Careers in Fitness: Economy Strong for Personal Trainers

Staff Sgt. Juna C. Cyriaque, a personnel noncommissioned officer assigned to the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s Special Troops Battalion, leads her class in performing “the windmill” during physical readiness training.
Staff Sgt. Juna C. Cyriaque, a personnel noncommissioned officer assigned to the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s Special Troops Battalion, leads her class in performing “the windmill” during physical readiness training as a part of the Master Fitness Trainer course on Vogelweh Military Complex in Germany, June 24, 2014. (Staff Sgt. Alexander Burnett/21st Theater Sustainment Command photo)

Are your days filled with a range of physical activities, good nutrition and a daily dose of discipline? If you answered yes, then you may have exactly what it takes to succeed in the fitness and wellness industry.

Deciding on a career that best utilizes your skill sets and allows you to enjoy your chosen path on a daily basis is sometimes easier said than done -- but not today. If you enjoy helping others and have a zest for a healthy lifestyle, the fitness industry can offer you a fulfilling and flexible business to call your own.

Amid a growing demand for fitness professionals, many of whom report a high degree of job satisfaction, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the fitness industry is expected to grow "much faster than average for all occupations." It is this category of fitness workers that represents the BLS's fastest growth rate, at 27% or more.

What's more, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that inactivity and preventable diseases will increase, which makes the future of personal training look strong. You can be one of many who will help turn this epidemic around. Our country needs your passion and advocacy for healthy living, and your skill set can begin making a difference almost immediately.

Did you know there are more than 300 million people in the U.S., 120 million of whom admit they don't exercise? Obesity has more than doubled in the last 20 years, and over 30% of the population can officially be called "obese" -- not to mention an additional 30% who are considered "overweight."

"Obesity and overweight people pose a major risk for chronic diseases, including Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer," said retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. JK Taylor, a professor of fitness science for the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA). "It is largely these preventable lifestyle diseases which are causing medical and insurance costs to skyrocket out of control, another reason why good fitness is so important."

But with the help of trained personal trainers doing what they do best -- teaching preventative measures -- there is light at the end of the tunnel.

"Countless medical and scientific studies have proven that the most important factors to help prevent or reverse many disease processes include weight training, aerobic conditioning, flexibility, sensible nutrition and a positive mental outlook," Taylor said. "It's these five key elements that fitness professionals use every day to help change lives."

And for those who think people can't afford a personal trainer in today's economy, many fitness professionals are doing their part to make fitness affordable by working with groups of 2-6 people at a time. By charging just a fraction of what a normal one-on-one session may cost, a personal trainer's income potential is still tremendous. For example, training four kids or seniors at just $10 each still equates to $40 per hour.

But experts caution that there is a hitch to being a success as a personal trainer: You've got to have a passion for helping others. If that describes you and you're passionate about contributing to society in a positive light, the potential to earn a great living while enjoying your job is right at your fingertips.

Founded in 1988, the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) has provided fitness education and certification to more than 120,000 students in 84 countries worldwide. ISSA is the only fitness organization in the U.S. to be nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) in Washington, D.C.

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