fbpx Skip to content


Trends in Personal Training


Trainer Survey
By Patricia Ryan

Trends in Personal Training
New survey shows trainers are confident and profession is growing.

About the Respondents

IDEA PFT members who gave us permission to use their e-mail addresses were sent three e-mail invitations to link to a Web-based survey in April 2004. The 157 trainers who responded represent 36% owners, 13% personal training directors, 10% fitness directors, 2% general managers and 33% “other” titles.

Personal training continues to grow, despite the political and economic turmoil of the past few years. Responding to the 2004 IDEA Programs & Equipment Survey, IDEA personal fitness trainer (PFT) members reported positive directions in their profession. Highlights of this first-time survey showed trainers are experiencing * continued sales of personal training, with one-to-one sessions being the most popular * high usage levels of both portable and stationary equipment * blending of personal training with Pilates or yoga * strength training emphasizing equipment, although body weight training has a presence, perhaps owing to the number of trainers working in clients’ homes * diversification into lifestyle coaching, nutrition assessment and use of the Internet Personal training businesses need to customize their programs to their particular locations and clienteles. PFTs working with the equipment available in large multipurpose clubs will report different program and equipment use than those working in clients’ homes or smaller personal training gyms. Despite the potential disparity resulting from work locations, there is a lot of consistency among the trainers.

About Median and Mean

When the difference between the mean and median numbers is large, then a median is provided. Why? The mean (average) is found by adding together all the numbers and dividing by the number of responses. But very large numbers and very small numbers create a wide range, and that range can make an average less representative of most of the people. You can see this by looking at the number of personal training sessions offered per week. The median is the midpoint, meaning 50% of respondents answered above and 50% answered below that number. A median is useful because it helps eliminate the distortion that an average can cause. With an expansion of services (lifestyle coaching, sports conditioning, Pilates, yoga and online client reminders are on the growth list) and predictions of growth all around, the outlook for personal training is optimistic. This is good for PFTs– and good for their clients, who are inspired to fitness. Patricia Ryan, vice president of education development, has conducted and analyzed IDEA surveys for 9 years.


Client Profile
50 median number of clients company serves

Estimated Experience Level of Clients 41% beginners 43% intermediate 23% advanced Estimated Average Age of Clients 8% 18 years and younger 16% 18


Concerned about your place in the new fitness industry? We have 40 years of experience supporting pros just like you! Let’s create a new wellness paradigm together—IDEAfit+ is the extra edge you need. Once you team up with IDEA, be sure to take full advantage of all the benefits of membership.

Patricia Ryan, MS

Patricia Ryan, MS, develops educational content for leaders and professionals in the wellness, fitness and older-adult marketplaces. Ryan has conducted market research and authored numerous white papers, survey reports, industry analyses and research reviews along with producing educational webinars. She holds a master’s of science degree in instructional technology aimed at designing professional education. She was IDEA’s first editor in chief and developed the Gold Standard of content for which IDEA is still known.

When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay up tp date with our latest news and products.