Recreation Management - Ideas and Solutions for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

April 2018


IHRSA Sees Positive Growth for Fitness Pros

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By Deborah L. Vence

The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) recently released a report detailing the trends in the fitness instructor market, showing positive growth. In the report—the U.S. Fitness Professional Outlook—employment growth for fitness professionals since 2003 was examined, as well as compensation trends, certification requirements and key drivers for continued success.

"By all accounts, the prospects for fitness professionals are positive," stated Jay Ablondi, IHRSA's executive vice president of global products, in a press release. "IHRSA estimates roughly 409,000 fitness professionals provide services to fitness and sports participants in the United States, and we anticipate the number to continue to grow as consumers continue to seek expert guidance with their health, wellness, and sport goals."

Multiple sources forecasted growth for fitness professionals. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the number of recreation and fitness workers will grow by 10 percent between now and 2026. IBISWorld, an independent research firm, also estimated growth in the number of fitness professionals, particularly instructors specializing in yoga and Pilates.

The increase in employment opportunities and demand for fitness professionals can be attributed to the growth of the health club industry as club membership has increased significantly, from 33.7 million in 2001 to 57.3 million in 2016.

"The fitness professional market plays a critical role in club growth and profitability," stated Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA's senior research manager, in a press release. "From a club's perspective, personal training, small group training and group exercise instruction can increase non-dues revenue and enhance the member experience. For members, one-on-one interactions with trainers and instructors contribute to ongoing participation and retention."

IHRSA's U.S. Fitness Professional Outlook is organized into four chapters:

  • Personal Trainers: Reviews employment growth from 2003 through 2016, along with wages for full and part-time employees based on IHRSA's employee compensation and benefits study.
  • Fitness Instructors: Analyzes employment trends for group exercise, yoga, Pilates, group cycling and barre instructors.
  • Fitness Professionals—Job Requirements, Wages and Benefits: Details certification requirements, hourly wages, and benefits for personal trainers and fitness instructors.
  • Growth—Drivers for Growth and Looking Ahead: Integrates IHRSA research and analysis from government and independent industry research sources in establishing the keys to growth for fitness professionals.

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