Feature Article - March 2011
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Fit To Be Tried

Top Trends in Fitness Programming

By Deborah L. Vence


With regard to personal training, Poppler said that 6.5 million Americans used personal training in 2009 compared with 4 million in 1999. The "typical" personal training consumer:

  • Is equally likely to be male or female
  • Is between the ages of 25 and 54
  • Has completed at least one year of college or higher
  • Earns an annual income of at least $75,000
  • Visits their club an average of 107.6 days per year
  • Is a health club member for an average of 4.9 years
  • Pays an average of $55.87 per session

"Personal training is growing despite the economy for a few reasons. People know their time is valuable, and they know a session even once in a while with a good trainer will make for more efficient workouts," Poppler said. "And, thanks in part to the economy, trainers and clubs are pricing and positioning training differently, doing it not just one on one, but in small groups, or as a sport-specific training component.

Yet another reason why personal training has fared well during the economic recession is due to the substantial increase in the number of seniors who are exercising.

"People aged 55 and older accounted for 25 percent of club members in 2009," Poppler said.

"Older adults are more likely to utilize personal training services because they often have the time, the resources and as people age, strength training and balance training become even more important," she added, "so finding trainers that are specifically qualified to work with older adults on their exercise programs has become more important."

According to the IHRSA fitness survey, the evolution of personal training is taking shape.

Personal training is the most commonly offered program in clubs, with more than 90 percent of all clubs offering personal training of some kind. The main factor for growth, even in the recession, is the trend away from one-on-one training toward small-group or semi-private training, the IHRSA survey stated.