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YOUR Personal Training Blog
24th May 2023

Assessing the Influence of Online-Only Fitness Courses on Standards and Gym Satisfaction

The fitness industry has experienced a shift towards online-only personal training and gym instructor courses. While this shift brings convenience and accessibility, it also results in a decline in standards, which affects competency levels and gym member satisfaction. It is crucial to address these issues to ensure the industry maintains professionalism and high standards


Deterioration in Standards - Lack of Practical Training and Quality Control:

Online-only courses often lack practical training, leading to graduates with limited skills and experience. Practical training plays a crucial role in preparing fitness professionals for real-life situations and client needs. Without adequate practical experience, trainers may struggle to assess clients' abilities and safety requirements accurately. Lack of quality control in online assessments further compounds the problem, resulting in insufficient feedback and missed opportunities for immediate corrections and guidance. Gyms owners, operators and managers across the country are consistently complaining about the sub-standard quality of applicants and either refusing to employ them, giving themselves a service level issue for their member base or taking them on regardless because they have “no choice”


The Race to the Bottom - A Cycle of Unsustainable Pricing and Diminished Quality:

The rise of online-only fitness courses has led to a pricing competition among course providers, resulting in subpar courses flooding the market. Providers resort to lowering prices, compromising the quality of education. This unsustainable pricing strategy financially affects training providers, leading to a decline in educational quality and the closing and collapsing of many providers. This has been the primary cause of Fitness Industry Training Providers over the last few years.


Lack of Competency and Gym Member Satisfaction

Insufficient practical training and inadequate assessment methods lead to trainers lacking the necessary skills to provide effective guidance. This affects gym member satisfaction, as they may not receive the high-quality training and support they expect.

When learners get to interact with new people, it helps them prepare for the real world better. It's not just about practicing and being assessed with their best friend on a video call! That's why newly qualified trainers struggle to talk to strangers because they haven't had the chance to do it during their online course.


Accountability and Responsibility - Empowering Consumers and Employers

Consumers should exercise caution when selecting trainers, ensuring they have qualifications from reputable sources. Employers should prioritise candidates with practical experience who have completed hands on training and in person practical assessments. Both consumers and employers can advocate for industry-wide best practices to raise standards.


The Importance of Regulation and Accreditation

Clear guidelines and standards set by regulators ensure that trainers possess the necessary skills and knowledge. Standardised assessments maintain fairness and consistency in certifications. Accreditation processes distinguish reputable providers and encourage continuous improvement.


So, Who's Responsible for This?

In the decline of standards caused by online-only fitness courses, several stakeholders must be held accountable. Here are just some the key parties responsible:

Lack of Due Diligence - Consumers contribute to the problem by failing to research and evaluate the qualifications of trainers they engage with. This lack of caution leads to the proliferation of underqualified fitness professionals and perpetuates low standards.

Employers - Enabling and Ignoring
Employers in the fitness industry bear responsibility for allowing the decline in standards. Many prioritize cost-saving measures over competence when hiring fitness professionals, neglecting to set high standards and perpetuating subpar education and training.

Training Providers - "Cant Beat Them, Join Them" or "Premium" Approach. Some training providers worsen the situation by offering cheap, low-quality online courses, contributing to the race to the bottom. Others overcharge consumers by rebranding basic offerings as "premium," undermining the integrity and quality of fitness education.

Industry Regulators: Lack of Education and Support
Regulators in the fitness industry fail to provide adequate guidelines and support to employers and consumers. This absence of standards in tutors, assessors allows under-qualified professionals to thrive. Regulators must intervene and set more proactive and aggressive controls to promote quality and professionalism.

The Broken Window Theory draws a relevant parallel. Just as visible disorder and neglect can lead to increased crime, accepting low standards in the fitness industry attracts individuals willing to compromise on quality has perpetuated the decline while the majority of those involved have watched it happen.

By recognising the shared responsibility of consumers, employers, training providers, and industry regulators, the fitness industry can work together to elevate standards, restore professionalism, and provide safe and effective fitness experiences for all.

The Solution - Blending Practical Training and Online Theory Content

A blended approach, combining face-to-face training and online theory content, is crucial for maintaining high standards. Practical experience alongside online learning enhances competence and adaptation to client needs. Blending promotes engagement, interaction, and a dynamic learning experience.

To elevate the fitness industry's standards, a blended approach that prioritises quality education and practical skills is essential. Hands-on training, along with interactive learning, ensures the competency of fitness professionals and the satisfaction of gym members and clients. Let us recognise the value of practical training and embrace a blended approach to education.

An additional consideration could be, Online Learning Only = Online PT/Coaching Only.

"Discover the Future of Fitness Education with YOUR Academy, the Official Education Provider of the Myprotein PT Scheme! Download our course guide and book a call today. We are also an Active IQ & CIMSPA approved training provider."


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