As we march forward in time, technology brings us new products, new access, and new perceived "needs." As the ground rattles and the landscape changes, we can either rock with the rocks and roll with the rolls ... or we can get our footing and find a new peak on the new terrain.

I've identified Five Points of Change that make this an ideal time for personal trainers to grow and prosper, but not every personal trainer will embrace or capitalize upon the present opportunity. With a new perspective and recognition of the Five Points, you move into the small group of leaders who can carve out a new position in a field where respect and compensation are still lacking.

1. Personal trainers can become recognized members of the Allied Health Care Team
There was a time we saw doctors as a potential source of "leads." From a distance, the more aggressive among us tried to form referral relationships with medical professionals. We maintained a healthy respect for doctors and felt that they stood on a pedestal above. They were healers; we were trainers. Today, the escalation in chronic disease combined with the flawed attempts to "medicate people well," opens a door for us to step up onto our own platform, one that allows us a peer-to-peer relationship with medical practitioners. Today, we can utilize exercise and eating interventions that are curative and that places us among the "Allied Health Care" professionals who work to help people restore lost health. Today, we can take on clients and establish relationships where doctors monitor biochemistry while we initiate change.

2. We have to look beyond macronutrition and understand nutritional support of cellular health
As science comes to better understand chronic disease, it becomes evident that inflammation lies as the root cause, whether we're discussing maladies of the brain, heart or respiratory system. Inflammation begins at the cellular level and without optimal nutrition, cellular health degrades. When the cells become compromised, energy production, metabolic efficiency and immune function are also compromised. While we can direct people in the realm of exercise, and while most of us have developed a comfort level in discussing the impact of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, food today is not what it was even a decade ago. We need to become learned in how commercial food preparation destroys the health benefit of many of our long-endeared foods. We need to become learned in the virtues of saturated fats, the vital importance of gut bacteria, and we have to lead a path to help our clients gain access to foods that truly support health of the entire human organism.

3. Crossfit concepts aren't the end-all, but they certainly "work"
The "hit it hard and give it all you've got" exercise protocols may have some long-time physiologists cringing at the risk of injury, but there's no question that they "work" to help healthy people find greater fitness levels. As an industry evolves, those who follow often wear blinders and see a wave as the entirety of the ocean. It's important to note that at least 60% of our adult population struggles with fitness concerns, chronic issues, and biomechanical imbalances. While the Crossfit market is indeed a hungry one, if we are to prosper at the highest levels we have to discover how we can take concepts that "work" and modify them for all populations. It's only with that power that we gain the respect among the mainstream that we deserve.

4. We have to recognize mediocrity and strive for quality and excellence
The internet has made books all but obsolete. Ebooks, Kindle and Nook specials and podcasts pour out of the computer like rain. As you study the virtual product offerings, you're bound to find that most of them are mediocre at best, both in content and in presentation. There are two messages here, one that will limit you, the other that will serve you. The limiting message is, "it's easy to create a product and make a few bucks selling it to people who respond to your advertising and marketing." The better message is, "so many people are willing to put out mediocrity; if people are spending money on offerings that you see as inferior, it opens the door for you to separate yourself by injecting quality and respecting your own drive for excellence." Those who provide the highest quality tend to also be those who are most connected to the idea of being "servants." They give so they can benefit others and they take pride in anything they produce. If you have that as the operating system that drives your heart and passion, work a little harder, create a better product, make it tangible so it can be viewed and touched, and allow the marketplace to see that personal trainers are in fact professionals.

5. Texting is communicating, but doesn't serve to meet the needs of the benefits of social bonding
Any in-depth study of proactivity and motivation evidences the importance of mindset, of a sense of potential, and of social support. That means human interaction. We are social creatures by nature. When a family sits down to eat dinner together, that family experiences the cornerstone of familial bonding. When you touch a client's arm in a show of confidence or support, when you look your client in the eyes and say "you can do it," and when you tilt your head in empathy indicating that you care, the emotional bonding magic happens below the conscious level. You are in the people business, and while you can reach lots of people in short periods of time by simply hitting letters on your smartphone, you can't touch them in a way that has served the top personal trainers in our field for the last 30 years. You can text reminders, tips and quick "check-ins," but don't mistake that interaction for the person-to-person bonding that creates long term clients who sing our praises. Taking it a step further, while an online and social media presence are valuable, personal appearances before organizations and groups is invaluable.

The landscape will continue to change, and with every new wave comes new opportunity. Opportunity isn't always immediately visible, and most are initially blind to it, but a willingness to climb out of the undertow and ride a new wave is going to serve as a launch pad to new success for those personal trainers committed to being their best.

Phil Kaplan shares the keys to rising to the top of the field in his ASPIRE and Be Better programs. Visit or email Phil directly at


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