To keep pace with the dynamism in this robust and rapidly evolving sector, this year we revamped the annual IDEA Personal Training Programs & Equipment Survey. New questions were added to amass information about what goes on within training sessions, and old questions were revised to better understand individual trainers and trainer-entrepreneurs. The results allow us to delve deeper into the training and business practices of IDEA members and afford you the opportunity to compare notes with colleagues on how you excel at your profession.

According to the 926 personal trainer members who completed the 2008 survey, training adults one-on-one remains the primary format. The focus within private session time includes strength training, stretching, balance and functional resistance training.

Trends within the survey show us that even with the consistency of one-on-one training, new formats such as group training sessions and functional resistance training are gaining popularity. As personal trainers become bombarded with the differing needs of clientele, these results reveal that efforts are being made to accommodate them.

A rise in fitness assessments, as well as back pain prevention and postrehab programs, has paralleled the increase in programming for people with chronic diseases. This underscores not only the market power of Baby Boomers but also the sheer need for servicing aging bodies that are fiercely clinging to youth. Nutrition coaching and nutrition assessments are on the rise as personal trainers recognize the demand for a fusion between nutrition and exercise programming.

Small, portable pieces of equipment continue to be the most popular. Overall, respondents show that they use a variety of equipment in order to meet the diverse needs of their clients.

Trainers say that 85% of their clients stay with the business 1 year or longer. A detailed look inside the survey reveals how they keep clients coming back for more.

One-on-One Training at the Top
While one-on-one personal training is still the top program offered by IDEA professionals, with 99% of the surveyed trainers offering it, only 54% believe it is still growing. Partner training, in which 2 clients share a session, is also very strong among our respondents (84% offer it), while only 49% offer sessions wherein 3-5 clients share.

Interestingly, with the rise in childhood obesity, the percentage of trainers offering services to youth is still relatively small. Personal training for youth, one-on-one, is offered by just 65% of the respondents, and only 36% of those surveyed offer personal training for youth in small groups. In addition, less than 50% of respondents who offer personal training for youth feel that the growth potential is very strong.

View the full version of the 2008 IDEA Personal Training Programs & Equipment Survey