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The History of Personal Training

The History of Personal Training

While many of us head to the gym for sessions with our personal trainers, very little thought is given to the role and how it came about. The history of personal training dates back thousands of years to 400 BC  when Near East leaders recognised the importance of proper fitness training as a means to prepare soldiers for war. In Ancient Greek civilizations, fitness was considered an important aspect of any man’s life, as not only did being physically fit and strong help during battles but as a medical practitioner, Hippocrates stated “Exercise is medicine”.


Historical Athletic Events and Modern Development


The history of personal training relates back to historic sporting events which have been pivotal to society, with the Olympic Games standing as a classic example. This international athletic event originated in 776 B.C while other examples include martial arts too. However, the profession of the personal trainer did not come until later, in the 1900s.


Thanks to significant advancements during this century due to the work of notable fitness icon Jack LaLanne. Dubbed the Father of Modern Fitness, his work, and passion for fitness instructing motivated the American nation to get up and move. LaLanne produced a number of television shows in which he inspired tose watching to choose their health and fitness as a priority, demonstrating the positive benefits of this preventative medicine. This kickstarted the modern fitness movement which saw other passionate fitness enthusiasts bring their knowledge to the table. LaLanne also owned the first-ever fitness club and is rightfully so the first recognised personal trainer.


Introducing Aerobics Training


The modern fitness movement was sparked by LaLanne, and later Dr. Ken. H. Cooper inspired many with the idea of the use of exercise acting as disease prevention. Though exercise had always been considered good for the human body, it was not yet largely understood as a treatment or preventative measure for ill health. In 1968, he coined the term “aerobics” and presented it to the world which began a movement of joggers in the U.S.A. Prior to his influence, around 100,000 Americans jogged regularly, this number bolted up to 30 million over a short period of time as more people recognized that exercise combined with a healthy diet could prevent a number of diseases.


Emerging Fitness Careers


Fitness careers we know today didn’t emerge until the 1980s, inclusive of personal training. While the oldest form of personal training is found in military use and consisted of weight exercises and aerobics, today personal training comes in many different styles. In the earlier days of the profession, no certificate was required which led to the career becoming sustainable for many who had the skills and required knowledge. Today, a professional personal trainer must possess certification to demonstrate that they are qualified. Since fitness training encompasses a range of exercises, those who chose a trainer must have the reassurance that they are in safe expert hands.


Personal Training Certification


Today, every personal trainer should legally hold certification if they are operating their own client business. The position of a personal trainer has evolved greatly into an admirable and versatile career giving access to many opportunities. Whether a trainer is teaching aerobics from a gym or visiting a client’s home for one-on-one sessions, certification should be present.


At Fitbook we ensure that all of the personal trainers on our platform hold the correct personal training certification putting your health and safety first. Certification for a trainer is gained through accredited personal trainer courses which come in various forms. While in the past entering the profession was primarily based on practical skills, today the career is largely knowledge-oriented.



The Benefits of Personal Training Today


Personal training today is highly popular, with both gyms and individual clients employing professionals. Personal trainers can assist with a number of different fitness areas and many specialise in certain areas ranging from weight loss and muscle gain for example. When it comes to choosing a personal trainer as stressed above, it is important to ensure the professional holds the correct certification to hold themselves accountable.


Training and coaching today come with a level of unprecedented flexibility as never seen before. Not only in terms of where the fitness activities take place but also the level of commitment the client can choose from. Personal trainers personalise programmes to sit individual’s goals taking into consideration multiple factors such as weight, fitness level, BMI, strength, and more. While there is some speculation surrounding how effective personal training can be when compared to individuals training solo, choosing to do so can bring about amazing results including:

  • Education – you’ll learn which exercises are most effective, how to do them properly, and as a result how to avoid the risk of injury.
  • Form perfection – exercises aren’t effective most of the time unless you have the correct form when performing them. A personal trainer will show you how to do it the right way.
  • Fulfill personal requirements – we’re all individuals and personal trainers honor this. Since your abilities and goals will be assessed, the trainer will work with you to ensure you exercise to the best of your ability.
  • Realistic goals – many of us enter fitness expecting to run a marathon in no time. With the help of a personal trainer you can ensure achievable goals are set so you’ll feel a sense of real accomplishment and not a disappointment.
  • Event training – through encouragement and consistency, you’ll be able to train with confidence for any event.
  • You’ll feel accountable – you will feel a bigger sense of motivation to keep to your fitness programme as your trainer is going to hold you accountable for attending sessions and hitting goals.
  • Nutritional Advice – all personal training courses include aspects of nutrition. Your personal trainer can help you outline your macronutrients.


And, these benefits are just a small selection. Personal trainers can quite literally transform lifestyles with the right dedication. You can browse our selection of vetted personal trainers in the UK to get started on your fitness journey today.


Future of Personal Training


While we have largely spoken of the history of personal training, there is much to be said for the future of the profession too. Today, the career is centered on helping individuals achieve their fitness goals through various physical exercises. However, the future of the profession could evolve as changing attitudes, science, and technology develops. We are currently experiencing a major turning point when it comes to fitness technology which is already beginning to alter the way we train.


It is likely that the role of a personal trainer will move into an all-encompassing role where nutritional, life coaching, and physical training are all considered and implemented. Many experts in the industry are already using the means of technology to their advantage by offering clients 24/7 contact via online connections. Technology is without a doubt going to have an impact on how people train too, not just the vastness of the job’s responsibilities.


Personal Training Now VS Then


In the times of ancient Greece, the history of personal training was very much put in place as a rigorous lifestyle to train soldiers for battle. Bodybuilding in these times heavily relied on the use of body weight exercises focusing and resistance using logs, stones, or others. Considered an equal in status to medicine, while not everybody in society exercised, those that did took it seriously. In ancient civilisations there wasn’t much thought given to equipment or where exercises were performed, rather it was down to the group (in the case of soldier training) to simply follow instructions given to them to ensure they reached their maximum strength. A male-only affair, the establishment of the Olympic Games is the most profound example of how sporting moved from a necessity for survival to entertainment.


Fast forward to the modern day and personal training has made quite the transformation. As a properly established career, personal trainers have helped many individuals improve their fitness as well as train to participate in sporting events. The influence of technology has made it easier than ever to track goals and focus on every aspect of health and fitness with ease. Though personal training is based on human to human communication, technology aids end goals. A great example of how can be seen through the designing of fitness watches and bands which integrate technology to monitor heart rate and much more. While technology isn’t going to replace the one on one contact within the profession, there are more appearances of online programmes and aids in fitness training.


Starting Your Personal Fitness Journey – What Next?


If you’ve decided to embark upon a personal fitness journey of your own, Fitbook highly recommends enlisting the help and expertise of a personal trainer. As drawn upon, there are a number of benefits that come with choosing a trainer or coach that don’t come with training solo.


Are you seeking to improve your lifestyle but need a helping hand? Find a vetted health and fitness professional  in your area today brought to you by The Fitbook.

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By Evie Graham