The personal trainer career pathway is a new one that has only recently been pioneered. Obviously, the ancient Greeks and other cultures of the past have had their athletic traditions, but most of this athletic training was actually intended to keep people in shape for war. Exercising for the sake of health and going to a professional expert in fitness training is a new practice that has only begun in the 20th century.
There were destination health spas in the late 19th century that were concerned with exercise in a parallel fashion along with overall body health, but these destination health facilities often used questionable health procedures that had little to do with actual fitness. Jack Lalanne is known as the godfather of all fitness and for good reason. Born in California in 1914, Jack was first a sugar addicted child that felt he was “mean and weak” as a result.
After a nutrition lecture he saw as a teenager changed his life, Jack threw himself into a sugar free nutritious diet, exercise and soon played on multiple high school sports teams. In 1936 at the young age of 22, he opened the first health club ever. Opening the club in Oakland, California, he gained a reputation with conservative minded doctors as a “health nut” to be avoided.
He walked the streets to find customers claiming he could recondition their bodies and get them in the best shape of their lives. In the process of opening his club and personally training his customers, he basically invented the personal trainer career. While he continued to shape his method for exercise instruction he also invented a number of exercise machines that are common place today.
The cable pulley weight lifting systems you see in every single gym in the world are his invention as are the smith machines you see everywhere as well. Soon Jack opened more clubs and each one had individuals working at them who could provide instruction in how to use the machines, eat well and get the proper amount of rest. Jack Lalanne eventually sold his chain of exercise clubs which were renamed Bally’s.
In 1954, the American College of Sports Medicine was founded to promote fitness, health and certify fitness professionals. This organization began certifying the first personal trainers, but by the 1980s the personal trainer career became popular and sometimes even lucrative. Fitness celebrities such as John Basedow, Gilad Janklowicz, and Jack Lalanne himself have made millions selling fitness videos since the 1980s.
Today professional training companies are everywhere offering to help you get fit at either the local gym or even your own home. Thanks to pioneers like Jack Lalanne, it’s quite possible for anyone to learn about fitness, get certified and find a job as a personal trainer.