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Market Research Reveals Top Trends in Personal Training

This press release was provided by the IDEA Health and Fitness Association. The Club Industry editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content.

IDEA Health & Fitness Association, the leading membership organization of fitness, wellness and health professionals worldwide, has published the results of the 17th IDEA Fitness Programs & Equipment Trends Report. The Web-based survey, which was completed by over 2,800 fitness professionals from the United States and Canada, summarizes what fitness equipment and fitness programs are being incorporated the most or the least in studios and fitness facilities around North America. IDEA used the results of the survey to conduct an independent analysis of the responses from personal trainers, revealing the top personal training trends that have emerged over the past 6 years.

The data indicated that the strongest trend in personal training is the move to training with more than one person at a time in small groups. Personal training sessions that included 2 people sharing a trainer increased 10 percentage points, whereas 3-5-person sessions increased 18 percentage points. “IDEA believes this reflects a practical reaction of consumers to cut costs during the ongoing recession, as well as personal trainers preserving their business base by retaining clients at lower hourly fees through shared group costs. However, trainers are actually making more per hour by increasing the number of people they train during that hour. This single cause-effect trend has changed the face of personal training programming by ushering in the era of small-group training,” said Kathie Davis, Executive Director of IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

Other highlights from the research indicated the following trends in personal training:

  • Over the past 3 years, body-weight leverage training (body-weight only, TRX® Suspension Trainer™, GTS® (Gravity Training System), climbing ladders, ropes, push-up and pull-up devices, etc.) has experienced a steady increase (70% to 83%).
  • Outdoor activities have declined over the past 6 years, with outdoor personal training sessions decreasing by 25 percentage points and outdoor group activities declining by 10 percentage points; however, outdoor boot camps have remained relatively stable.
  • Exercise programs for chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or coronary heart disease have increased by 11 percentage points over the past 6 years.
  • Personal trainers have increased the amount of lifestyle coaching they are providing over the past 6 years (37% to 50%).
  • Nutrition assessment and nutritional coaching programs have increased by 6 percentage points and 12 percentage points, respectively, over the past 6 years.
  • More personal trainers are programming mind-body sessions such as yoga, group reformer, tai chi, Pilates and Pilates and yoga/mind-body fusion.
  • Very slow strength training programs have increased by 25 percentage points over the past 6 years (30% to 55%).

Detailed results from the 2013 Fitness Programs & Equipment Trends Report are available to the media at

About IDEA Health & Fitness Association

IDEA Health & Fitness Association is the world's leading organization of fitness and wellness professionals. We deliver world-class content and continuing education to fitness professionals through three channels: our seven publications, including the award-winning IDEA Fitness Journal; our world-class fitness conferences; and hundreds of streaming videos and DVD courses available on our website Additionally, with IDEA FitnessConnect, we have created the largest national industry-wide directory linking over 250,000 fitness professionals to more than 16 million consumers. Through IDEA professionals in over 80 countries, we Inspire the World to Fitness®.