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Special Populations: What they are and why you need them

Most personal trainers enter the fitness industry to build a career they love, and to help others realize their potential to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle. Yet many get stuck in the mire of low-paying gym or studio jobs that just don’t cut it in terms of financial rewards and sustainable growth. Oftentimes, the pool of available clients is split among multiple trainers, and new clients are assigned on an “ups” system so that everyone gets a fair shot.

One way to beat the system, expand your client base and open new doors that lead to greater success is to become an expert in training special populations.

What Are Special Populations?

For the most part, the average personal training client is an otherwise healthy individual who wants to lose weight, tone up and improve their overall health. We tend to think of them as general population clients who have few issues other than being out of shape.

By contrast, special population clients — or special pops, as we like to call them — have one or more health issues or distinct needs that set them apart from the mainstream.

Some examples of special pops categories include:

  • Morbidly obese
  • Pre and post natal
  • Older adults 
  • Wounded warriors
  • Paraplegic
  • Children and teens
  • Post cardiac rehab
  • COPD
  • Cancer patients and survivors
  • Post-menopausal women
  • Any group whose members share the same unique needs

One example of a special population with unique needs that are being met by a local gym are homeless teenagers. After school, instead of hanging out in public spaces or going straight to a shelter, these unfortunate young people take the school bus to the gym, where they learn to challenge themselves physically while their needs for social and emotional support are met as well. The project has garnered the support of local charities and has received tons of free media advertising, making it a win-win for both the gym and the students.

Grow Your Income and Your Business with Special Pops

Becoming an expert trainer in any niche of special populations can be highly rewarding, professionally, financially and personally. There is nothing more gratifying than improving a client’s quality of life, and no better advertising than word-of-mouth from a satisfied client.

As a niche trainer, you can live your passion and build your reputation, both at work and in the community at large. Once word gets out about your expertise, you will see a flood of new clients and receive attention from the community that opens doors to bigger and better things.

Special Populations Education with W.I.T.S.

The team of fitness professionals at W.I.T.S. works tirelessly to meet your needs for certification and continuing education. The industry is constantly evolving, and we are here to help you stay on the cutting edge. Expand your credentials with a certification in Older Adult or Youth fitness. Grow your knowledge with specialty courses from our partner, the Med Fit Education Foundation, or earn CECs with our continuing education course, Program Design for Special Populations. Take your career to the next level with W.I.T.S.!

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