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The Current State of Personal Training: Managers' Perspectives

Melton, Deana I1; Dail, Teresa K1; Katula, Jeffrey A2; Mustian, Karen M3

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 11 - pp 3173-3179
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e381f5
Original Research

Melton, DI, Dail, TK, Katula, JA, and Mustian, KM. The current state of personal training: managers' perspectives. J Strength Cond Res 24(11): 3173-3179, 2010-Fitness managers play an integral role in the day-to-day operation of the facilities in which they work. One of the most critical responsibilities is that of hiring, training, and supervising personal trainers. Research studies have identified a number of qualities and competencies that an effective exercise leader is required to have, but there is little scholarly work addressing managers' attitudes surrounding the performance of personal trainers. Using focus group methodology, managers of personal trainers were recruited to provide viewpoints related to desirable qualities of personal trainers and opinions regarding certification and academic preparation. Responses of the participants were transcribed, coded, and analyzed for themes. Two global themes, Selection Rationale and Negative Characteristics, emerged. Selection Rationale consisted of qualities that influence a manager's decision to hire a particular trainer (e.g., physique, education, social skills). Negative characteristics referred to qualities considered unethical or unprofessional (e.g., sexual comments, misuse of power) and the consequences of those behaviors (e.g., loss of clients, potential for litigation). The results suggest that undergraduate exercise science programs devote additional time toward the development of the affective qualities of future fitness trainers. Managers also recommended licensure for employees.

1Human Performance and Leisure Studies Department, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, North Carolina; 2Department of Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and 3University of Rochester School of Medicine, James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, Rochester, New York

Address correspondence to Deana Melton,

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association