Experts Address the Biggest Issues Facing Personal Trainers Today

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At the 2013 Personal Trainer Summit, which was held at the Club Industry Conference and Exposition in Chicago, a panel of experts addresses some of the biggest questions facing the personal training profession, including how to improve the image of personal training so it is seen as a profession, whether the industry needs to be regulated by the government and how to work with the medical community.

  • Mark Cassidy, fitness director of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • June Chewing, education director and owner of Fitness Learning Systems
  • Tony Books Avilez, owner of The Body House
  • David Herbert, industry legal expert and author
  • Barbara Farruggia , human resources director for Fitness Formula Clubs
  • Liz Callham, master trainer and speaker for Fitness Formula Clubs
  • Mike Leve, fitness director, master trainer and speaker for Fitness Formula Clubs
  • Shawna Dosser, president and CEO of BWI Health Promotion Training Institute
  • Jon Baraglia, vice president of education at Bally Total Fitness

The Personal Trainer Summit was organized by W.I.T.S.

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on Mar 25, 2014

Great panel discussion, and thanks for doing it. A few comments:

One of the biggest problems, as I see it, is that too many big-box gyms, who are the largest employers of trainers, see their trainers as personal training salesmen, to be valued more for their revenue generation than for valuable skill-based services for members.

Another problem is that there is no standard of excellence for trainers. This means that too often special population big box gym clients who may need the most help are matched with trainers with the least amount of experience and training. The standard used to be certification from a major body, such as ACE, ACSM, NASM, or NSCA, plus two year experience was required. Now, it seems like a weekend seminar and an open-book test, or some other dumbed-down certification, qualifies for employment as a personal trainer.

And yet another problem is that trainers are low-wage, part-time employees, and are paid for training sessions conducted. This means that when trainers are not with a client, they are not at the gym, which also means that even if it were offered, they are not available for ongoing in-house skill-training themselves.

I for one am for some form of regulation and qualification credentialing. BUT, Dr. Bryant is absolutely right. If we, the industry, doesn't do it ourselves, others will impose it upon us. If that happens, what becomes of those really great, well experienced trainers who may not have a college degree in exercise science or a related field, if that becomes a requirement? And, conversely, how much pressure will be brought to bear to include minimally qualified people from low standard training programs just because that/those agencies have lobbying money to spend?

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