By Carrie Myers
Do you get frustrated with clients who say they want to lose weight, but don’t seem to stick to “the program”? Do you wonder if you’re missing something with these clients? What about the athletes you work with? Do they need to learn healthy methods for reducing body fat and building muscle or “making weight”?
ACE now offers a specialty certification that will give you the tools to help even the most challenging clients. The new Weight Management specialty certification highlights behavior-modification methods, proper nutrition and hydration, and non-diet weight-management approaches. You’ll be introduced to the Healthy at Every Size (HAES) philosophy and help your clients get off the dieting rollercoaster. There are even specialty courses within the certification that cover weight management for teens and children.
In today’s fitness world, there is no shortage of competition. Specializing in a certain niche sets you apart as an expert in that area. And, as Chris Johnson, M.S., founder and CEO of On Target Living, says, creating a niche creates a following, which in turn grows your business. But specializing in a certain area doesn’t mean you have to limit your clientele to only that specialization. This is not an all-or-nothing thing.
“Specializing in one population or type of training or equipment doesn’t mean you forget everything you need to know regarding general fitness and all other populations,” explains Kavon Atabaki, ACE-certified Personal Trainer and co-owner of Functional Fitness Va. “It just means you get that much better doing what you are focused on doing. It attracts clientele with an interest in your interest, and gives you a niche in the market.”
But why weight management as a niche?
“Weight management opens the door to help people learn lifestyle changes that will affect them now and in the future,” explains Jennifer E. Seyler, M.S., a registered dietician and fitness professional in Chicago, Ill. “It is a business that will never go away.”
Why Is ACE Offering Specialty Certifications?
“In the past year, we have thought long and hard about what fitness professionals need to succeed over the long haul of their careers,” says Dr. Cedric X. Bryant, ACE Chief Science Officer. “I believe we’ve come up with a solution that will change the way fitness professionals market themselves. In an industry where word-of-mouth can be the difference between success and failure, we want to help a professional’s expertise do the talking. That’s why we introduced the ACE Specialty Certifications.
“According to the IBISWorld Industry Report, fitness professionals differentiate themselves from competition by focusing on niche markets,” explains Bryant. “Whether they base their niche on a personal interest, the demographics in their area or earning potential, we want to provide ACE professionals with the tools to establish themselves in a viable business niche. We want to ensure that fitness professionals are able to have sustainable careers by building on their core certifications with specialized education and training that allows them to become an expert resource.”
With a specialty certification in weight management, you will also have the tools to educate your clients that weight management is not all about food. “Weight management involves many aspects of life, not just weight itself,” explains Seyler. “It is important to remember that while weight is an end result, other aspects should be the focus, such as behavior modification. By focusing on behavior, the stress of weight disappears, and by default you are accomplishing your weight goals.”
“One of the greatest benefits [of working in the weight-management field] has been the joy of seeing our clients gain back their self-confidence,” says Kelly Jones, an ACE-certified Personal Trainer in Madison, Wis. “The smiles on their faces, the colors they wear and the fitted clothing styles they choose say it all!
“It is also very gratifying when patients are taken off medications, especially those for high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. I used to be a pharmaceutical rep promoting medications for high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. I initially got into personal training because I wanted to work with those who preferred to exercise to control their weight so they wouldn't have to turn to medications to control their disease states, as opposed to those who wanted to take a magic pill to fix their medical problems.”
With 67 percent of the U.S. population classified as overweight or obese, specializing in weight management is a viable option, no matter where you live or how small the population from which you have to draw. You can further narrow your weight-management niche by specializing in athletes who want to shed body fat and build muscle mass, or by helping people who fall within a normal weight range, but who may be “skinny fat” and wish to improve overall body composition.
Make this the year your clients actually stick to their New Year’s weight-loss resolutions! Begin your journey in specializing in weight management today.
Carrie Myers is owner of CarrieMichele Fitness, author of Squeezing Your Size 14 Self into a Size 6 World: A Real Woman’s Guide to Food, Fitness, and Self-Acceptance, and presents, teaches and trains in N.H. and Vt.