Changes Transforming the Face of Personal Training

When Portland resident and mother of three kids Mindy Jensen was more than 60 pounds overweight, she knew something had to change. Her blood pressure was high. Her blood sugar was elevated. She was perpetually dehydrated. Fast food and late-night snacking was a regular part of her diet. And she frequently skipped workouts.

With some encouragement from her doctor, a personal trainer, and a supportive group of friends, she embraced the changes she needed to make. Her diet improved. She made time to exercise, instead of making excuses. She worked off the excess weight, gained strength, endurance, and energy, and made lasting lifestyle changes.

And the same kind of metamorphosis is happening to the business of personal training. There are factors at play that personal trainers, gyms, and fitness studio owners should be aware of. Personal training is transforming right in front of our eyes. Here’s why:

1. There’s an App for That

Fitness tracking devices, mobile apps, and other tech trends in health and fitness are changing the way personal trainers work with clients. You can monitor a client’s heart rate in real time, track mile pace, and measure intensity and effort. Fitness trackers and mobile apps have also helped increase accountability and motivate people to log miles, hit step goals for the day, and do a better job at sticking to a nutrition plan.

“With advances in technology, personal trainers and coaches will be an integral part of interpreting this data, to help drive their clients’ health and performance,” says exercise physiologist and software developer Andrew Hooge.

2. See You in the Studio

No, we’re not talking about the mash-up of studio- produced reality-TV and personal training like The Biggest Loser or Extreme Weight Loss. Although shows like these have raised interest in personal trainers. The studio trend we’re talking about is the move for many personal trainers from big box gyms to smaller studios.

And instead of hustling clients through traditional cardio and strength training workouts, more people are joining a studio for the sense of community it provides, along with a specialized approach to training like boot camp workouts, high-intensity interval training, mixed-martial arts training for fitness, yoga, and cycling.

A fitness industry report by the market research firm IBIS World, predicts major growth in personal training studios in the next 10 years from an estimated 8,000 studios today, to over 19,000 personal training studios by 2025. A decline in personal training at big box gyms is also expected.

3. Group Training Gets a Makeover
Group fitness classes taught by personal trainers and certified instructors are still an important part of the fitness industry. For those who don’t want a personal trainer, group classes are a more affordable option for many people. But it’s not just a show-up-to-class experience anymore. Clients still want a personalized workout plan to help them reach their health and fitness goals like losing weight, building muscle, or training for a race. And it’s happening.

Some of the top fitness trends for 2016 include group fitness classes that focus on things like bodyweight training, high-intensity interval training, functional fitness, yoga, and other specialized workouts, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Some trainers further customize the group fitness experience with health assessments, and one-time consulting to layout a fitness and nutrition plan to point clients in the right direction.

4. Virtual Training on the Rise

Canadian-based personal trainer Dave Smith wanted to find a way to help more people achieve their goals than the traditional gym appointment for a personal training session could offer. So he took his business online and started hosting virtual training sessions, along with creating videos of workouts people could follow whenever it fit their schedule. And it worked, Smith was recently named Canada’s Top Fitness Professional.

And more trainers like Smith are turning to virtual training to attract more clients, help more people, and grow their businesses. For example, the fitness franchise for obese people, Downsize Fitness, created a virtual training program called Downsize at Home, where clients join a trainer via a video call to workout.

Give another nod to technology to the changing trends in personal training. Tools like Facetime, Google Hangouts, and Skype, make it easier than ever to connect with clients for a virtual workout.

Ready to grow your personal training business in 2016? Tap into these trends in personal training.