So much has changed over the last few years. After IDEA was acquired, we retired from IDEA and established the IDEA World Scholarships and the Fit Pro Relief Fund to give back to the industry we love.
We’ve also been involved and watching the fitness professional and education trends over here at Inspire360 and we want to share our findings with you. The industry is changing rapidly and we are here to help you sift through all the noise and get to the good stuff. Every month, we'll bring you trending topics and the inside scoop that we believe is paramount for fitness professionals to know. If there are any topics you feel are going to be important this year, please reply to this email and let us know!
Peter & Kathie Davis
The word “niche” is having a moment in popular culture. In an effort to stand out and highlight unique expertise, many are carving out hyper-specific spaces for themselves. Intensely-focused specificity has also made its way into mainstream fitness, where niche certification programs are seeing a meteoric rise.
You may already be part of this trend by finding your own niche through a specialty credential program. Perhaps you’ve specialized in breathwork with Oxygen Advantage®, focused on athletic performance with Exos, or mastered applied functional science, targeting the root cause of dysfunction with Gray Institute®. Regardless of specialty, you’ve become a trendsetter within the industry.
The rest of the fitness world is following your lead, and the lead of specialty certification organizations. NCCA-accredited groups have expanded their offerings exponentially. ACE is encouraging you to “stand out as a specialist,” with programs like the ACE® Behavior Change Program and the ACE® Orthopedic Exercise Program. In October 2022, NASM™ launched their Physique and Bodybuilding Coach specialization, and ISSA recently released their new Glute Specialist Course.
Fit pros are finding that specialty certifications are reframing information they thought they already knew and also rejuvenating their passion for fitness with fresh inspiration.
And health club chains have taken notice. In response to Inspire360's VP of Partnerships, Ravi Sharma's question about specialty certifications, Mitchell Keyes at Self Esteem Brands® (Anytime Fitness) called out the Muscle Activation Techniques certification as a standout program. “Not only did it teach me the best of advanced biomechanics and anatomy, it taught me HOW to critically think about the body and problem-solve differently than I had ever learned before.”
“I’m a big fan of the TRX® STC course,” added Matt Wright at The Fort Athletic Club. “I think every fit pro should have it under their belt. I’ve also had several of our coaches go through Mike Boyle’s Certified Functional Strength Coach Program. They always come back inspired and with a huge wealth of knowledge.”
Richard Earney at Midtown Athletic Clubs noted that different programs were useful at different stages of his career — a solid approach to lifelong learning.
“The first thought that comes to mind is Precision Nutrition,” replied Danny King from Lifetime®. “It’s a combo of their learning approach and the focus on helping trainers expand their knowledge into new areas to help their clients. Non-specific to one certification, but trainers tend to grow quickly when adding an assisted stretch certification, and anything more focused on stress, sleep, and recovery.”
And that really is the crux of it — specialty certifications are taking over in a big way because they are helping fitness professionals expand their point of view, deepen their knowledge base, and see things from a new angle. This is a major trend to watch in the industry and as time goes on, we're going to see professional fitness education become even more specialized.
This newsletter was brought to you by Kathie Davis, Peter Davis, Ravi Sharma, Dominique Astorino, and the Inspire360 team.