Money talks, and thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act, preventable healthcare initiatives and workplace wellness hours might soon be billable to insurance companies – if the trainer has the right credentials. With billions of dollars potentially at stake, lobbyists and lawyers are fighting over the first set of rules in the country that will determine who is allowed to tell someone how to exercise in order for the services to be covered by medical insurance.
The field of personal training has been void of standards. For-profit companies, gym owners, and self-proclaimed fitness experts often compete to provide certifications. This has created an environment where the background of personal trainers range from a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology to having completed a single online course with open-book tests.
The Board of Physical Therapy in DC has jumped into the fray with its attempt to release rules on who can and cannot be a personal trainer. With potentially billable future work at stake, some personal trainers and major chains have gone on the defensive.
CrossFit has been an unqualified success with a new gym opening up every two hours somewhere in the world. DC boasts the largest concentration of CrossFit facilities in the country. As a result, the company has a lot to lose if its certification process is invalidated. Instructors working for the chain can get certified to open a gym by taking a single weekend course. The company insists that its certification procedures are rigorous and points out that special ops forces and police departments utilize its personal training procedures for their personnel.
While these new regulations are only for personal trainers in DC, industry experts expect this to be the start of a national trend towards regulating professionals in this field. This appears to be the case, since Massachusetts and other states are currently considering registering or licensing personal trainers.
It remains to be seen what will happen with the profession of personal training, but it does appear that change is in the air.