The American College of Sports Medicine is recognized globally as an authoritative body for establishing research-based guidelines and standards for sports, fitness and personal training. Beginning in 2006, the ACSM began to circulate an intensive survey to thousands of professionals worldwide, to keep abreast of health and fitness trends for the coming year. They have continued to do so annually, and the results of the latest survey for 2020 were recently published.
The survey’s authors were careful to distinguish between “fad” and “trend,” a fad being a brief and temporary surge of popularity, while a trend is an ongoing and long-term behavioral change. The distinction was made to help guide survey participants in formatting their responses, so that the resulting data would be useful for long-term planning and goal setting for health and fitness providers.
Personal Training Trends Upward
Since the survey’s inception in 2006, personal training has always made the top 20. But personal training has been steadily trending upward over the course of time, rising from number 9 in 2017 to number 8 in 2018 and 2019. In the newly published 2020 survey, personal training holds a solid 5th place.
Why does it matter?
If personal training continues to be an important fitness trend in the years to come, then the demand for qualified personal trainers will continue to be on the rise. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, career opportunities for personal trainers is expected to surge by 13 percent over the coming decade, growing at an above-average pace compared to other occupations. Considering its high ranking, the personal trainer job outlook is very promising for the coming decade.
Personal Trainer Qualifications
In its Occupational Outlook Handbook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics erroneously lists a high school diploma or equivalent as the educational requirement for personal trainers, with short-term on-the-job training. While that was true 20 years ago, it is no longer accurate.
To succeed as a personal trainer in the 2020s, you will need a solid certification that includes core science and hands-on skills training. In most cases, employers require an NCCA accredited certification before they will even consider you for a job. There are dozens of bogus certification programs on the market that will issue you a certificate, but if they fail to teach you the fundamentals, you will quickly be found out.
Here are just a handful of important personal trainer skills that require hands-on learning:
- Record keeping and business management: Personal trainers need to keep track of a lot of information: client health records, progress charts, workouts, account history and much more! Most certification programs fail to touch on this.
- Conducting and interpreting each client’s health history: Personal training clients come to us with a plethora of health conditions and a broad range of medications. It is essential that you are able to ask the right questions and know how to interpret and use this information to protect your client and yourself.
- Measuring and monitoring vital statistics: It is impossible to accurately measure heart rate and blood pressure without hands-on experience, with a variety of different subjects. Online certification programs that do not offer hands-on skills training cannot help you with this.
- Conducting standardized fitness assessments: Standardized fitness assessments for strength, endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness give us a baseline against which we can measure our clients’ progress. This is another skill that requires hands-on practice and experience, which you cannot get online.
- Personalized goal-specific client programming: The secret to becoming a successful personal trainer is being able to help your clients reach and exceed their goals. Learning the basics of goal-oriented programming is an essential skill that requires hands-on practice.
- Teaching proper exercise form and execution: Safety and injury prevention are fundamental to any fitness training program. As trainers, we need to cue our clients on correct alignment and perfect execution, to prevent injury and attain desired results.
- Injury prevention and management: Any type of physical activity comes with inherent risks. As a trainer, it is your job to teach your clients to exercise safely, and to provide guidance and support throughout each session. These are hands-on skills that cannot be learned from a textbook or video.
- Lifestyle counseling: Every client brings their own uniqued lifestyle history to the table. As trainers, we work with our clients to identify negative lifestyle behaviors and help them make better choices. Role playing gives you essential skills for communicating with your clients, in ways that help them evolve, without making them feel judged.
In addition to skills training, you need a solid foundation in anatomy, physiology and biomechanics. If you do not understand the basic science underlying fitness, and possess the hands-on skills necessary to apply your knowledge, it will be difficult to attract and retain well-paying clients.
At the end of the day, your success depends on your clients getting the results they paid for. Without a quality fitness education and hands-on training, you will find it difficult to compete with more qualified and experienced trainers.
The Best Personal Training Certification for Skills and Knowledge
With personal training ranking high on ACSM’s list of health and fitness trends for 2020, there has never been a better time to get your personal trainer certification.
If you are serious about building a successful and sustainable fitness career, don’t cut corners on your certification. Get the support, knowledge and hands-on experience you need to succeed with a fitness certification from W.I.T.S.
Advantages of a W.I.T.S. certification include:
- Fully NCCA accredited
- Recognized by employers nation-wide
- Available in colleges, universities and online
- Taught by qualified and experienced industry professionals
- Internship program available to cement your skills
- Friendly customer service and support
- Online continuing education at your fingertips
Join the W.I.T.S. family of industry leaders, and build your fitness career on a solid foundation.
Thompson, Walter R. “Worldwide survey of fitness trends for 2020.” ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal 23.6 (2019): 10-18.