With over 30 years in the industry you feel that I should just be addressing one niche of fitness. That would drive me up the walls. You want to know my “niche”? I can meet with almost any client and determine a safe, effective, and enjoyable program for virtually any need they should have. About 90 percent of the time, clients come to me for a specific issue or focus and find out that there is a completely unnoticed issue that has been holding them back from achieving their goals. My “niche” is striving to gain a comprehensive understanding of human movement, health, and wellness (including mental and spiritual). I spend at least one hour a day learning something new and one hour a day reviewing something that I want to make part of my skills and abilities. If you are looking for a fitness instructor with a specific set of skills and abilities that they feel very confident in being able to bring to your program, ask them about it. I would more concerned with a trainer who only feels confident in working with only one type of client. How little experience that type of trainer must have to be so restricted in scope. In some markets, there is enough need to be able to “specialize”. But why? Why be stagnant? Why not grow?
Great Question! What could have been one persons’ “niche” or “specialty” in thier scope of CPT may change over the years. Many factors come into play, the once popular “niche” may not be as popular today or it has been renamed or repackaged.
A person might move to another facility or state and have to change their style or learn a new specialty to make a living. Or simply to grow, better themselves, as a CPT and learn new training methods and excel in their profession.
It boils down to one question. Can you deliver the same level of service, expertise and benefit to each and every client type that you are training. If you answer yes to this, either you are “specializing” in what you are great at and passionate about or you are kidding yourself… If you have several different client types, one of those clients will be better off with someone else. (not that they don’t receive some benefit from you) It doesn’t make you a lesser trainer. It makes you a BETTER trainer. I am simply looking for trainers and professionals who aren’t afraid of this fact. If we all grasped this concept, we would be able to serve the public in a better way and Personal Trainers would be held in a much higher regard. In general the publics thoughts on personal trainers isn’t shiny and bright. If more people had phenomenal sessions with trainers instead of Ok or good sessions, it would benefit us all. You cannot argue that. You can but, the trainers that are looking to make our industry better and better won’t.
I support Joanne’s view on this question as far as scope of practice is related to specialties.
However, as far as marketing goes, by selecting specialities on this portal in particular, it in no way means that I am the best or even FULLY qualified to educate others in these areas. I think that in this industry you’ll find that experience and knowledge can outpay you considerably as compared to formal education. That trend seems to be changing, but I think that the majority of people who select specialties on fitness connect would agree with me in that they select these specialities as a way of letting others know that they have some personal experience in those areas, and that those areas are areas that they, as fitness professionals, are interested in.
In a perfect world, yes, every specialty chosen or advertised is backed up by a certification or a license, but for purposes of finding clients that are good matches, and allowing clients to choose a trainer with common interests, people often choose specialties based on personal experience rather than formal education. I think it works out well that way.
As far as being jacks of all trades fitness, I think any trainer worth his/her salt will know at least something about most areas of fitness. At a minimum, a trainer should have a good network of other fitness and health professionals from which he/she can learn. This network is also great for referring a client to others who will be able to further that client’s needs.