15 Personal Training Predictions for 2016

By Ryan Halvorson
Nov 4, 2015

Personal training has become a powerhouse in the fitness industry.
With $10 billion in annual revenue and a projected 2.5% growth
(IBISWorld 2015), this profession has planted deep, strong roots.
Despite being a comparatively new industry (it got its start in the late
1980s/early 1990s), personal training has seen its share of change over
the past several decades. What was once a luxury for the wealthy has
become increasingly accessible to those with less disposable income—and
to those whose quality of life may depend on the guidance of a qualified
professional. Personal training has also seen an explosion in
programming types—name a health and fitness goal and there is a
qualified professional who can help you achieve it.

Several industry leaders weigh in on trending programs and equipment must-haves, make predictions
for the future and offer insights into what needs to happen to ensure
the continued evolution and success of personal training.

  1. Interest in barbell training will probably continue to grow. It is likely that “barbell work will remain for as long as people wish to be strong.” —Don Bahneman
  2. The industry should see greater demand for the development and use of nontraditional exercise equipment. —Mike Bracko
  3. A global approach to training will gain more attention in coming years. “I believe we’ll see the greatest growth in whole-body loaded, and integrated, training.” —Douglas Brooks
  4. The growth of small-group training is expected to continue, but programming is becoming generic. Ideally, the industry will see a return to individualized approaches within the small-group scope. —Rachel Cosgrove
  5. 30-minute express sessions will continue to flourish because these days “time is of the essence.” —Todd Durkin
  6. Rising participation rates for obstacle course events like Tough Mudder® and Spartan Race® will result in greater demand for event-specific training. —Khaled Elmasri
  7. Technology will continue to play an influential role in fitness. Most likely, “technology training” that features heart rate measures and other feedback will help to inform fitness programming. —Hayley Hollander
  8. There has been a growing interest in “restorative training due to a changing dynamic in clients aged 50 and older.” People will look for programs that help them stay at “peak levels.” —Charlie Hoolihan
  9. There will be greater emphasis on mindset training because focusing solely on exercise and nutrition doesn’t seem to be working. “What is needed are coaches who understand how the mind works and how to lead clients into behavioral change.” —Marc Lebert
  10. Growth in online training/distance coaching as well as streaming workout videos is expected. —Pete McCall
  11. Facilities with varied program options and modalities will probably have the greatest success. “We’re a culture with an attention span 3 seconds long. The more variety we offer, the more interested people become in our services.” —Amanda Mittleman
  12. Greater interest in “suspension and multimodality programming” is in the forecast. More professionals are incorporating newer innovative tools into their programming to ensure that clients see results and have fun. —Michael Piercy
  13. There is likely to be greater demand for recovery programs that mitigate the significant stress many people face. —Derrick Price
  14. There may be a move toward large-group training “because of the camaraderie, energy, accountability, motivation, social aspect, fun factor and money-saving ability that it offers.” —Mike Z. Robinson
  15. Most likely, “minimalist” training will see growth as more people become interested in body weight workouts, gymnastics, and programs that use simple tools like dumbbells and barbells. —Jade Teta

Thank you to the following experts for sharing what they believe are the trends poised to dominate the personal training landscape:

Don Bahneman, MS, CSCS, director of fitness, The Energy Club, Arlington, Virginia

Mike Bracko, EdD, CSCS, owner of Institute for Hockey Research in Calgary, Alberta

Douglas Brooks, MS, director of athlete conditioning, Sugar Bowl Ski Academy, Truckee, California

Rachel Cosgrove, CSCS, owner, Results Fitness, Santa Clarita, California

Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, owner, Fitness Quest 10, San Diego

Khaled Elmasri, regional fitness manager, The Bay Club Company, San Francisco Bay Area

Hayley Hollander, fitness director, Midtown Athletic Club, Chicago

Charlie Hoolihan, personal training director, Pelican Athletic Club, Mandeville, Louisiana

Marc Lebert, owner, Fitness NATION and Lebert Fitness, Toronto

Pete McCall, MS, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, YMCA, San Diego

Amanda Mittleman, MS, owner, Mo-Mentum Fitness, Huntington Beach, California

Michael Piercy, MS, CSCS, owner, The LAB Performance & Sports Science, West Caldwell, New Jersey

Derrick Price, MS, chief programming officer, Institute of Motion, and personal trainer at Function First, San Diego

Mike Z. Robinson, owner, MZR Fitness, San Luis Obispo, California

Jade Teta, ND, CEO, Metabolic Effect, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

For more insights from these industry experts that will support and strengthen your programming in the year to come, please see “2015 Personal Training Trend Watch” in the online IDEA Library or in the November-December 2015 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.


References

IBISWorld. 2015. Personal trainers in the US: Market research report. Accessed Aug. 26, 2015. www.ibisworld.com/industry/personal-trainers.html”.
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Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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