Feature Article - March 2011
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Fit To Be Tried

Top Trends in Fitness Programming

By Deborah L. Vence

Training Certification

First off, fitness accreditation remains one of the top fitness trends for 2011, based on the ACSM's 2011 fitness trends survey. The lead author of the survey, Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, FAACVP, Regents Professor at the Department of Kinesiology & Health (College of Education) in the Division of Nutrition, School of Allied Health Professions (College of Health and Human Sciences) at Georgia State University in Atlanta, said that more fitness professionals will be required to have the proper education before they can engage in personal training.

"There are two issues that are occurring—an underlying theme in the industry. One is that more and more people are getting injured and being injured by personal trainers. There was an expert witness on several cases where personal trainers didn't have the proper education or experience or certification to provide the kinds of exercise experiences that clients expect," Thompson said.

"As more and more of these cases are getting into the court system, the higher the value of the case increases—more precedent being set," he said. "We have attorneys that specialize in exercise personal injury cases. As more go to court, employers are waking up and saying, 'I can't hire the high school graduate who was the star football player.'

Secondly, even in the face of the economic downturn, some states are considering legislation to license personal trainers.

"None have become law yet, and that may be related to the economy," Thompson noted. "If I was to guess within the next five years, we will have five or six states that will require licenses to practice personal training."