Training Special Populations

Did you know that training special populations is one of the fastest growing segments of the personal training industry? A special population refers to particular groups of people with special fitness and exercise needs and typically requires a greater level of supervision. This group includes those with diseases like heart disease, diabetes and other prevalent diseases and extends to those with injuries and specific situations like pregnancy, postpartum, seniors, etc.

Each special population has needs and concerns which is unique to its group. Because of the level of attention, trainers have an opportunity to become the masters of one of more of these groups and provide them with a higher level of training than can normally be provided from a basic personal training certification.

Would you believe that 29 million are affected by diabetes in this country? According to the CDC, it accounts for 9.3% of the population. A personal trainer could easily become an expert in this one area alone.

You can also take into account the number of other issues and ailments that affect our health and well being every day like arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cater to these groups on a full time basis. The majority of these groups responds best to lifestyle modifications and can benefit from learning exercise and eating principles that will improve better manage their disease and, in some cases, get rid of it.

Here are some ideas of special populations where you can receive additional certifications and help people with their unique needs.

pregandpostpartum.jpgPregnancy and postpartum

When a woman becomes pregnant, which exercises are best for her to perform and which ones should she avoid? These are important questions that need special guidance and individual attention. How should these exercises, stretches and activities change in the time frame immediately following birth?

For trainers who choose to specialize in either pregnancy or postpartum or both, there is a tremendous opportunity to help women stay healthy and fit throughout this important time in their lives.


Should children lift weights? What age is best to start and what precautions do you need to follow to keep them safe and healthy? Kids under 10 are not just miniature adults and deserve special training protocols to help them achieve their goals. Many kids participate in sports at a recreational level and an elite few compete at a high level in a number of sports. Knowing how much training is beneficial and when their bodies need appropriate rest is an important part of keeping them injury free and efficient in competition.


Our baby boomer generation is amongst our largest special population at roughly 75 million. Not only do they represent a large base in most every community, they also drive a lot of the spending. They are interested in reclaiming their youth and staying active as long as their good health and wellness prevails.

By earning a certification in Senior Fitness, you will feel well qualified to help seniors achieve their fitness goals and help prevent injuries that others in this age group are subject to. You can help them develop balance, restore flexibility and gain strength well as their age advances.

Managing Disease

Managing a disease can be very overwhelming for many people. Some of the most common chronic problems we face today are also among the most challenging. These include having diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, arthritis, metabolic syndrome, and other health issues. They are time consuming and expensive to manage as well as jeopardizes your overall health.  Not addressing some of these health concerns can cause the loss of limbs and even life.

The good news is that many of the most dangerous diseases can either be avoided or managed by introducing the concepts of healthy living. Lifestyle choices can have a big impact on how your body responds to diseases.

By earning special certifications in this area, you can teach about healthy nutrition principles, exercise techniques and principles and help people live longer with a more active lifestyle.

weightmanage.jpgWeight Management

The vast majority of adults are overweight or obese. The same is true for our future generation. Statistics say that almost 35% of adults in America fit into this category. While having extra weight can be limiting in terms of energy and activity levels, it also brings susceptibility to many diseases. Many trainers specialize in helping people achieve significant weight loss. There are unhealthy diets being introduced to your clients almost daily through the media and news sources. You can use this certification to help clear up the mystery behind the principles of healthy eating while getting clients to their weight loss goals.

Losing weight is also just one part of a larger puzzle. A certification in Weight Management will help you teach how to keep the weight off and maintain their goal weight for a lifetime.

The statistics are startling when you break down each of these special population groups into smaller subsets. Each one presents millions of people who need special attention in one area or another.

Once you earn your personal trainer certification, it would be wise to take a closer look at your local community and see what needs stand out more than others. If there is an active retirement community or lots of seniors, then you can specialize in Senior Fitness. If there is a large youth base, then you can build a reputation as the leading trainer in youth sports. You can also help manage diseases and earn referrals from local physicians and medical experts.

If obesity is a major issue in your community or across several local cities, then focus your training on getting people healthy again through one-on-one training or small group fitness challenges or weekly group meetings. You can present diet, exercise and general lifestyle modifications that will help clients achieve goals and restore their energy, vitality and activity levels.

Remember you can build an entire business and your reputation by focusing on very specific niche ideas within the personal training industry. This will help build a stronger business and help you stay focused on becoming the best in your chosen field of expertise.