How the Personal Training Industry is Changing

The personal training sphere is expected to continue to grow in the years ahead. But it’s also expected to evolve significantly. In short: the training of tomorrow will look very different than the training of today. Club Industry recently conducted a comprehensive look at the “changing world of personal training.” Here’s a closer look at key findings from the report. 

Growth and Change

The fitness business industry is rapidly changing as artificial intelligence and other technologies emerge. One thing seems certain, however: Personal trainer will not only still be an important point of contact for members, but will remain critical to supporting the member experience. This is underscored by Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating that employment for personal trainers will skyrocket by a minimum of 13 percent between 2018 and 2028. This significantly outpaces the average rate of growth for all other occupations. 

Just because personal trainers will still be in demand doesn’t mean that expectations for them will remain static. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Changing Members = Changing Trainers

One of the biggest changes currently underway in the personal training industry? Members with more knowledge and tools than ever before. Says Lindsay Vastola, founder of Fit for Vast Potential and editor-in-chief of Personal Fitness Professional, “[Fitness clients] have experience now. They’re asking better questions and they’re savvier than they’ve ever been.” 

As such, the mandate for personal trainers to keep up with — and ahead of — changing knowledge and skills. Adds Joy Keller, executive editor, IDEA Publications, “The in-demand trainer for the next decade and beyond will be among the most educated and business-savvy iteration yet.” 

Clients are also changing in terms of their motivations. While fitness and weight loss may have once been the main things members were looking for in hiring personal trainers, holistic training has become an overarching member priority. “I think that the direction for coaches and trainers in the future is you have to be able to address someone’s comprehensive being — their body, mind, and soul…It is more of a lifestyle change. It’s not just the fitness of the body aspect. And I think the best coaches are going to be th4e ones who address the entire being of how one is feeling emotionally as well as physically.”  

A related takeaway for fitness business owners? According to Lisa Dougherty, founder of MedFit Network, fitness businesses should be prepared to invest in continuing education for the personal training staff in order to ensure optimal member retention and recruitment. 

The movement toward lifestyle coaching is also tied with a shift to something else: Many traininers are finding specialty niches, such as seniors, athletes, pre/post-natal, and obese individuals. 

The Emotional Intelligence Mandate

The Club Industry report also highlights the value of emotional intelligence in personal trainers as we learn more about human psychology, behavior and motivation. “Behavior modification is a huge chunk of the success pie, and tomorrow’s personal trainer will have a better grasp of this from the get-go,” insists Keller. 

Where Technology Fits In

We’ve already addressed that technology will not replace personal trainers. However, it will change how trainers interact with members. 

Woman seeking help from a personal trainer in a gym.

Proposes Amy Thompson, general manager, IDEA Health & Fitness Association, “As technology advances, the human interaction will become more valued. Research is suggesting digital platforms are serving as a gateway for more people to begin an exercise program and leading them to facilities and coaches. Trainers will need to have an understanding and appreciation for advances that can help us deliver better results and reach more people.”

Technological tools at personal trainers’ disposals will include virtual personal trainers, digital programming, online booking and payments, the ability to track trainer performance, and fitness monitoring equipment. 

Speaking of technology, the report also addresses the power of social media marketing in the hands of personal trainers who are then positioned to be influencer instructions. Concludes Austin Smith, director of enterprise accounts (fitness) at UPshow, “Above all, empowering the members of your team to build their own brand through social media comes full circle to benefit you as an owner.”

The old saying, “The more things change, they more they stay the same,” does not apply when it comes to the fitness industry space. Keeping up with the trends, including with personal training programming, is essential to surviving — and thriving — through the changes. Speaking of the changes, wearables are very much a must-have when it comes to meeting the needs of today’s gym members.  Request a demo today to learn what Accuro can do for you.