For most of us, change is hard and uncomfortable and the rate of change today is at a blistering pace. By the time we pick up our new iPhone 6 Plus, it is obsolete and everyone is lining up for the new iPhone 7. That same rate of change is happening in the health and fitness industry, and it is only accelerating. I’ve been in the industry for more than 14 years and have seen it evolve in a fast and dynamic way. My goal with this article is to point out where the industry is heading in the next five to 10 years, and how it will impact businesses and consumers alike. So sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.
To point out where the health and fitness industry is heading, I first have to point out how the industry has changed in the years that I have been a part of it. When I first started in this field, personal trainers were merely exercise or fitness coaches. We followed people around the gym, counted reps and made sure every client’s form was dialed in to enhance performance and minimize the risk of injury. We would work with clients two to three times a week with very little involvement with the client outside of the gym. The majority of trainers were gym rats who looked the part but really had little knowledge about how the body worked or anything much about anatomy and physiology. They looked great with their shirts off, though, and that was enough for people to hire them.
Times are changing, however. In the future, trainers will be asked to be much more for their clients. Trainers can either adapt or they will lose their clients and their business.
The clients I work with today do not come to me just for workouts or to learn how to do perfect push-ups or squats; they come to me for change! They want someone to help them gain control of their lives and to give them a solution to their problems so that they can transform into their perfect selves and their perfect bodies. Many clients have pre-existing injuries, daily pain and issues with cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar or triglycerides. A majority also have extremely poor diets and need for someone to give them a plan to follow. Clients are conscious of their health and well-being, but consumed with other life activities and struggle to find time to fit everything into their busy lives. Most have put their own health and well-being on the back burner to focus on advancing their careers, spending time with their families, and having social lives. Most are highly educated and know they should work out every day, but where do they find the time and how can they balance their busy lives? This is where working with the personal trainer of the future will make the difference.
Knowing that clients are pressed on all sides for time, the trainer of the future will have to help them balance their priorities and realize that they can have it all! The trainer of the future is part life coach, part nutritionist, part psychologist, part physical therapist, and part trainer. Clients need all of these services, and they need it to come from one provider. They are already pressed for time to get to the gym, much less to see a dietitian, physical therapist or psychologist. The trainer will not be able to solve all of their clients’ issues and will not take the place of these other professionals, but they will have to be knowledgeable of all these subjects to recommend the proper professional and health care provider. Certain professionals such as dietitians and physical therapists will read this and cringe, but the fact remains that the career of a personal trainer is evolving at an extreme rate. Just 10 years ago, doing any form of movement assessment, rehabilitation or manual therapy was considered far outside the scope of the personal trainer’s practice. Today, if you are not doing all these things, you are well behind the curve and will soon find yourself losing clients and your business.
The trainer of the future also will have to be well-versed in change psychology. Getting clients to make drastic changes to their lifestyles is hard, tedious work. Most clients come in wanting to completely overhaul everything in their lives at once and are successful for a few weeks. But the data on change psychology is clear; this method will not work for most people long-term. Change is best achieved in small doses and then built upon on a consistent basis. Trainers must determine what a client’s largest impediment to success is, work on removing it, build the appropriate habit, and then move the client along to the next largest impediment to success. This is also part of being a life coach, we will have to teach our clients that the only limits in life are the ones we place on ourselves. We teach most of this in the gym by having our clients push past physical obstacles or challenges that they thought were out of reach. After tasting success in the gym, they start to understand that there are other aspects of their lives in which they can achieve success. When this happens, they gain confidence and begin to push boundaries. They start to look at their careers, their relationships and their goals in life differently, and they begin to dream bigger.
To wrap up, as personal training continues to change, and it’s changing quickly, we have two choices. We can remain “regular trainers,” taking clients through workouts, perhaps eventually losing our business and purpose. Option two is to use nutrition coaching, exercise instruction and change psychology to transform the lives of our clients. This is the foundation on which we have built our business, Wilmington Performance Lab. We strive to make things as convenient as possible for our clients by offering all of the aforementioned resources under one roof. We want to be the answer to your problems and be the one-stop solution. Stop by and give us a try if this article appealed to you.
For the next article I will discuss the role of technology and how modern advancements in wearable technology will impact consumers and shape how workouts and training are done in the near future. Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.
Chris McAbee is the founder and co-owner of Wilmington Performance Lab, a state-of-the-art personal training facility that offers a full range of services including nutritional counseling and corporate wellness. Wilmington Performance Lab was founded on the belief that personal training is not only about making physical improvements, but also building long lasting, quality relationships with partners you can trust. For more information, visit http://wilmingtonperformancelab.com or call 910- 399-5441.
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