This veteran finds much to be excited about when looking ahead.
You started in this industry about the same time IDEA was born, 25 years ago. How do you think the association’s purpose or mission will evolve over the next two decades?
I think our purpose will be focused on three major challenges ahead of us in helping our society: stress management, obesity and sedentary lifestyles.
Fortunately, mind-body programming is making wonderful gains in the field of stress management with outstanding programs in yoga, meditation and other mind-body classes that are totally enjoyable, stress relieving and research based. These will continue to grow, and more and more of them will be simplified to be integrated into the work sector.
With obesity and sedentary lifestyles, I think we need to develop more programming that involves small portions of “physical activity during the day.” The concept of NEAT, or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (see April 2006 IDEA Fitness Journal), wherein individuals develop more activity in their lifestyles, has been scientifically shown to be wonderfully successful in helping persons manage, prevent or reduce body fat. As to sedentary lifestyles, the concept of small-group personal training may see a big surge in the next several years. Many people who are overwhelmed by fitness facilities (or don’t have access to them), and who can’t afford personal training, may consider small-group personal training with friends or family. When people work out with others who share common goals, they may have a more supportive fitness environment, which will lead to greater exercise compliance. This could be a unique new track for many personal trainers as well.
Do you think our industry is on course to make a significant difference in the health, fitness and wellness of the world’s people?
I really feel mind-body classes will continue to grow, as the mental and physical benefits of these types of classes will undoubtedly be beneficial to many in our society. Also, if the pendulum can shift more to functional balance and stability training for everyone, we will make a big difference in the lives of the greater population. I regularly go to conferences where outstanding presenters show delegates functional-program designs that they have used with athletes and teams. I think it is now time for our industry to [offer more] function and stability training to all people at all levels of fitness. I see this happening gradually at the grass-roots level with many trainers, but feel the industry needs to catch up.
Exciting new research is now driving us much more in a linear direction toward improvements in health, fitness and wellness. Almost every month I am honored to review a new research-based article for this journal that manifests some very meaningful aspect of training for health, fitness, weight loss or some specific interest area in our discipline. The published research gains we are now realizing will only continue to advance our education and lead to higher levels of application in our profession.
What are your hopes for the future of fitness and wellness?
I would like to see some unification in the certification division of our industry. It may be that getting a certification from an NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies) accredited organization is the next step for future professionals. I think the “crystal ball” suggests we need to grow in this area for our industry to grow as a respected profession.
I would like to encourage more personal trainers and fitness professionals to take the “big step” and go back to school for continuing and advanced education. I can’t express in words how much my education means to me in personal growth and development. Over the years I have met countless professionals who have also taken this courageous step to be a re-entry student at a later stage in life and have gleamed with excitement and happiness with what they have learned and gained. Having a solid basis in physiology (i.e., cardiovascular, nervous, muscle, respiratory, endocrine, etc.) and metabolism can enhance so much of what and how you teach your students and clients.