Personal training is the haven of older exercisers who want guidance to begin or continue an exercise program. Over half of personal training clients are 45 years or older, and the majority are beginning or intermediate exercisers. Considering that so many clients have temporary or chronic injuries or special medical needs, it’s not surprising that they turn to the expertise and one-on-one attention of a personal trainer.

Over 8 years (1997–2005), personal training clients have changed. There has been a marked increase in the number of amateur athletes, an increase in the number of people with special medical needs and fewer businesses choosing to serve women only (a niche for women trainers who work with female clients). It could simply be that trainers are seeing more clients, and those clients have diverse needs. As a side note, the trainers in 2005 report keeping clients for a longer period of time than the trainers in 1997.

These data are from the 2005 IDEA Personal Training Programs & Equipment Survey, conducted in March and April of 2005. There were 270 personal trainer members represented, with responses provided by 43% personal trainers, 21% owners, 9% fitness or personal training directors, and 17% both trainers and group instructors, along with other titles. About 45% were in personal-training-only businesses, while the remainder were in fitness facilities.

—Patricia Ryan, MS

Estimated Experience Level of Clients

41% beginners

46% intermediate

17% advanced

Estimated Average Age of Clients

6% 18 years and younger

18% 18–34

28% 35–44

30% 45–54

25% 55 and older

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