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Raising the Bar! (not barbell!) Fitness Industry Standards!

We're calling the fitness industry to raise the bar when it comes to certification requirements.
We’re calling the fitness industry to raise the bar when it comes to certification requirements.

Tomorrow is Labor Day! We are about 6 weeks away from the 4th Annual Personal Trainer Summit at the Club Industry 2014 Convention in Chicago. This is a perfect time to reflect on where we are as an industry, and a profession—and how far we still need to go!

General Industry Standards for Personal Training and Certification

For decades, we’ve been discussing the need for standards in the education, training, and certification of personal trainers. Rather than unite as an industry, individual groups have designed their own “certification” and “education” programs with little to no collaboration, communication, or consistency. To date, “certification” can be obtained in a variety of ways: in as little as an hour online, a weekend workshop, a semester-long college program, and a four-year bachelor’s degree! An individual can follow any of these paths and come up with the same credential, designation, or letters after their name. They can start working as a personal trainer without receiving any education or training. The consumer is none the wiser and is ultimately, the potential victim.

Does this make sense? Does this lack of consensus and standard for education, training, and certification position us a valid healthcare occupation? I think we can do better!

Standards for Employers: Who Are You Hiring and Employing?

There are many different ways that this lack of standards can be improved. It truly “takes a village” to elevate this industry into a healthcare occupation to get us the respect we deserve. We save lives! We prevent disease! We improve quality of life, independence and reduce injury! That level of responsibility comes with accountability.

We need to ask ourselves:

  • Are employers ensuring that those they hire have attained quality education and training to ensure competence and skills?
  • Are we establishing standards for the hiring of personal trainers? Are we invested in these professionals and supporting their ongoing continuing education and training?
  • Are we paying them what they are worth as healthcare professionals? Our research reports an average employee turnover of 80%! Why are we losing so many?
  • Are they going to another club? Leaving the profession? Disillusioned by a workplace that doesn’t respect and support them as professionals?

I think we can do better!

Standards for Professionals: Are We Striving for Excellence?

It is not just the industry (certification groups, educators, employers, professional associations, etc.) that have the responsibility to elevate standards in our profession–but us professionals ourselves. Are we striving for excellence? Are we looking for the quickest, cheapest path to certification and continuing education; or are we seeking out quality programs that will provide us with the education and training needed to establish competence? Are we earning our continuing education units/credits through exercise classes and social activities at conferences; or are we signing up for courses that will expand our knowledge, skills, and professionalism? Are we taking the minimum we need for employment; or putting in the effort to be the BEST?

Unfortunately, the industry and the employers may only require the bare minimum from us. But is that enough? I think we can do better!

Consumer Education: Demanding Excellence!

The industry, the employers, and the professionals all play a role in establishing and achieving high standards. Consumers have the responsibility to DEMAND high standards! We need to educate consumers on how to select a qualified personal trainer. We need to help them understand the training and education requirements for competence and differentiate between the dozens of “certifications.” We have a responsibility to share that information–and consumers have the responsibility to do their research. The public is confused enough by conflicting advice and information available with regards to exercise, fitness, and nutrition. Are we doing everything we can to help them make better choices?

I think we can do better!

As we celebrate Labor Day, prepare for the 4th Annual Personal Trainer Summit at the Club Industry 2014 Convention in Chicago, and recognize Professional Standards Month at W.I.T.S., lets take some time to reflect on what each of us are doing to Raise the Bar! Are we reaching out to unite the industry? Are we hiring, managing and leading qualified professionals? Are we striving for excellence in ourselves?

Where can we do better?

Share your thoughts on the status of the industry with regard to standards in education, training, and certification. What are YOU doing? What can WE be doing?

Join us in Chicago for the 4th Annual Personal Trainer Summit and let’s work together to RAISE THE BAR!


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3 thoughts on “Raising the Bar! (not barbell!) Fitness Industry Standards!

  1. […] focus this month is on professional standards in the fitness industry. In any credible profession, there should be a “path” one must follow to become […]

  2. […] this month, we’ve been talking about raising the bar in the fitness industry, with regards to education, training, and professional practice. Of […]

  3. I love your blog

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