How to Choose an Online Personal Training Specialty

When you become a personal trainer, you are committing yourself to a life of health, wellness and fitness. You become a role model for clients and prospective clients while offering direction, encouragement and motivation.

The critical role of a personal trainer is to ensure safety for all clients regardless of age or health concerns. Through your studies, you learn about how the body works, how to design an appropriate program based on different client goals, and how to properly motivate your clients to make sure they are progressing over time. 

While many personal trainers learn these basics and continue to train people throughout an entire career, there are still others who are interested in exploring other methods and training styles and becoming a specialist in one or more areas of health and fitness.

art1.jpgThe biggest question is which online personal training specialty certification should you choose? Here is a breakdown of the categories of specialty training available today.

Health and Wellness Nutrition

Health and wellness remains a hot topic today. People want to lose weight and want to know what kinds of foods will help them best meet these objectives in the fastest way. Others want to have a healthy body overall and make sure they are protecting themselves from illness and disease. There are many exciting ways to help people achieve their goals through sound nutrition. You can specialize in Holistic Nutrition, Longevity Wellness, Nutrition and Wellness, Sports Nutrition and you can even become a certified Health Coach.

Sports Skills

Between youth, professional and adult recreational sports, there are millions of people who want to excel at their chosen activity. In addition to special skills training, there are attributes that some of these sports share. Many sports require agility training while others rely more heavily on speed.

For the personal trainer who loves sports or enjoys training athletes, there are many specialty training certifications you can pursue. There are certifications in Sports Conditioning, Speed and Agility, Coordination and Balance as well as Sports Specific training.

Specialty Sports Training

With the number of sports enthusiasts in this country, it is a great idea to find one area of specialty with a passionate following of people who strive to become better. Examples include golf, cycling, running and triathlons. These are great opportunities to capture an avid market of sports enthusiasts.

Injury Prevention

Did you know you could specialize in the injury prevention market and help prevent and/or manage common injuries like back injuries and sports injuries? There are millions of injuries each year from people who could benefit from your teachings on appropriate form and fitness. You can also help direct programs on how to stay fit to prevent injuries and how to manage them effectively when they do occur.



Group Training

Group training certifications are available with a wide range of opportunities. Some trainers like to include group training to prevent boredom or to break up the typical one-on-one personal training sessions in a day or throughout the week. It can also help to expand their current personal training offerings as well as increase the annual income. 

Group training classes can be held indoors or outdoors and may depend upon your year round weather, available space and business set up. The most common group training certifications include aerobics and step aerobics. However, there are many more creative options for running group classes. You can also consider water aerobics, kettlebell classes, stability ball, boot camp (indoor or outdoor), spinning, and kickboxing.

Special Populations

Special populations are unique in their own way. They refer to working with a smaller segment of a population who may have special needs or require a different level of training modification based on their unique circumstances. This includes populations of people who are a higher health risk (heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.), those who are far more than an extra 20 or 30 lbs. overweight (obese or severely obese), and other groups like women who are pregnant or postpartum, youth and seniors.

Each of these sub groups create training possibilities by simply catering to their individual needs.

Mind Body

Since stress is a major factor in most people’s lives, some of the most popular classes today revolve around how to carefully integrate mind, body and spirit. Many people want to work out, but their preferences for a more balanced approach outweigh their interest in simply getting in shape. 

Types of specialty courses in this realm include Pilates, Yoga and even Meditation. These kinds of classes each have a large following of people who either want to participate in a group class or prefer one-on-one training with one of more of these disciplines.

With Yoga and Pilates, the emphasis of training is on the whole body and mind as well as paying special attention to long, lean muscle, development of core musculature, postural alignment and relieving stress.


The IHRSA estimates there are over 54 million people in the U.S. who belong to a health club.  This number does not measure the number of people who go to private trainers and gyms, those who engage in home training or corporate wellness centers.

Now imagine all the different interests and hobbies that are within this population? There are avid sports enthusiasts (tennis, golf, soccer, skiing, etc.), tens of millions who need to lose weight, people who want to rehab an injury, find better ways to manage stress and so on.

Give some thought to those that live in your local community. What kinds of people or subcultures does your area attract? Are you known to have a high population of retirees? Mountain bikers? Hikers? Perhaps your state is known as a high obesity location or something completely different. If you are not sure, make contact with your local Chamber of Commerce and do a little research.

Outside of catering to the needs of your local market, what topics most interest you personally? Is there a niche or activity that especially interests your or an activity you participate in? If you have something that excites and interests you, you are far more likely to be successful because you bring your skills, insights, passion and experience to the subject matter as well.