Brad Schoenfeld, MS, CSCS
In recent years, the field of personal training has literally exploded with opportunity. What formerly was an avocation for aspiring body builders, actors, and transient workers is now a viable career path for hundreds of thousands of individuals. Today's personal trainers are at the forefront of the fitness industry, having the potential to positively impact millions of lives.
Unfortunately, the personal training industry remains largely unregulated. Manicurists and hair stylists must be licensed to practice their craft, whereas anyone can hang a shingle on their door and call himself or herself a “fitness professional.” Accordingly, quality of training is spotty, at best. This has led to a prevailing perception that most trainers are nothing more than glorified “rep counters” with little grasp of the nuances of program design.
As someone who has worked in the field for the past 2 decades, the negative stigma associated with trainers is of great concern to me. As such, I have made it a career mission to help elevate the quality of the personal training profession. Central to this cause is stressing the importance of taking an evidence-based approach to fitness.
Trainers must realize that exercise prescription is both a science and an art. Researchers need to focus solely on the scientific aspect of exercise, whereas trainers must harness scientific principles and integrate them into cohesive routines that meet the individual needs and abilities of their clients. All too often, however, trainers shun the science and base their training philosophy primarily on intuition and hearsay. Such a haphazard approach is destined to lead to substandard results for clients or, worse, injury.
Consistent with the mission of the Strength and Conditioning Journal, this special topics issue is devoted to empowering personal trainers with evidence-based knowledge that has true practical value. You will find an excellent mix of articles on a variety of fitness topics from some of the leading experts in the field. The articles embody the requisite blend of science and art that every fitness professional should aspire to in the practice of their craft.
In closing, I would like to take a moment to thank several individuals who helped to make this issue possible. First, a huge debt of gratitude is owed to Dr. Jeff Chandler for entrusting me with the responsibility of serving as guest editor as well as being a mentor throughout the process. I also wish to thank Britt Chandler and Dr. Patrick Hagerman for their assistance in facilitating publication. Finally, I would like to thank all the authors and reviewers who contributed their time and effort to producing a truly outstanding issue. This has been a highly rewarding experience for me, and hopefully, it helps to further the cause of elevating personal training to the respected profession that it can and should be.
Brad Schoenfeld, MS, CSCS