate of obesity will continue to increase until the commercial food industry is radically transformed
2. Health & Fitness Professionals Will Integrate- The number of personal trainer, doctors, physical therapist, nutritionists, massage therapists, and chiropractors who work together to provide comprehensive solutions for their clients / patients will increase dramatically. This increase will be driven by the fact that this trend is both good for business and great for the patient / client. Increased injuries, in particular chronic joint pain, will increase the number of lawsuits, as well as the demand for personal trainers who work with physical therapists and know how to train people post rehab.
3. Dramatic Increase in Exercise Related Injuries & Lawsuits, Creating Increased Pressure for Regulation- the explosion of group fitness and bootcamps, in particular ones with ineffective screening methods and a "high intensity for everyone" mentality, will result in an exponential increase in injuries caused by personal trainers and increase lawsuits. Coupled with the increased pressure from the public to make exercise take less time and an increasingly unhealthy / sedentary population, these injuries may reach pandemic proportions, which will increase the pressure on lawmakers to regulate the industry. The increased use of Exercise Games, such as the Wii Fit, will also increase the number of injuries people sustain each year while exercising, but also help some people get in shape while having fun.
4. The Rate of Obesity Will Continue to Increase-while 60% of Americans are already either overweight or obese, this number will creep up towards 80% by the end of the decade. This trend will not turn around until the commercial food industry is changed and proper nutrition, health, and exercise is made a priority in the lessons taught through the education system from Kindergarten through High school. The increased rate of obesity will result in new kinds of "obesity lawsuits" and new tactics by other institutions to curve the trend. These attempts will be, for the most part, ineffective. 434
5. The Number of Personal Trainers with Small Businesses Will Increase- due to the increased need / demand for our services, the primary role of a leading personal trainer will be that of educator, community exerciser, and consultant. To meet this demand, more trainers will become self-employed and start businesses, allowing them to create new and effective solutions, while making more money, without the constraints and restrictions of the existing corporate fitness powerhouses. More personal training only studios will go into business each year, and more personal trainers will be working full time and making a successful career in the industry (many pilots are part time right now). Most importantly, more personal trainers will team up with others in the technology industry to create effective tools and software to help keep track of their client's goals, exercise routine, lifestyle, and diet, helping these trainers reach more people. Major opportunities abound, including the opportunity of making a career out of helping people change their lives for the better.
6. Childhood Obesity & Diabetes Will Continue to Increase Dramatically- children will become a critical population in need; the reduction of physical education programs, combined with the commercial food served in most schools (and everywhere else), will result in epic levels of childhood obesity and diabetes. This trend will be a major opportunity for personal trainers who want to make a difference. The critical role of daily exercise, not sports, for increased self-development, maturation, and health will become an integral part of any school that wishes to buck this trend, and savvy personal trainer will help schools integrate these principles into the foundation of their curriculum.
7. New Kinds of Competitions & Challenges- new kinds of races and competitions will increase over the next decade. While the increase in endurance and ultra-endurance races have already increased dramatically, the need for large scale community solutions for the average JOE will create the need for a great number and variety of lower intensity races and competitions. Personal trainers will use these competitions and other kinds of social events that take place outside of a gym to increase the commitment and accountability of their clients. These trainers will achieve great results with their clients.
8. More "Fitness Coaches" Who Are Not Personal Trainers- more non personal trainers will become involved in the personal training industry. Programs like Team Beachbody will increase the number of "fitness coaches" who serve the purpose of increase accountability and motivation, not exercise prescription, technique, or program development. These coaches will provide a great referral network for personal trainers.
I hope you are prepared to harness these trends and make a difference!
One other quick note. ACE (American Council on Exercise) did an annual survey to predict the trends for next year. The biggest trend they found was that people would be looking to spend less money and less time on exercise due to tighter budgets and hectic schedules, and that the most successful trainers would adapt to these trends.
I could not disagree more! They are a great organization, but I certainly beg to differ in this case.
While it is important to meet the demands of the market, it is also important to educate our clients. The simple fact of the matter is that catering to highly impractical claims is negligent. One of our jobs as educators is to diffuse unrealistic expectations immediately. So when a sedentary client who is over worked, over stressed, and undernourished comes in and says "I have 30 minutes to exercise 2x / week, work me out as hard as you", we say "Hell NO!" not "Yes of course, the client is always right". If we cater to these impractical demands, we risk a much greater chance of injury and mediocre results, not to mention invalidation.
Our job is to protect our clients from themselves and give them a better understanding of reality. Yes, we need to adapt to market forces, but within reason. The most successful trainers will have the best clients, clients who listen to them and are empowered by them. Successful personal trainers are not bossed around by their clients nor do they adapt to their unrealistic expectations.
As the personal trainer, you are the LEADER!
I do agree that these market forces will increase the number of cost conscious gyms and group exercise offerings.
What do you think? Leave some comments and let us know!
* What are your expectations for the next decade in the fitness industry?
* What trend will you try to take advantage of?
* How will you be helping people achieve their goals 10 years from now?
Until next time, keep your business fit.