12 things you didn’t know about personal trainers

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You might be surprised to learn that even though personal trainers have only been around since the 20th century, the work has ancient roots. According to the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers, the earliest records of some form of personal training are wall drawings found in an Egyptian burial chapel that date back around 4,500 years. Archaeological evidence indicates that weightlifting was common during the early Greek period. Galen, the physician, developed systematic muscle training and early isometric exercises to improve athletic prowess during the 2nd century AD. It wasn’t until the 20th century, however, that modern fitness programs and physical education became a part of life. Initially, however, the industry focused on coachbuilders and military training.

World War II had led to fitness research, including that done at the Harvard Fatigue Laboratory (via the CDC). In 1954, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) was established with the goal of promoting better American physical fitness (via the University of New Mexico). In the 1960s, President John F. Kennedy invested in the development of the Presidential Council on Physical Fitness. Dr. Ken H. Cooper, known as the father of modern fitness, then introduced the concept of aerobics in 1968, emphasizing exercise as a preventative health tool. His ideas laid the foundation for our modern concepts of physical training. The 1980s then saw trends like Jazzercise, Nautilus, and a proliferation of fitness classes, gym chains, and fitness industry certifications (via US News). Today, personal training is a commonly recognized profession.

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