Fitness industry pushes for better trainers
WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (AP) — The United States’ aging, overweight
population is fueling demand for personal trainers skilled at prodding the out-
of-shape of all ages to get fit.
But there is no guarantee those buff trainers know the best workout for a 65-
year-old man with heart disease or an obese woman in her 50s with diabetes.
Virtually anyone can become a certified trainer because there are no national
educational standards for the field. Numerous Web sites offer personal trainer
certification after just a few hours of online training — and a few hundred
That situation galls personal trainers like Ken Baldwin, who has seen people
become disillusioned or injured by working with unqualified trainers.
The Purdue University instructor helped create that school’s four-year
undergraduate personal fitness trainer degree, which he believes is the first of
its kind in the United States. The year-old program is built on Purdue’s health
and fitness major, which already focused on exercise physiology, basic health
studies, fitness evaluation and program management, psychology and nutrition.
“Large or medium-sized health club chains can’t grow because they don’t have
good, qualified individuals to manage and oversee growth. There’s just a dire
need for that,” said Baldwin, who oversees the personal fitness training at
Purdue’s Department of Health and Kinesiology.
The program has enrolled 30 students who learn the nuances of toning muscle
groups and proper exercise movements, and get hands-on experience with cardiac
rehab patients and people in physical therapy after injuries or surgery.