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Panelists agree that in order to combat obesity,
fitness professionals must play multiple roles

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (June 5, 2013) – At ACE Symposium West sponsored by American Council on Exercise, experts from across the globe converged in San Diego to share the latest research with more than 500 personal trainers, group fitness instructors and health coaches. Despite vast differences in experience and specialty, one theme echoed loudly at the three-day event: to fight the obesity epidemic, today’s fitness professionals must expand their role to become a coach for their clients.


The three-day Symposium event held on May 16-18 was comprised of a number of different lectures, interactive sessions, workouts, panel discussions and keynote presentations. Throughout all of them, industry-leading experts described the evolving role fitness professionals must take in order to lead people to real, long-term change.


“For many years, fitness professionals have spent much of their energy on helping the fit get fitter,” said ACE President and CEO Scott Goudeseune. “The mindset in the industry is moving away from that, and for good reason. We are starting to realize that our message is not reaching most people, and in order to change that, we have to begin meeting people wherever they are on their fitness journeys. That means understanding the principles of behavioral change, adapting exercise programs to meet individual needs and more.”


Fitness professionals aren’t the only ones taking notice of that shift either. The public, health-care professionals, insurers and policymakers are beginning to gravitate more toward initiatives that support those impacted by obesity.


This message was reinforced by opening keynote speaker Olympic Gold Medalist Bryan Clay and closing keynote Chuck Runyon, CEO and co-founder of Anytime Fitness. Clay, who earned a gold medal in the decathlon at the 2008 Olympics, addressed the need for motivation to even achieve small goals, while Runyon discussed the need to motivate key influencers like doctors who should prescribe exercise as medicine and corporations who should institute wellness programs to foster real change.


“There was a tremendous amount of information being exchanged at ACE West this year, from new training techniques and sports conditioning to nutrition and mind-body fitness,” Goudeseune said. “But what sparked some of the liveliest discussions were focused on the future of the industry and how professionals must continue to adapt to offer clients a 360-degree health care approach; one that embraces all critical social, environmental, psychological and physical aspects.”


The next ACE Symposium will be held on Oct. 17-19 in Orlando. For more information or to register, visit



About ACE
Since 1985, American Council on Exercise (ACE) has evolved from a small nonprofit dedicated to educating people about proper fitness to a 50,000-strong network of certified Personal Trainers, Group Fitness Instructors, Health Coaches, and Advanced Health and Fitness Specialists. As the largest NCCA-accredited nonprofit fitness certification organization in the world, ACE provides quality continuing education to professionals and conducts independent science-based research to protect all Americans from unsafe and ineffective products. Our goal is to inspire people to live their most fit lives through free fitness resources including workouts, nutrition information and expert advice. For more information, call (800) 825-3636 or visit  AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EXERCISE, ACE and ACE logos are Registered Trademarks of American Council on Exercise.


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Founded in 1985, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization committed to America's health and wellbeing. Over the past 30 years, we have become an established resource for health and fitness professionals, and the public, providing comprehensive, unbiased research and validating ourselves as the country's trusted authority on health and fitness.

Today, ACE is the largest nonprofit health and fitness certification, education and training organization in the world with more than 65,000 certified professionals who hold more than 72,000 ACE Certifications. With a long heritage in certification, education, training and public outreach, we are among the most respected organizations in the industry and a resource the public has come to trust for health and fitness education.