How to be an Evidence-Based Fitness Professional

by Keith Chittenden, MS, CSCS,*D, TSAC-F,*D
Personal Training Quarterly May 2019
Vol 6, Issue 1


This article describes how introduction of evidence-based practices requires today’s fitness professional to raise the bar of his or her education and analytical experience by actively and consistently using techniques of research in order to perform their job as a fitness professional.

The fitness industry has come a long way from its official induction into the public as an industry. Since the late 1970s and into the 1980s, the fitness industry has undergone rapid changes. With the introduction of evidence-based practice (using current best evidence for making decisions) into the healthcare and medicine industry, research has become the cornerstone for knowledge and its application in each respected profession. In medicine, the use of evidence-based research has become the method of choice in determining which treatment options for patients would be appropriate and relevant. Evidence-based practice is also used regularly in cases when determining the practical uses of medical procedures, such as surgical interventions, to treat diseases and injuries. In allied healthcare, research-based evidence helps provide guidelines for healthcare providers (e.g., nurses, physical therapists, athletic trainers, etc.) to be able to deliver proper and appropriate levels of care for their patients’ needs. In today’s fitness industry, evidence-based practice needs to become the consistent tool for every fitness professional that chooses to work with clients seeking results. As evidence-based treatment has become the decision-making tool every physician relies on, so should evidence-based exercise programming be a monumental tool in developing a successful exercise program for a client. In today’s results-based society, what makes a good fitness professional is measured by the amount of success they can bring to their clients in the form of results (e.g., weight loss, increased cardiac conditioning, increased upper and lower body strength, increased sports performance, etc.). Fitness professionals must evolve from relying on textbooks, fitness magazines, and modeling exercises by watching other fitness professionals around them to using peer-reviewed journals and documents to ensure consistent fitness results for their clients. This requires today’s fitness professional to raise the bar of his or her education and analytical experience by actively and consistently using techniques of research in order to perform their job as a fitness professional. Evidence-based training is here to stay and continues to change and evolve as it is released every day.

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This article originally appeared in Personal Training Quarterly (PTQ)—a quarterly publication for NSCA Members designed specifically for the personal trainer. Discover easy-to-read, research-based articles that take your training knowledge further with Nutrition, Programming, and Personal Business Development columns in each quarterly, electronic issue. Read more articles from PTQ »



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Keith Chittenden is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialistwith Distinction (CSCS,*D) and Tactical Strength and ConditioningFacilitator with ...

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