DC Backs Off on its Proposal to Regulate Personal Trainers

Written by Rebecca Turley

The D.C. Board of Physical Therapy sent shockwaves through the fitness industry when it originally proposed rigorous regulations for personal trainers. The board stated its plans to create a registry of personal trainers and require them to become certified.

One of the options discussed was to require a four-year degree for personal trainers. Industry leaders strongly objected, and CrossFIt warned that such regulations could cost them millions of dollars, as they would need to recertify their instructors.

A representative of Mayor Bowser told Senora Simpson, the former chairwoman of the board that she would not be reappointed. Instead, Timothy Vidale was nominated to be the new chairman. He and the other remaining member of the board voted to significantly weaken the proposed requirements for registration.

The new regulations they proposed are much less stringent than the original ones. The District would accept a two-year degree or as little as a one-day certification from almost any nationwide fitness organization. The board also proposed to grandfather in anyone who had been a personal trainer in the city for the past two years.

The executive director of the board highlighted the decision as the beginning of the process to vet the proposed rules. One of the board members pointed out that they wanted to start the process of professionalizing personal training.

However, it appears that even these lesser changes may not happen. DC Council member Jack Evans introduced legislation that would repeal any authority to regulate personal trainers. CrossFit’s CEO Greg Glassman made a statement that the repeal was best “for recognizing the damaging impact…that anti-competitive licensure would have on fitness” in DC.

Thus, it appears that industry leaders have won their battle against regulating personal trainers in DC and that it will not be the start of a national trend as initially feared.

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