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The Role of Fitness Professionals in Public Health: A Review of the Literature



Kinesiology researchers have long had an interest in physical activity, fitness, and health issues and in the professional education and work practices of teachers and coaches. The professional development needs and practices of “fitness professionals,” however, have not been a major concern for researchers in the field. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the evidence on fitness professionals, their role in physical activity for health agendas, and the professional education and training that is available to support them. The analysis indicates that there is a mismatch between the expectations placed upon fitness professionals and the training and professional education that is available to them. It is argued that pedagogy researchers in kinesiology could usefully turn their attentions to this occupational group.
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The Role of Fitness Professionals in Public Health:
A Review of the Literature
Alexander T. C. De Lyon, Ross D. Neville & Kathleen M. Armour
To cite this article: Alexander T. C. De Lyon, Ross D. Neville & Kathleen M. Armour (2016):
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The Role of Fitness Professionals in Public Health: A Review of
the Literature
Alexander T. C. De Lyon, Ross D. Neville, and Kathleen M. Armour
School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
Kinesiology researchers have long had an interest in physical activity,
tness, and health issues and in the professional education and work
practices of teachers and coaches. The professional development needs
and practices of tness professionals,however, have not been a major
concern for researchers in the eld. The purpose of this article is to
provide an overview of the evidence on tnessprofessionals,theirrole
in physical activity for health agendas, and the professional education and
training that is available to support them. The analysis indicates that there
is a mismatch between the expectations placed upon tness profes-
sionals and the training and professional education that is available to
them. It is argued that pedagogy researchers in kinesiology could usefully
turn their attentions to this occupational group.
Fitness professionals; health;
neoliberal theory; physical
activity; professional
education and training;
sport and exercise pedagogy
There is now a consensus that engaging in regular and appropriate physical activity and
exercise across the lifespan can have a profound positive eect on health and well-being
(Blair, 2009; Trost, Blair, & Khan, 2014). Current recommendations, by the World Health
Organization (WHO; 2010) for example, state that adults should accumulate at least
150 minutes of moderate-intensity (or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity) physical
activity per week in bouts of at least 10 minutes. Alongside this, it is recommended that
children and young people should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous
physical activity each day (WHO, 2010). Yet, despite these recommendations and the
negative impact of being inactive, data indicate that over a third of adults and 80% of
adolescents around the world fail to reach these recommended levels of daily physical
activity (Hallal et al., 2012). Today, physical inactivity is positioned as the fourth leading
cause of death worldwide (WHO, 2010). Experts now argue that physical inactivity has
reached pandemic status, and addressing the problem has been identied as a global
public health priority (Kohl et al., 2012).
Whereas the problem of physical inactivity is widely accepted, there is far less consensus
about eective solutions, the locus of responsibility and role of dierent professional groups in
addressing it, or, indeed, the root cause of the problem (e.g. Andrews, 2008;Armour&
Chambers, 2014; Joy, Blair, McBride, & Sallis, 2013;OSullivan, 2004;Pate,ONeill, & McIver,
2011). It is in this dynamic and contested context that the tness industry and its workforce of
tness professionals
operate, with claims that they can become a valuable public health
CONTACT Alexander T. C. De Lyon School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences,
University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.
© 2016 Alexander T. C. De Lyon, Ross D. Neville, and Kathleen M. Armour
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (
licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
resource and an essential component in the delivery of policy recommendations for reducing
physical inactivity (e.g., see Central YMCA Qualications, 2014; European Health & Fitness
Association [EHFA] 2011;R.E.Sallis,2009). Support for the role of tness professionals as
public health assetshas been expressed by a wide variety of stakeholders, including
researchers, politicians, industry organizations, and policymakers. For example, in the most
recent edition of the Fitness ProfessionalsHandbook, Howley and Thompson (2012) argued
that Fitness professionals are at the cutting edge of health in much the same way the scientists
discovering vaccines for major diseases were at the turn of the 20th century(p.14).Similarly,
Oprescu, McKean, and Burkett (2012) argued that tness professionals could be a key
resource in the waragainst obesity and inactive lifestyles. The former president of the
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Robert Sallis, argued further by stating that:
[W]e must begin to merge the tness industry with the healthcare industry if we are going to
improve world health.. . . With a wealth of evidence in hand, it is time for organized medicine
to join with tness professionals to ensure that patients around the world take their exercise
pill. There is no better way to improve health and longevity. (R. E. Sallis, 2009,p.4)
Naturally, from the perspective of the tness industry, there has been a growing sense of
optimism about the capacity of their workforce to address this major public health challenge.
This optimism was exemplied by the former UKActive chairman and founder of LA Fitness,
Fred Turok (2013), who argued not only that the industry has the facilities, footprint, and
expertise to deliver on the current health agendas, but that it is their responsibility to do so.
Kinesiology researchers have long had an interest in physical activity, tness, and health
issues, and in the professional education and work practices of teachers and coaches
(Sparling, 2005). In this journal, for example, the two most read articles are on coach
education and professional development (Cushion, Armour, & Jones, 2003) and teacher
professional learning (Ermelling, 2012). Alongside this, pedagogical researchers in the eld
more broadly have maintained a long-standing interest in the role of physical education
(PE) teachers in the fulllment of public health goals (e.g., Armour & Harris, 2013;
McKenzie & Lounsbery, 2009; Rossi, Pavey, Macdonald, & McCuaig, 2015; J. Sallis &
McKenzie, 1991) and in the professional status and role expectations for sports coaches
(Gilbert & Trudel, 2004; Lyle & Cushion, 2010; Potrac, Gilbert, & Denison, 2013).
Yet, comparatively speaking, researchers in the eld of kinesiology have largely ignored
tness professionals and their career-long educational needs and work practices. This is striking
given the fact that for large numbers of adults post-school, a wide range of tness professionals
will be a key point of contact for physical activity and exercise support. There is scope for
research to move in this direction. For example, Lawson (2005) argued strongly that there is an
urgent need for sport, exercise, and PE professionals to collaborate with other professions,
enabling the various programs and services to be connected and integratedas part of a
growing international movement that promotes inter-professional collaboration(p. 145).
Although there is limited evidence of such collaboration in practice, there is evidence that in
the quest to create links between school and post-school physical activity participation, schools
in some countries have tried to introduce young people to community tness facilities and
instructors as part of the PE curriculum (see, for example, Cale, 2000; Wilkinson & Bretzing,
2011). At the very least, therefore, we could argue that our gap in knowledge about tness
professionals undermines attempts to oer a consistent and joined-up life-course approach to
physical activity education.
A key problem is that while there has been a succession of high-prole claims made
about the role of tness professionals in physical activity for health agendas, little is known
about the capacity of this group, realistically, to deliver on these agendas or the types of
education and training processes that would support them to be eective (however
eectiveness is dened). It is against this backdrop that we provide a review of the
evidence on tness professionals, their role in physical activity for health agendas, and
the nature of the professional education and training that is available to support them. It is
in this context that we consider whether pedagogy researchers in kinesiology need to enter
into this eld more proactively. The analysis is grounded in the rst attempt to synthesize
all the available literature on tness professionalsand is organized into four main
sections: (a) an overview of tness professionals and existing research literature, (b) details
on the methodology used to conduct the analysis of the (disparate) literature base, (c) a
discussion of the four key ndings of the analysis (health impacts, role ambiguity,
education and training, and professional credibility), and (d) a conclusion.
Who are tness professionalsand what do we know about their practice?
The number of workers within the broad occupational group tness professionalshas
grown considerably since the commercial tness industry boom in the 1970s (Smith
Maguire, 2008). According to a recent global report, in 2014, the global tness industry
generated revenues of $84 billion, with more than 180,000 clubs serving approximately
144.7 million users (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, 2015). At the
heart of this industry in the United Kingdom, for example, are more than 30,000
registered tness/exercise professionals (Marnoch, 2013). In comparison, the United
States Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that, in 2012, there were 267,000 tness trainers
and instructors who lead, deliver, instruct, and motivate individuals and groups in exercise
activities (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014).
Despite the growth of the tness industry and its workforce, there has been comparatively
little researchand certainly no coherent research agendaon the eectiveness of tness
professionalspractice, education, training, and development in the context of delivering
physical activity for health agendas. This research gap has already been recognized by
various stakeholders and policymakers (Baart de la Faille-Deutekom, Middelkamp, &
Steenbergen, 2012). In terms of the research, more formally, in an analysis of research on
personal training, Middelkamp and Steenbergen (2012) found few robust studies that met
the quality criteria for inclusion in their review. Similarly, in their systematic review of
knowledge translation interventions targeting tness trainers,Stacey, Hopkins, Adamo,
Shorr, and Prudhomme (2010) identied just two studies that met their criteria for
inclusion. Moreover, it seems that little is currently known about the professional capacities
of this group, including by researchers in the related elds of public health and kinesiology
(Sparling, 2005). This contrasts with the current state of knowledge about other groups of
practitioners within the eld of kinesiology (such as sports coaches and PE teachers), who
have a comparatively stronger research and evidence basis for their practice (see, for
example, Armour & Makopoulou, 2012; Armour, Quennerstedt, Chambers, &
Makopoulou, 2015; Lyle & Cushion, 2010; North, 2013).
One factor that has impeded the development of a coherent research agenda on tness
professionals and their role in public health is that separate lines of research have been
conducted across a wide berth of disciplinary boundaries. For example, existing research
has explored the training/skills policy and work organization for tness professionals
(Lloyd, 2005a,2005b,2008; Lloyd & Payne, 2013); the socio-cultural aspects of the tness
and the wider tness and leisure industries (Andreasson & Johansson, 2014; Sassatelli,
2010; Smith Maguire, 2001,2008); and the characteristics of successful personal trainers
through a focus on their applied work (Melton, Dail, Katula, & Mustian, 2010; Melton,
Katula, & Mustian, 2008). Operating independently of each other, however, these studies
fail to oer a cumulative understanding of the ways in which the profession could be
developed or how its education and training can be improved. Consequently, we
argue that in the quest to educate and support individuals to be more physically active
throughout the life-course, it is important to know more about tness professionals, their
role in physical activity for health agendas, and the nature of the professional education
and training that is available to support them.
The choice of a traditional literature review
A traditional literature review of the academic, policy, and gray literatures was conducted
between October 2012October 2015. The purpose of this type of review is to analyze a large
body of literature in order to understand the current state of relevant knowledge about a
particular topic, identify key issues and gaps in this knowledge, and to add new insights
based on the analysis of a wide variety of evidence sources (Cronin, Ryan, & Coughlan, 2008;
Danson & Arshad, 2014; Jesson, Matheson, & Lacey, 2011; Rozas & Klein, 2010). Therefore,
this type of review was selected due to the limited evidence on the nature and extent of the
research landscape for tness professionals; the diverse range of research methodologies and
disciplines that have been used to explore their training, professional education, and
practice processes; and the edgling nature of the research topic as an area of academic
inquiry (including a limited and often incoherent knowledge about tness professionals as
an occupational group). As a result, we believe the combination of these factors meant the
focus of the research was unsuitable for other forms of review, such as full systematic review,
meta-analysis, or meta-synthesis. So, while the approach we adopted undoubtedly shares
some features with these latter types of review, our aim was to pursue a less constrained and
clearly delineated approach to understanding a broad topic area.
Search strategy and data analysis
Relevant literature relating to tness professionals and health was sought using multiple
search strategies and was undertaken using an iterative approach. This was considered to
be an appropriate strategy in this instance, given the eclectic nature and range of the target
literature base:
Electronic databases, including CINAHL, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, MEDLINE,
PsycINFO, SPORTDiscus, and Google Scholar, were searched from 1970 onwards.
Searches included the use of the following terms: tness professional,”“exercise
professional,”“tness instructor,”“exercise instructor,”“personal trainer,”“physical
activity,”“training,”“education,”“professional development,”“practiceand health.
The searches were limited to articles published in English, but were not limited by
country of origin;
Relevant policy documents and industry reports were sought by tracking the websites
of the leading organizations in the tness industry (e.g., EHFA,
International Health,
Racquet & Sportsclub Association [IHRSA], the Register of Exercise Professionals
and UKActive) as well as the websites of key organizations in public health
(e.g., National Institute for Health and Care Excellence [NICE] and WHO);
The rst author (A. D.) attended agship events for leading organizations in the
tness industry in order to capture current knowledge within the profession.This
included events organized by the EHFA, Fitness Professionals, and UKActive;
Specialist texts, such as professional textbooks and handbooks (e.g., Howley &
Thompson, 2012; Thompson, Bushman, & Desch, 2010) and professional publications
(e.g., the FitPro Magazine and the REPs Journal), were analyzed to identify latest
developments in the (tness) eld;
Bibliographies from the retrieved literature were searched, together with the
researcherspersonal les, for additional articles that were related to the purpose of
the research.
The retrieved literature was analyzed thematically in order to assess the evidence on
tness professionals as an occupational group; their role in physical activity for health
agendas; and the nature of the professional education and training that is available to
support them. The rationale for this approach was that thematic analysis has been con-
sidered to be a useful and exible tool which can potentially provide a rich and detailed
understanding of eclectic data (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Moreover, the value of this approach
is that it enables researchers to identify, analyze, and report patterns of meaning (themes)
across dierent epistemological and ontological positions (Braun & Clarke, 2006). For the
purposes of this article, and following our extensive analysis of the available literature,
ndings were organized into four key issues: (a) evidence for health impacts; (b) ambiguous
role and practice expectations; (c) concerns about training and education provision; and (d)
lack of recognition and professional credibility. While each of these issues are presented and
discussed separately in this article, we believe that they are, in reality, interconnected.
Strengths and limitations
We acknowledge that there were both strengths and limitations to the approach that we
adopted to reviewing and analyzing the existing evidence. In particular, one of the main
strengths of the approach was the level of exibility that it oered. This enabled our research
team to include and analyze a wide variety of dierent types of evidence without
being impeded by either strict or inappropriate inclusion/exclusion criteria. Moreover,
the iterative approach also enabled us to adapt and rene our analysis based on newly
encountered material. As a result, this meant that we were able to develop important
insights that could have been neglected or passed over in the steps that are required in
other types of review (e.g., such as a full systematic review, meta-analysis or meta-synthesis;
Jesson et al., 2011). Yet it is important to acknowledge that our subjectivity as the authors
was implicit within this process, meaning that, like other forms of research, the quality of the
review was dependent upon our skills as reviewers as well as our ability to weave together the
material in a logical and systematic way. Indeed, we acknowledge that adopting this type of
approach has been criticized by some authors for lacking transparency on the grounds that it
does not produce a clear (or reliable) evidence trail (Booth, Papaioannou, & Sutton, 2012;
Petticrew & Roberts, 2006).
Nevertheless, we believe that the approach we adopted was the
most suitable way of addressing the overriding purpose of this research, given the state of the
eld as it currently functions as well as the voluminous nature of the material that we
included in our analysis. In the section that follows, we present four key issues that were
derived from the review process.
Four key issues for consideration
Issue 1: Evidence for health impacts
There is some evidence to suggest that tness professionals might be able to improve health
by promoting physical activity and providing exercise education, motivation, and support
for their clients. Studies have shown, for example, that the use of personal trainers is
associated with improvements in strength during exercise interventions (Maloof, Zabik, &
Dawson, 2001; Mazzetti et al., 2000), increased exercise intensity (Ratamess, Faigenbaum,
Homan, & Kang, 2008), and better adherence to an exercise program overall (Jeery,
Wing, Thorson, & Burton, 1998). Moreover, research has also found that one-to-one
personal training can be an eective approach to changing individualsattitudes toward
exercising, thereby potentially increasing their levels of physical activity (McClaran, 2003).
In addition, a recent study found that the use of a personal trainer in a private health club
setting led to signicantly greater improvements in a variety of health-related measures
(such as improvements in lean body mass) in comparison to tness members who were
responsible for directing their own training (Storer, Dolezal, Berenc, Timmins, & Cooper,
2014). Signicantly, the authors of the study noted a lack of published research data on the
eectiveness of tness professionals working in applied tness and leisure settings.
In terms of the research evidence, our ndings indicate that the most substantial body of
research linking tness professionals and health can be found in the research on exercise
referral schemes (Sowden & Raine, 2008). These initiatives were introduced as a way for
general medical practitioners and other health-care professionals to refer patients to a tness
club and/or individual tness professional as a means for using exercise to improve their
Yet despite the expansion of these schemes during the 1990s and 2000s, there is
strong evidence illustrating the limited eectiveness of the schemes in practice. Most
notably, a succession of highly cited systematic review articles have consistently shown
that exercise referral schemes have only a limited and often short-term impact on patients
levels of physical activity and other associated health outcomes (such as psychological well-
being and overall health-related quality of life; NICE, 2006,2014; Pavey, Anokye et al. 2011;
Pavey, Taylor et al., 2011; Williams, Hendry, France, Lewis, & Wilkinson, 2007). Yet, in spite
of this, the existing research has provided very few recommendations that are specically
focused on improving the professional training of the tness professionals who are working
as a core part of these initiatives. Our ndings suggest that one reason for this may be that
existing research has largely focused on analyzing the eectiveness of the schemes rather
than the practices and eectiveness of the practitioners working on them.
As it stands, there is very little data available on the number, nature, quality, or
eectiveness of the interactions that take place between tness professionals and members
of the public on a daily basis. As a result, it may be simply premature to claim that, as a
group, tness professionals are driving (or have the potential to drive) positive public
health impacts. An important point to note here is that very few public funds have been
made available to conduct research on the practice of tness professionals. One reason for
this, of course, is that unlike PE teachers, the group mainly practises within the private
sector, and the tness industry is a eld of activity driven predominantly by commercial
interests (Andreasson & Johansson, 2014; Sassatelli, 2010; Smith Maguire, 2008). So, while
it has been argued by organizations such as UKActive that a robust body of evidence is
needed on the health impacts of the tness industry, it is unclear who would fund such
research. Research conducted on the industry by the industry is unlikely to oer the
kind of independent evaluation that is required. In fact, as is demonstrated in the next
section, the tness industry has, in many ways, beneted from the lack of robust scrutiny
of its practices.
Issue 2: Ambiguous role and practice expectations
Among the many practitioners who fall within the broad tness professional category, it is
the training, development, and practice of personal trainers that has been studied most
frequently (cf. George, 2008; Madeson, Hultquist, Church, & Fisher, 2010; Melton et al.,
2008,2010; Smith Maguire, 2001). Here, the evidence is clear that a personal trainers role
extends far beyond the programming of structured exercise activities. Moreover, like other
groups of practitioners within the eld of kinesiology, the role has been continually
shifting to meet new and emerging practice expectations. For example, evidence shows
that personal trainers routinely take on a multitude of roles, including those of teacher,
trainer, counselor, coach, supervisor, supporter, nutritionist, biomechanist, bodybuilding
evaluator and consultant, life management advisor, weight controller, personal life con-
sultant, business person, and physical tness advocate (Chen, 2006; Chiu, Lee, & Lin,
2010; McKean, Slater, Oprescu, & Burkett, 2015; Smith Maguire, 2001,2008). In this
context, it can be noted that very few forms of regulation exist to restrict the types of work
they undertake in practice environments. Because of this, these tness workers are
considered to be a Jack/Jill of all trades,integrating skills in business, psychology,
communication, and teaching, as well as those of tness training, in order to meet the
diverse needs of each individual exercise participant (or client) (Rei,1996).
The evidence suggests that role boundaries can become particularly problematic in these
contexts due to the factors that emerge within clienttrainer interactions. For instance, some
research has shown that personal trainers can develop deep and often intimate relationships
with their clients that, in turn, serve to blurrespective trainerclient role boundaries. The
problem is illustrated by Madeson et al.s(2010) phenomenological investigation of
womens experiences of personal training, which found that participants would discuss
very personal issues, such as family struggles and other problems in their lives, with their
trainers. One of the participants in this study even compared personal training to a form of
therapy in her life, and several of the other participants described how their personal trainers
had enabled them to improve their social relationships with other people, such as other gym
members and trainers (Madeson et al., 2010).
An important issue that has emerged within the sociological literature is the conation of
atness professionals bodily appearance (or bodily capital) (Frew & McGillivray, 2005)
with their level of perceived professional competence and/or health authority (Hutson,
2013). Clients tend to believe that if a tness professional has a good body,then this
signies a high level of professional knowledge (Hutson, 2013). But there is an obvious point
to be made herethat such personal bodily capitaldoes not, in itself, translate into
professional knowledge, i.e., the kind of detailed and personalized health, tness, or lifestyle
advice that clients are likely to require. Nonetheless, this image appears to be an important
factor for clients when deciding whether or not to trust a tness professional and follow the
advice given, regardless of actual levels of knowledge and skills. This has clear implications
for schools and teachers who are seeking to introduce their pupils to community tness
settings and professionals as well as those adolescents who are choosing to exercise in these
contexts of their own volition. It is worth noting, for example, the growing number of legal
actions taken against tness and/or exercise professionals who, it is claimed, lack the
requisite knowledge and skills that are needed to meet those client expectations that are
an inherent part of their daily practice (Eickho-Shemek, 2010; Warburton et al., 2011).
A confounding factor here is the high level of professional autonomy that characterizes the
work of tness professionals. These practitioners are typically able to develop idiosyncratic
approaches to programming, instruction, evaluation, and sales that are grounded in their
individual experience, education, preference, and personal philosophies (Lloyd & Payne,
2013). Together, these factors may help to explain why members of the public report diculty
in understanding the dierent levels of training, education, and experience of individual
tness professionals (Warburton et al., 2011). Thus, given the apparent scope and ambiguity
surrounding the nature of their roles and practice, it is perhaps unsurprising to nd research
which shows that tness professionals engage in (and take responsibility for) client behaviors
that go beyond the original (and arguably legitimate) boundaries of the roles, i.e., those roles
for which they are trained (Anderson, Elliott, & Woods, 2010; Gavin, 1996).
Issue 3: Concerns about training and education provision
Despite documented concerns about their role and practice expectations, tness professionals
are taking responsibility for providing exercise and health-related services for an increasingly
diverse range of client groups. For example, research indicates that tness professionals have
delivered health-focused exercise interventions for individuals with obesity (Jeery et al.,
1998), diabetes (Lubans, Plotniko, Jung, Eves, & Sigal, 2012), Parkinsonsdisease
(Corcos et al., 2013), mental health issues (Moore, Moore, & Murphy, 2011), and many
other health-related conditions (BHF National CentrePhysical Activity & Health and
Loughborough University, 2010). Moreover, an expansion of the role outwardly from the
traditional gym environment has meant that the groups are now practicing in a wide range of
health-related settings, such as schools, medical centers, hospitals, sports medicine and
rehabilitation clinics, and corporate wellness centers (Thompson et al., 2010).
The high levels of responsibility that tness professionals take on in these various
contexts raises issues and has led to a series of mounting concerns about the adequacy of
their formal training and professional education (e.g., see Central YMCA Qualications,
2014; EHFA, 2011; Malek, Nalbone, Berger, & Coburn, 2002; McKean et al., 2015). In one of
the few empirical studies conducted on this topic, it was shown that tness professionals
who hold a bachelors degree in kinesiology/exercise science and/or possess qualications
accredited by the ACSM and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA),
scored signicantly higher in an objectivemeasure of health- and tness-related knowl-
edge compared to those without such qualications (Malek et al., 2002). In this study, it was
reported that personal tness trainers who did not graduate with a bachelors degree in
exercise science scored 31% less on this objective measure than those personal tness
trainers holding a bachelors degree or higher. These ndings are, to some extent, consistent
with systematic review evidence which shows that tness trainers with higher levels of
education are more likely to use evidence-based sources of information to inform their
practice (e.g., from scientic journals), compared to those who have lower education levels,
who are more likely to rely on sources such as the Internet (Stacey et al., 2010). Crucially, it
was found that tness trainers with lower levels of qualication reported diculty in
assessing the quality of the information that they accessed (particularly from the Internet)
(Stacey et al., 2010).
Even though tness professionals assume responsibility for a wide range of health-related
work, there is remarkably little agreement or understanding about which qualications or
other forms of continuing professional development are the most useful in terms of
supporting their daily work practices. Research has focused mainly on tness professionals
initial training and development and has recommended that degree-level certication in
exercise science/kinesiology (or related disciplines) should form the primary basis of their
professional competence (Rupp, Campbell, Thompson, & Terbizan, 1999). Yet, if we take
into consideration the extent of the role and practice expectations that were outlined in the
previous section, it is unlikely that a single qualication provided in higher education
environments will adequately prepare tness professionals for the career-long challenges
they will face while working in the tness industry. Given the relative autonomy of this
occupational group, as it currently stands, it is likely that tness professionals will be left to
pursue overly individualistic and largely ad hoc ways of enhancing their professional
development (De Lyon & Cushion, 2013).
Issue 4: Lack of recognition and professional credibility
A signicant barrier that the tness sector as a whole faces is an understandable lack of
recognition by key stakeholders in public health and education. This was highlighted in an
industry report by the EHFA, which found that the established health professions held
negative perceptions of the tness industry and its ability to assure appropriate levels of
education and training for its members (EHFA, 2011). There is a degree of skepticism, in
the medical community in particular, about the knowledge base and level of profession-
alism that underpins the industry. In exercise referral schemes, for example, this was one
factor that was associated with low rates of referral (Royal College of Physicians, 2012).
In a further dimension of this issue, Lloyd and Payne (2013) have argued that in the
United Kingdom, there is an inherent tension within the tness industry. The industry
and its workforce are keen to emphasize the quality and professionalism of their work, but
they often lack the organizational structures that are required to deliver a high-quality
service. This problem was illustrated by ndings of the recent Central YMCA
Qualications report on the future of exercise professionals, which identied clear knowl-
edge and skills gaps within the tness sector (Central YMCA Qualications, 2014).
Specically, ndings demonstrated that 55% of the operational managers who responded
believed that tness professionals lacked the necessary skills to deliver social and psycho-
logical support to inactive population groups. In addition, managers frequently drew
attention to the inability of tness professionals to deliver suciently informed exercise
interventions for special population groups, such as people with disabilities and children/
young people (Central YMCA Qualications, 2014). In this context, it has been argued
that the growth of for-prot organizations that gain nancially from delivering tness
qualications and providing certication represents a major safety concern when the
practitioners they have trained are tasked with the responsibility of dealing with specialist
population groups (Warburton et al., 2011).
It has been argued that the widespread complacency within the tness sector about
career progression and job quality results in employers having little incentive to tackle
problems of low wages or improve opportunities for training and development (Lloyd,
2005a,2005b,2008). Workforce turnover in the tness professions is high as a result of
low pay, an oversupply of workers holding relevant health and tness qualications, a lack
of career progression, and the prevalence of shift work (Lloyd, 2005a,2008). Added to this,
it has been noted that the continuing professional development courses that are provided
in the tness industry are often too short and compact, meaning that tness professionals
do not receive the level of training/education they require for the tasks they undertake in
real worldpractice environments (Central YMCA Qualications, 2014; De Lyon &
Cushion, 2013). In combination, these factors mean that employers face challenges in
employing and attracting well-educated sta(e.g., those tness professionals with appro-
priate levels of training or with higher qualication levels) who might be best placed to
serve the health and tness needs of their clients. Furthermore, with the focus on sales
growth and customer service in the tness industry, it has been reported that employers
are not suciently concerned when tness instructors are more adept at smiling than
they are at understanding knee ligaments(Lloyd, 2005a,p. 31).
Conclusions and implications for pedagogy researchers in kinesiology
The purpose of this article has been to provide an overview of the evidence on tness
professionals, their role in physical activity for health agendas, and the nature of the
professional education that is available to support them. The analysis has highlighted
strong societal expectations that the group will be able to play a key role in reducing levels
of lifelong physical inactivity, thereby contributing toward improvements in public health
outcomes. Yet it is clear from the available evidence that there are problems. Our review
illustrates that while tness professionals do assume responsibility for implementing
physical activity and exercise interventions in complex practice settings, there are many
concerns about their capability to meet the needs of the diverse range of population
groups they seek to serve. Importantly, our ndings indicate that there is a signicant
mismatch between the expectations placed upon tness professionals in practice and the
training and professional education that is available to support them.
We argue that kinesiology researchers, and particularly those inpedagogy, have a legitimate
interestand clear opportunityto secure a better understanding of the education and
practice needs of tness professionals as a health-related occupational group. For example,
a key strength of pedagogical research is its capacity to cross traditional disciplinary and
10 A. T. C. DE LYON ET AL.
sub-disciplinary boundaries, including those in the natural and social sciences, in order to
address major societal issues such as physical inactivity (Armour & Chambers, 2014). Thus,
following Lawson (2005), we argue that all stakeholders could benet from the development of
closer links between tness professionals and other physical activity education professionals in
schools, sports clubs, and public health contexts. The aim, surely, mustbe to nd new ways for
the dierent groups to work together across traditional professional divides (Armour &
Chambers, 2014). And while it is clear that tness professionals lack the professional
credibility of other groups of practitioners that undertake physical activity and health work,
they are an increasingly accessible group for some segments of the population.
Going forward, it is important that the knowledge, training, education, and practice of
tness professionals becomes subject to more robust analysis and a greater level of
independent scrutiny. There is already a consensus that radical changes are needed in
the tness industry if its workforce is going to be able meet the wide range of practice
expectations that we have identied in this review article. For example, the former CEO of
UKActive, David Stalker, has recently argued that:
[T]he industrys been caught in the crosshairs of the conuence of health, technology, sport and
popular culture.. . . Ours is one of the few sectors able to straddle these mega trends, as relevant
in grappling the costs of an aging society as in appealing to new generations demanding
everything on individualized terms.. . . Weve seen the borders of our sector smashed down,
with new entrants dominating all spheres.. . . Were seeing new business models and invest-
ments in service to meet new demands and expectations.. .. I believe change is coming. We are
now moving into an era of data, science and fact, beyond [the] rst generation of the sector
where we were doing everything for the rst time. (Stalker in Phillips, 2016, p. 34)
While we agree that these are undoubtedly challenges facing the sector, our review of
the available research evidence indicates that the problems are enduring and deep rooted.
The four key issues that we have identied do not stand alone. The challenge, therefore,
lies in understanding the complex interrelationships that exist between each of these issues.
Simply put, we believe that understanding the role of tness professionals in public health
requires a coherent theoretical framework, empirical research that is contextually
grounded, and a research approach that is willing and able to take into account evidence
that embraces complexity within professional education and practice settings. To conclude
the article, we address each of these points briey and in reverse order.
Firstly, our review indicates that problems relating to tness professionalstraining and
professional education are strongly tied to the organizational and employment structures
that exist in terms of their work. For example, tness professionalsability to meet the
health-related needs of their clients cannot be separated from the conditions of employment
that prevail within the sector. Most notably, these include the problems that arise from low
levels of pay, high workforce turnover, and a lack of career development infrastructures.
Furthermore, these problems are reected in the issues we have identied concerning the
levels of professionalism and credibility that underpin the tness sector (particularly in
relation to how the medical sector views the tness industry and its practitioners). Clearly,
these are issues in which pedagogical researchers could have an interest and would be able to
oer a wealth of expertise from research agendas in education and its more established
subelds (for example, from the more established body of research on the education and
professional development of PE teachers and coaches).
Secondly, in relation to the conduct of empirical work, we believe that future research in
the area would benet from utilizing approaches that take into account the wholenessand
complexities of the contexts in which tness professionalswork and development takes
place. This means taking into account a combination of social, cultural, political, and
economic factors that shape these processes. For example, case study research designs
could be useful in this regard, given that they take into account a combination of situational
factors while also grounding research problems within the real-life contexts in which they
occur (Armour & Griths, 2012; Thomas, 2011; Yin, 2014). This is in keeping with research
that has already been conducted within the eld of kinesiology, where some of the most
inuential empirical research concerning practitioners within the eld have been case
studies (see, for example, Jones, Armour, & Potrac, 2003; Macdonald & Tinning, 1995;
Schempp, 1993). In terms of research on tness professionals more specically, case study
designs would enable researchers to make observations about how the issues we have
identied in this review actually come together and play out in practice settings. For
example, a case study conducted at the level of an individual tness professional could
focus on understanding all of the factors that go into successfully achieving health outcomes
with clients. As a research approach, therefore, case study research designs could oer a
useful means for producing knowledge about the training, professional education, and
practice processes for tness professionals by locating these processes within their real-life
Finally, the ndings of our review point toward a broader theoretical framework that
could be used to develop knowledge about tness professionals as a health-related occupa-
tional group. Researchers within the eld of kinesiology have already drawn upon neoliberal
theory in relation to PE policy, practice, and governance (Evans & Davis, 2014; Macdonald,
2011,2014; Pope, 2014). There is also an established body of research on the relationship
between the larger processes of neoliberalization and its consequences for health (Ayo, 2012;
Brown & Baker, 2012; LeBesco, 2011). Neoliberal theory has not been systematically used
within the existing research on tness professionals, yet we believe that it would provide an
eective framework for exploring the complex interrelationships that we have identied in
this review article. It is clear to us that tness professionals exhibit many of the dening
features (or hallmarks) of workforces that operate within free-market conditions, and that
the occupational group has, in turn, been strongly shaped by neoliberal ideologies, policies,
and practices. This link can be seen within the key issues that we have identied in this
review article: (1) the fact that tness professionals operate under market conditions and are
subject to a general lack of regulation and monitoring of their daily work practices; (2) the
degree of professional autonomy and exibility that tness professionals experience,
which has enabled the occupational group to expand the scope of its practice beyond the
boundaries of its legitimate claim to expertise; (3) the nature of the professional training and
education opportunities that are currently available for tness professionals, which lack
coherent developmental pathways (because they are so inuenced by commercial interests);
and (4) the fundamental tension that exists within the tness industry between prot
and professionalism (i.e., between generating prot from sales and establishing standards
of professionalism that are actually based on having provided a quality service).
Acknowledging the interrelationships between these issues will be an important rst step
for those who want to understand the complex nature of the role of tness professionals in
public health.
12 A. T. C. DE LYON ET AL.
1. Our review found that the term tness professionalis being used inconsistently to refer to a
broad range of occupational roles. For example, these include the related roles of personal
trainer,”“tness instructor,”“exercise referral specialist,and many more. It is beyond the
scope of this article to critically evaluate the appropriate use of terminology in this context;
however, we believe this is an area that warrants further research attention.
2. EHFA is now called EuropeActive to align with the organizations vision of increasing levels of
physical activity among members of the European population.
3. REPs is an independent public register which claims responsibility for recognizing the quali-
cations and expertise of health-enhancing exercise instructors in the United Kingdom. As a
founding member of the International Confederation of Registers of Exercise Professionals
(ICREPS) and partner of the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPS), REPs forms
part of an international framework of competency standards for tness professionals.
4. Material was included in the main body of the article if we believed that it oered an important
contribution to current knowledge of the research topic.
5. It has been argued, for example, that traditional literature reviews can be made to tell any story
one wants them to,which, in turn, can lead to biased conclusions, and to harm and wasted
resources(Petticrew & Roberts, 2006, p. 5).
6. The purpose of exercise referral schemes is to encourage sedentary patients with existing health
problems or risk factors to become more physically active. These schemes were initially
developed in the United Kingdom during the 1990s, with similar schemes emerging in
countries such as New Zealand, Australia and the United States (Sowden & Raine, 2008).
7. Another area that pedagogical researchers could contribute to is the role of new media technologies
in the tness sector. While conducting our review, we noted a paucity of research on the impact of
digital technologies (such as the Internet, social media, wearable tness tracking devices, and mobile
applications) on tness professionalswork practices. This is despite the wide-spread use of digital
technologies within the sector (see, for example, Dale, Godinet, Kearse, & Field, 2010;Millington,
The work is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (grant number: ES/J50001X/1).
Kathleen Armour
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18 A. T. C. DE LYON ET AL.
... A importância de que o mercado do fitness proporcione oportunidades para a promoção do exercício assenta definitivamente em profissionais qualificados, competentes e que são responsáveis pelas dinâmicas da prescrição e da motivação para a prática (De Lyon et al., 2017;De Lyon & Cushion, 2013;Rodrigues et al., 2020b ;Teixeira et al 2020). Esta preocupação da competência e da motivação foi anteriormente bem documentada num estudo de revisão, que alertou para um conjunto de questões sobre o papel dos PE e o seu desempenho na sociedade contemporânea (De Lyon et al., 2017). ...
... A importância de que o mercado do fitness proporcione oportunidades para a promoção do exercício assenta definitivamente em profissionais qualificados, competentes e que são responsáveis pelas dinâmicas da prescrição e da motivação para a prática (De Lyon et al., 2017;De Lyon & Cushion, 2013;Rodrigues et al., 2020b ;Teixeira et al 2020). Esta preocupação da competência e da motivação foi anteriormente bem documentada num estudo de revisão, que alertou para um conjunto de questões sobre o papel dos PE e o seu desempenho na sociedade contemporânea (De Lyon et al., 2017). O autor alerta para o facto de que as questões relacionadas com a qualidade da formação dos profissionais, e as competências exercidas na sua função diária, estão fortemente ligadas às estruturas organizacionais e condições de emprego. ...
... O autor alerta para o facto de que as questões relacionadas com a qualidade da formação dos profissionais, e as competências exercidas na sua função diária, estão fortemente ligadas às estruturas organizacionais e condições de emprego. Estas incluem os problemas que decorrem dos baixos níveis salariais, da rotatividade da mão-de-obra e da falta de infraestruturas de desenvolvimento de carreiras, estando correlacionados com baixos níveis de satisfação no trabalho (De Lyon et al., 2017;Nguyen & Duong, 2020;Ramos et al., 2021aRamos et al., , 2021b. Num estudo recente desenvolvido no mercado nacional com uma amostra de 445 profissionais, cerca de 68,2% estão integrados num vínculo laboral de trabalhador independente e 69,1% auferem um salário inferior a 1.053€ mensais (Ramos et al., 2021a). ...
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A importância do setor fitness na oferta de oportunidades para a promoção do exercício está alicerçada em profissionais qualificados, competentes e responsáveis pela dinâmica de prescrição e motivação do exercício. Com base na teoria da autodeterminação, este estudo examinou a interação entre as pressões percecionadas no trabalho e a motivação em profissionais de fitness. Os dados foram coletados de 366 profissionais do exercício (172 mulheres), usando um desenho transversal. Questionários avaliando a Perceção da Pressão de Trabalho (PJP) (organizacional; interno e clientes) e a Satisfação das Necessidades Psicológicas Básicas (BPNS) foram preenchidos online. A análise correlacional e de regressão foi usada para testar o modelo hipotético. Os resultados demonstram não haver associação entre qualificação profissional e níveis de pressão na BPNS. No entanto, é importante destacar que os níveis de pressão organizacionais estiveram negativamente associados à satisfação do total da BPNS (autonomia, competência e relacionamento positivo). Mais anos de experiência foram associados a menores valores de pressão e maior satisfação da competência. Em relação ao gênero, pressões e sua relação na BPNS, os homens apresentam uma maior satisfação das BPNS. As pressões organizacionais apresentam associações negativas com a satisfação das BPNS nos profissionais. Os resultados têm implicações teóricas e práticas: os líderes devem estar cientes do impacto negativo da pressão organizacional e a associação negativa com a satisfação das BPNS. O desenvolvimento de equipas com profissionais mais jovens e experientes, com reconhecimento e remuneração adequados, deve ser implementado como uma estratégia inclusiva, transmitindo segurança e confiança no futuro do setor fitness. Palavras-chave: motivação do instrutor de fitness; teoria da autodeterminação; pressões de trabalho; identidade profissional.
... A importância de que o mercado do fitness proporcione oportunidades para a promoção do exercício assenta definitivamente em profissionais qualificados, competentes e que são responsáveis pelas dinâmicas da prescrição e da motivação para a prática (De Lyon et al., 2017;De Lyon & Cushion, 2013;Rodrigues et al., 2020b ;Teixeira et al 2020). Esta preocupação da competência e da motivação foi anteriormente bem documentada num estudo de revisão, que alertou para um conjunto de questões sobre o papel dos PE e o seu desempenho na sociedade contemporânea (De Lyon et al., 2017). ...
... A importância de que o mercado do fitness proporcione oportunidades para a promoção do exercício assenta definitivamente em profissionais qualificados, competentes e que são responsáveis pelas dinâmicas da prescrição e da motivação para a prática (De Lyon et al., 2017;De Lyon & Cushion, 2013;Rodrigues et al., 2020b ;Teixeira et al 2020). Esta preocupação da competência e da motivação foi anteriormente bem documentada num estudo de revisão, que alertou para um conjunto de questões sobre o papel dos PE e o seu desempenho na sociedade contemporânea (De Lyon et al., 2017). O autor alerta para o facto de que as questões relacionadas com a qualidade da formação dos profissionais, e as competências exercidas na sua função diária, estão fortemente ligadas às estruturas organizacionais e condições de emprego. ...
... O autor alerta para o facto de que as questões relacionadas com a qualidade da formação dos profissionais, e as competências exercidas na sua função diária, estão fortemente ligadas às estruturas organizacionais e condições de emprego. Estas incluem os problemas que decorrem dos baixos níveis salariais, da rotatividade da mão-de-obra e da falta de infraestruturas de desenvolvimento de carreiras, estando correlacionados com baixos níveis de satisfação no trabalho (De Lyon et al., 2017;Nguyen & Duong, 2020;Ramos et al., 2021aRamos et al., , 2021b. Num estudo recente desenvolvido no mercado nacional com uma amostra de 445 profissionais, cerca de 68,2% estão integrados num vínculo laboral de trabalhador independente e 69,1% auferem um salário inferior a 1.053€ mensais (Ramos et al., 2021a). ...
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The importance of the fitness sector in providing opportunities for exercise promotion is based on qualified, competent professionals responsible for the dynamics of exercise prescription and motivation. Drawing from self-determination theory, this study examined the interplay between perceived job pressures and motivation in fitness professionals. Data was collected from 366 exercise professionals (172 women), using a cross-sectional design. Questionnaires assessing Perceived Job Pressure (organizational; internal and clients) and Basic Psychological Needs Satisfaction (BPNS) were completed online. Correlational and regression analysis was used to test the hypothesized model. The results demonstrate no association between professional qualifications and pressure levels in BPNS. However, it is important to highlight that the levels of pressure from above (organizational) were negatively associated with the satisfaction of the total BPNS (autonomy, competence, and positive relationship). More years of experience were associated with lower pressure values and more satisfaction of competence. Regarding gender, pressures, and their relationship in BPNS, men have higher score in BPNS. Organizational pressures were negatively associated with the satisfaction of total BPNS in professionals. Findings have theoretical and applied implications: team leaders must be aware of the negative impact of organizational pressure and its negative associations with needs satisfaction. Developing teams with younger and experienced professionals with adequate recognition and compensation should be sought as an inclusive strategy, conveying security and trust in the future of the fitness sector.
... This prepares them for a broad range of roles including strength and conditioning, injury rehabilitation, exercise physiology and ergonomics. However, as a result of this broad scope of practice, the potential roles of a kinesiologist are not well understood by kinesiology students and recent kinesiology graduates (Denyes, 2014), or by the public (De Lyon, Neville, & Armour, 2017). A broad base of competency is important to enable the holistic lifestyle change work kinesiologists undertake, however, a lack of understanding of clear and potential roles of a kinesiologist by kinesiology students themselves must be addressed. ...
... A career as a kinesiologist is a promising one, especially in an era of an increasingly sedentary and ageing population, and a heightened need for exercise professionals (De Lyon et al., 2017). The Government of Canada Job Bank currently considers kinesiologist as a career with fair to good prospects depending on the province (Government of Canada, 2021). ...
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Background:Kinesiologists are a growing group of health professionals in Canada who can enter practice after completing undergraduate kinesiology programs. Unlike other health professional programs such as physiotherapy that have well-established curricula and extensive national accreditation standards, kinesiology programs vary considerably between institutions. The resultant disparities in kinesiology graduates’ entry-level skillsets, competencies, and confidence levels contribute to their uncertainty regarding their role in healthcare and the public’s underutilization of kinesiology services.Conclusions:As former kinesiology students, and as current kinesiologists and allied health professionals, we offer our perspective on how undergraduate kinesiology programs could change to respond to the needs of their graduates. Specifically, we suggest an increased emphasis on practical skill development, providing students with kinesiologist mentors and teaching staff, offering kinesiologist specific career planning, and creating explicit streams of specialization. We hope our perspectives based on our own lived experience will better prepare kinesiology students for careers as kinesiologists
... Regarding to the academic profile, the are several reports referring that group instructors present a higher index of attendance to courses and workshops compared to the strength instructors, because most of them teach classes of different modalities that require periodic updates and qualifications. (Boned,et al 2015;De Lyon, 2017;Dorado Andia, 2018;Estrada-Marcén, et al 2019;Jankauskiene, 2018;Juan¬-Llamas, 2015); this continous education gives them an access to a variety of exercises that, when offered as voluntary options at different levels of complexity and intensity, favor the competence and autonomy of the participants in their classes. On the other hand, strength instructors usually have a bachelor's degree or in some cases some specialized technical training in strength but just a few specializations or updates: "in relation to the necessary academic training, they indicated that the universities or study centers to which they belonged did not provide them with the necessary tools to work professionally in a gym; ... the results indicate that, in general, the instructors do not have multidisciplinary academic training that merits the performance of some of the functions they occupy" (Portes Junior et al, 2014). ...
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Cancer is a pathology that leads the causes of death in the population worldwide also is reported its increase with enhancing of life expectancy. In addition, this pathology is multifactorial, including genetic mutations and environmental effectors such as germs or environmental compositional changes, considered as contaminating elements to the organism. For example, other direct factors are associated with chronic diseases that induced continue inflammation. Therefore, understanding cancer biology and its mechanism of action is a fundamental part of mitigating its effect on public health. As a heterogeneous disease, his study is a constant challenge, identifying metastasis in the early stages and the resistance to drugs are problems with an unmet need that could be solved through the study of the disease at the molecular level. Omics sciences have proven to be a promising option for the study of heterogeneous pathologies, due to their ability to analyze a biological system at the molecular level, quantify its composition, and group it according to its function. The study on which each science is based is by which it takes its name, genomics studies the genome, metabolomics the metabolome, proteomics the proteome, among others. In this chapter, we will limit ourselves to proteomics, the study of the set of proteins of a biological system, which from our point of view is the omics science with the widest understanding and from which satisfactory results have been used in clinical application. Especially, because it has been possible to identify biomarkers that may be useful during the diagnosis or prognosis of the disease or therapeutic targets for personalized medicine in patients and thus minimize the adverse effects caused by drugs on healthy cells. We expose different proteomics studies applied in different biological systems such as cell lines, xenografts, and patient tissues or fluids, to reveal the versatility of the technique and the functionality of the data that have been obtained with it.
... These findings clearly corroborate the present (for 2023) and past (for 2021) results of the Greek survey indicating that personal training is #1 fitness trend in Greece. These facts highlight the vital role of exercise professionals in public health [47] and the impact of their work on the fight against the most common chronic diseases in close collaboration with physicians and allied healthcare practitioners [48], making exercise prescription a reality [49]. Lastly, the second-ever Greek survey of fitness trends may underline the demand for regulation and licensing requirements for fitness professionals as widely used by other professions both nationwide and worldwide, aiming to elevate the bar in the health and fitness industry, upgrade fitness services, and protect public health. ...
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A global study is being carried out by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) to determine trends in the health and fitness industry since 2007. The aim of the present study was to identify the most important health and fitness trends in Greece for the second time and to examine any potential changes in this field compared to 2021 nationwide and 2022 worldwide. An online survey was sent to 4,981 professionals who worked in the health and fitness sector using the methodology of similar ACSM’s regional and worldwide studies. A total of 809 responses were collected with a response rate of 17.4%. The ten most important in Greece for 2023 were Personal training, high-intensity interval training, small group training, functional fitness training, exercise for weight loss, high-intensity functional training, body weight training, fitness programs for older adults, exercise is medicine, and group exercise training. Health-related trends appear to be popular while technology- and mind & body fitness-related trends seem not to be very attractive. Traditional exercise modes are still attractive and relevant, but digital services are currently experiencing low popularity after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Results also showed that fitness programs widely offered in boutique fitness studios demonstrate exceptional popularity nationwide. The present outcomes of this study are in line with those reported for Greece in 2021, but not for Europe in 2022. Such observations may highlight the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Greek health and fitness industry and show a smooth return to normality.
... As a consequence, supervision by a personal trainer or physiotherapist is of importance for people who are unfamiliar with performing physical exercises. Fitness professionals not only prevent injuries by preventing incorrect technique, but also increase the effects of the exercise by pushing clients closer to their limits and thereby increasing the overall exercise intensity (De Lyon et al., 2017). Despite the benefits, for some people booking a personal trainer is not a possibility, or a physiotherapist is not available. ...
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We propose a neural learning approach for a humanoid exercise robot that can automatically analyze and correct physical exercises. Such an exercise robot should be able to train many different human partners over time and thus requires the ability for lifelong learning. To this end, we develop a modified Grow-When-Required (GWR) network with recurrent connections, episodic memory and a novel subnode mechanism for learning spatiotemporal relationships of body movements and poses. Once an exercise is successfully demonstrated, the information of pose and movement per frame is stored in the Subnode-GWR network. For every frame, the current pose and motion pair is compared against a predicted output of the GWR, allowing for feedback not only on the pose but also on the velocity of the motion. Since both the pose and motion depend on a user’s body morphology, the exercise demonstration by one individual cannot easily be used as a reference for further users. We allow the GWR to grow online with each further demonstration. The subnode mechanism ensures that exercise information for individual humans is stored and retrieved correctly and is not forgotten over time. In the application scenario, a physical exercise is performed in the presence of an expert like a physiotherapist and then used as a reference for a humanoid robot like Pepper to give feedback on further executions of the same exercise. For evaluation, we developed a new synthetic exercise dataset with virtual avatars. We also test our method on real-world data recorded in an office scenario. Overall, we claim that our novel GWR-based architecture can use a learned exercise reference for different body variations through incremental online learning while preventing catastrophic forgetting, enabling an engaging long-term human-robot experience with a humanoid robot.
... The publications [19][20][21] are devoted to the development of marketing strategies adopted for implementation at fitness clubs. The special role of fitness professionals' training is discussed in the works [22,23]. ...
Currently, the fitness services market in Russia demonstrates one of the highest growth rates among other service markets. Recently, the growth of demand for fitness services has been moving from the capital cities to the regions. A new level of development of the fitness industry is characterized by the transition from the elite service to the mass one. To study the fitness services market in the Primorye Territory, the data of the questionnaire survey of the youth audience consisting of students of higher education institutions in the Primorye Territory were used in the present work. The questionnaire form used to analyze consumer behavior mainly included open-ended questions, which were processed using special computer technology. The scientific novelty of the research consists in the development of an original approach to developing a motivational model for fitness services consumption. The paper presents some results of the study of latent factors affecting the formation of demand for fitness services in the region. Exploring consumer behavior allows judging the effectiveness of a fitness service in general, analyzing current trends in fitness consumption in the region and predicting the demand for fitness products in the future.
... Fitness professionals are another group essential to planning and implementing fitness programming; yet, it is largely unknown how fitness instructors engage in knowledge translation and implementation and what barriers and facilitators they encounter [35]. Although it is well acknowledged that fitness professionals have a critical role in delivering physical activity interventions and programs, there is limited information on this diverse group's capacity and training needs [36]. In alignment with the Planner guiding principle of inclusiveness [7], we assert that fitness professionals are essential in cocreating the implementation plan. ...
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Background The Stroke Recovery in Motion Implementation Planner guides teams through the process of planning for the implementation of community-based exercise programs for people with stroke, in alignment with implementation science frameworks. Objective The purpose of this study was to conduct a field test with end users to describe how teams used the Planner in real-world conditions; describe the effects of Planner use on participants’ implementation-planning knowledge, attitudes, and activities; and identify factors influencing the use of the Planner. Methods This field test study used a longitudinal qualitative design. We recruited teams across Canada who intended to implement a community-based exercise program for people with stroke in the next 6 to 12 months and were willing to use the Planner to guide their work. We completed semistructured interviews at the time of enrollment, monitoring calls every 1 to 2 months, and at the end of the study to learn about implementation-planning work completed and Planner use. The interviews were analyzed using conventional content analysis. Completed Planner steps were plotted onto a timeline for comparison across teams. Results We enrolled 12 participants (program managers and coordinators, rehabilitation professionals, and fitness professionals) from 5 planning teams. The teams were enrolled in the study between 4 and 14 months, and we conducted 25 interviews. We observed that the teams worked through the planning process in diverse and nonlinear ways, adapted to their context. All teams provided examples of how using the Planner changed their implementation-planning knowledge (eg, knowing the steps), attitudes (eg, valuing community engagement), and activities (eg, hosting stakeholder meetings). We identified team, organizational, and broader contextual factors that hindered and facilitated uptake of the Planner. Participants shared valuable tips from the field to help future teams optimize use of the Planner. Conclusions The Stroke Recovery in Motion Implementation Planner is an adaptable resource that may be used in diverse settings to plan community-based exercise programs for people with stroke. These findings may be informative to others who are developing resources to build the capacity of those working in community-based settings to implement new programs and practices. Future work is needed to monitor the use and understand the effect of using the Planner on exercise program implementation and sustainability.
Background People living with chronic disease should ideally engage with community-based exercise services following hospital-based rehabilitation. However, transition from hospital to community exercise settings is extremely challenging and strategies to support this transition are underdeveloped.AimsThe aims of this study were to develop and explore the feasibility of a pilot exercise referral pathway between an acute hospital and community gyms for patients with chronic health conditions and to evaluate patient satisfaction with the exercise referral pathway.MethodsA stakeholder-informed exercise referral pathway was developed and offered to patients following completion of a hospital-based exercise programme for a chronic health condition. The pathway was evaluated using a mixed-methods approach. Quantitative data examining participant engagement was used to examine feasibility. Quantitative survey data and qualitative data from semi-structured interviews examined satisfaction with the pathway.ResultsForty-nine people living with chronic conditions (mean age 72 ± 7.8 years) participated (recruitment rate 59%). The average number of community gym visits over 4 months was 17.4 (range 0–51). Twenty-nine (78%) participants reported that they planned to continue their gym membership when the programme ended. Themed responses from participant interviews (n = 12) highlighted the benefits of a supported transition from hospital to gym membership and the need for more structured exercise support in community gyms.ConclusionA structured exercise referral pathway to support exercise transition between hospital and community settings in populations with chronic health conditions appears feasible. Participants reported high levels of satisfaction with the referral pathway.
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Fitness training professionals (FTPs) are widely in demand by both commercial fitness centers and individual people. In commercial fitness centers, they serve their clientele in one-to-one personal training sessions and group settings. Despite the widespread reach and demand of these professionals, there is no standardized path to enter Malaysia's fitness industry. The resulting inconsistency of services rendered creates among the biggest concerns for their customers. It is not clear to the public what knowledge and skills are applied when FTPs conduct safe and correct exercises. Furthermore, there is a lack of an integrative framework for studying strategic decisions made in the professional fitness industry. Therefore, this study's main objective is to examine the decision-making processes of FTPs used in curating exercise programs with the use of the Cognitive Continuum Theory (CCT) and the Strategic Decision-Making Model (SDMM). This study attempts to contribute a new framework to study FTPs' decision-making processes. Additionally, this framework may help FTPs promote and justify injury-free physical activity for fitness enthusiasts and the general public.
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With the help of a variety of qualitative data collected both in Italy and in England for over a decade - ranging from ethnographic fieldwork to formal and informal interviews with clients, trainers and managers to expert discourse on fitness in the specialist press and exercise manuals - this book aims to offer a bottom-up access to keep-fit culture as developed in commercial fitness gyms. By actually getting into the world of training in the gym, it firstly deals with the local organisation of experience and then considers more closely the body ideals which are negotiated by fitness participants and fitness experts. The book thus aims to start from situated interaction to reach cultural values and social classification, placing gyms into the contemporary wider field of commercial body work (either transformative or sportive) and considering their particular cultural and institutional configuration in historical terms. The book thus opens by discussing the cultural relevance of fitness gyms as related to the history of the commercialisation of body discipline, the negotiation of gender identities and distinction dynamics within contemporary cultures of consumption. The book then unfolds as a journey through the ordinary world of training in the fitness gym by means of ethnographic research, interviews and discourse analysis. The second chapter examines what gives shape to the first impressions that clients may get when they enter the world of the gym: the spatial organisation of fitness centres with their differential interaction patterns. The third chapter deals with the relational aspects of gym environments. While fitness discourse is all about body objectives and body maintenance, fitness centres are also about the management of a variety of social relations, and in particular those between clients from different social backgrounds, and between trainers and clients. The role of trainers as experts, task and emotional leaders is underlined, as well as the continuous negotiation of expert knowledge on fitness. The fourth chapter looks at the fitness work-out as it happens in a variety of gym scenes, considering how expressive behaviour during physical activity is organised. In particular it looks at the motivational logic which fitness participants are invited to embrace and display, contributing to the triumph of self-competition. The fifth chapter deals with the local organisation of involvement in training, and at the framing of involvement as “fun”. It thereby considers the seriousness of fun experiences and explores how they get translated into articulated projects of body modification that offer second order satisfaction. Fitness enthusiasts in particular are studied and compared with novices and irregular participants in order to show how motivational narratives change in the course of fitness participation. The chapter reveals that motivations to join and motivations to stick with training may change greatly, stressing the transformational role of local practices. Considering body ideals more directly, the six chapter deals with the cultural value of the fit body on the backdrop of gender identities. Here, drawing on both expert discourse and gym-goers motivational narratives the notion of fitness as promoted by keep-fit exercises is explored as against health and beauty. The seventh chapter looks at how body-mind/self dualism is articulated within fitness culture on the backdrop of particular visions of urban, desk-bound patterns of work. In particular, its shows that the meanings of fitness are related to normative values about the body and naturalness as well as the self and authenticity which provide themes that can be deployed to legitimatize body transformation. The conclusion deals with how a bottom-up approach to keep-fit practices in the commercial gym may help us critically address consumer choice and global cultures of consumption.
This article advances the claim that a new ‘fitness boom’ has arrived, one marked by the proliferation of devices such as wearable fitness trackers. The first fitness boom of the 1970s/1980s was characterized by the heightened availability of fitness ‘tools’ and the supposition that pursuing a ‘fit’ lifestyle was tantamount to responsible living. The new era in fitness intensifies foregoing fitness trends, rather than departing from them completely. Specifically, the second fitness boom is deemed to be characterized by the following traits: (1) the manifestation of socio-technical networks, (2) an emphasis on human–technology interactivity, (3) data-intensiveness, (4) customization in the interest of ‘optimization’, (5) the option for individual users to partake in wider online communities and, finally, (6) both ‘new’ and ‘old’ forms of commodification. With these characteristics in mind, a case is made that fitness is a site for prosumption – production and consumption together – now more so than ever. More importantly, fitness is a site for automated prosumption in that fitness data can be generated with limited effort from fitness participants. Consideration is given to the significance of automated prosumption in the fitness realm as it pertains to fitness and to the notion of prosumption both.
Steve Sommers has taught high school physical education for 16 years, and in that time he has learned much about the demands that teachers face in public schools. This study examined how Steve constructed the knowledge necessary to meet those demands. Specifically, this study sought to describe the sources and processes used in making pedagogical decisions. Data were collected over one academic year using life history and ethnographic techniques. Data analysis entailed reducing data to themes and categories that identified the specific sources of knowledge and how Steve used those sources in his teaching. Steve relied upon four primary knowledge sources: community, school, profession, and biography. These sources provided Steve with the expectations for his teaching and the limits of his responsibilities. Further, these sources provided the raw information that Steve translated into classroom practices. A dialectic tension existed between Steve and his occupational environment that shaped and gave status ...
Drawing on evidence from an Australian physical education teacher education (PETE) program, this paper argues that the preparation of physical education teachers implicates PETE in the trend to proletarianize teachers’ work at the same time that national claims for increased professionalization are being made. The core physical education program and its PETE component was characterized by narrow utilitarian, sexist, scientistic, and technicist approaches to the field of physical education. More specifically, the PETE program represented teaching as technical and unproblematic rather than as a critical and intellectual endeavor, and its faculty and students were accorded a subordinate status within the department.
The individual has never been more important in society in almost every sphere of public and private life, the individual is sovereign. Yet the importance and apparent power assigned to the individual is not all that it seems. As ‘Responsible Citizens’ investigates via its UK-based case studies, this emphasis on the individual has gone hand in hand with a rise in subtle authoritarianism, which has insinuated itself into the government of the population. Whilst present throughout the public services, this authoritarianism is most conspicuous in the health and social welfare sectors, such that a kind of ‘governance through responsibility’ is today enforced upon the population.