The decline in average income for personal trainers is the direct result of the garbage being put out by … corporate gyms. [Some of these] clubs have subcontracted out their personal training programs to companies who hire fast-talking salesstaff (many of whom are not personal trainers). These salespeople sell the personal training packages and then push off the clients to trainers the clients have never met. [A trainer] then has to attempt to meet the expectations of a member who bought from a salesperson who doesn’t have to train the member.

After the corporation gets its cut, the training company gets its cut and sales takes a commission, the trainer finally gets paid—starting at $12/hour.

The personal training industry, and the fitness industry in general, should really clamp down on this and discourage it. It’s turning personal training into a “timeshare,” where the client buys the services of a here-for-now-but-gone-in-2-months “personal trainer.”

Trainers should be responsible for consulting with, contracting with and fulfilling contracts and commitments with their own clients. The sheer numbers of complaints about [these business models] should scare away the corporate giants, but the pure profit potential of making 80% on every package—while the trainer takes a pittance—is way too strong.

Meanwhile, the respect, professionalism, esteem and quality of my industry goes further and further downhill.

Jeff Ward
Owner, FitLife Fitness and Nutrition
Saint Petersburg, Florida

Editor’s Note: See the rest of this discussion thread at:

Treadmills Have Gone to the Dogs

In the past 30 years of teaching fitness classes and the past 14 years as a medical exercise specialist doing personal training, I’ve come across many interesting situations but none as enjoyable as what I walked in on [recently] at a client’s home.

I’ve been working with Mary Lou Ciulla for 7 years, helping her keep her 67-year-old body in the best shape it can be. Her daughter and family, who live with her, bought a boxer puppy, named Magic, a few years back. Later, Magic got a brother, Lloyd.

Because of all the snow and ice we’ve had in New Jersey this winter, Magic and Lloyd haven’t been able to get outside as much as they need to. They love their walks and desperately needed to run off energy … so they got on the treadmill! Seeing a dog walking at 2.2 mph for 20 minutes with a serious face, concentrating and focused, is not what I expected to find as I walked into Mary Lou’s basement gym. Magic didn’t even look up to say hello to me. She kept walking, staring straight ahead. She was on a mission.

It has nothing to do with the dogs’ weight. As with humans, the walking is meant to keep them in shape and to relieve stress. As Mary Lou’s daughter, Laurie, says, “It’s to get the dogs focused, give them a job to do and, we hope, drain some mental and physical energy during these long winter months when they’re not outside walking and running as regularly. They like the treadmill—which makes it easy.”

Linda Rosen,
ACE and AAHFRP Certified Professional
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

IDEA Personal Trainer Institute™ Delivers

I want to thank you for putting together an excellent conference. I had an amazing time learning new ways to improve my clients’ lives. And to all IDEA members and members of the fitness community, I challenge you to meet me at the IDEA World Fitness Convention™ in Los Angeles this August, because I’ll bring the FIRE! See you there!

William Arrufat
Personal Trainer
New York, New York

I was fortunate enough to attend Shari Kalkstein’s seminar, “Abdominal and Core for the Aging Spine,” at IDEA Personal Trainer Institute and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the presentation. She certainly is a very knowledgeable and experienced professional and also a clear and interesting speaker/presenter. A good portion of my client base is older adults; hence, the presentation was full of valuable information. I only wish the time block was longer (it could easily have been a whole day or more).

Marci Coyle, NSCA-CPT
East Windsor, New Jersey

I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for the opportunity to speak at IDEA Personal Trainer Institute. As always, it was a great experience and will be well-remembered. IDEA has the best conferences, and I am glad to be part of them.

Shari Kalkstein, PTA, CSCS
Fortify Your Frame Inc.
Davie, Florida

IDEA FitnessConnect Blows Away This User!

I was blown away by how easily and comprehensively IDEA FitnessConnect can organize my clients, market my business and distribute salient information via newsletter. I didn’t become a trainer to sit behind a desk all day. IDEA FitnessConnect helps me spend more face time with clients and less time at the computer.

Melissa Bennett
Frederick, Maryland


In March Fitness Forum, we incorrectly printed a calculation for peak heart rate as 206 − (age × 0.088). The correct calculation is 206 − (age × 0.88). We regret the error.

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